Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Black Pearl Saga

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Bubble tea pearls from Taiwan contain substance that can cause kidney damage

Like many of the local, I was a fan of bubble tea until the recent influx of buzz on bubble tea and its pearly allies triggered worthy anxiety over the past years.

Sunright brand tapioca balls, also known as bubble tea pearls, have been recalled by the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration as they contain a substance that might cause kidney damage in the long term if consumed. These starch-based consumptions contain maleic acid that is used in manufacturing food products. Upon prolonged consumption, it puts a risk to your health, however, is unaffected of significant damage if consume occassionally (YourHealth 2013).

Is bubble tea healthy?
Given that the tapioca pearls are straight starch and usually there are well over 200 calories in a serving of any starch (most places use around 1/4 cup of tapioca, I'd say) then add the fact that the milk is usually not low fat milk, and they put quite a bit of sugar in the drinks and I'd say that for a serving of boba or bubble tea you're probably looking at anywhere from 400 - 900+ calories depending on the size and ingredients. And because of the milk the fat content can get rather high. (There are *24 g.* of fat in the serving that is posted in the link below). So, I'd say look at it about like you'd look at a fluffy coffee drink from a place like Starbucks. Not terrible for you, but definitely an indulgence.

Keep in mind that you can request low fat milk at most places and you might also want to try asking them if they can make it sugar free. Also remember that a lot of bubble tea chains serve icees and plain red or green flavored tea with no milk which would cut out any calories from fat.
Source: Calorie King

Put on your thinking cap !
Some factors that may change your regular order totally.
# 1: Sugar
The sugar content of bubble tea is extremely high that you could just imagine punching 8 teaspoon of sugar into your mouth. On this quantity, this level of intake exceeds over 100% of our daily threshold.

#2: Starch
Tapioca pearls are made from cassava root. Starch is complex carbohydrate made up of long chains of sugar molecules. It is difficult to be digest and further contributes to your sugar level. Ingestible and high on sugar level - if you ever wish to source for a main culprit on weight gain, this may be the answer.

#3: Toxic Contamination
One year ago, a food contamination scandal broke out in Taiwan where DEHP (a chemical plasticizer and potential carcinogen used to make plastic) was found in tapioca pearls, milk powder and juice syrups as a cost-effective stabilizer.
KOI Cafe, one of Singapore's most popular bubble tea franchise, immediately suspended their sales of tea drinks when they suspected potential contamination from their product supply. At some point, pearls were unavailable for three days at all outlets. Although the situation is now contained, the potential still exists.

Source: Kat, the eco-advisor
With the awareness, the one best healthy way to consume bubble tea is to option for 0% sugar level without pearls complimented by skimmy or low-fats milk. So in the end, it becomes pretty much like a ice-blended bewed tea with low-fats milk. Ain't exciting anymore eh?

Bursting the bubble in your tea.

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