They say that sitting is the new smoking. I disagree. I’d say it’s milk tea.
Not that I don’t like the stuff. Quite the contrary. Sipping some of the sweet, creamy liquid and gnawing on the fat, chewy tapioca pearls is one pleasure I occasionally indulge in.
Now, the key word is occasionally. For alas, milk tea addiction is all too real and much too easy to fall into, and its consequences are nowhere near as fun as its sinkers.
Sugar and Chronic Disease
Diabetes is one disease that is often linked to high blood sugar. Thus, consuming too much sugar can put you at risk for type 2 diabetes, along with heart disease. Chugging a pitcher of sugary tea or juice won’t get you there, but consistently consuming large amounts of sugar certainly will.
The trouble is, the typical Filipino’s diet has a surplus of sugar. There’s table sugar used in everyday cooking, and then there are various added sugars in packaged snacks, fruit drinks, soda, and cereal.
Heck, our national sugar consumption is such that our lawmakers even introduced a soft drink tax. But while soda is high in sugar, there is one other drink that far surpasses it in that regard.
Just How Much Sugar Is In Your Milk Tea?
Ordinarily, green tea and black tea are healthy beverages. Both kinds of tea can help reduce the risk of diseases like diabetes, cancer, and arthritis. On the other hand, lumping in loads of sugar and cream leads to a completely different outcome.
According to the medical researchers at Singapore’s Mount Alvernia Hospital, the number of calories in a medium cup of bubble tea are equivalent to those in a slice of cheesecake. They’ve also identified the popular brown sugar milk tea with pearls as the worst offender, with a 500 ml serving containing 18.5 teaspoons of sugar.
Winter melon tea came in second place, with about 16 teaspoons of sugar per 500 ml serving. Surprisingly, fruit teas contain more sugar than regular milk tea. 500 ml of passion fruit green tea, for instance, has 8.5 teaspoons of sugar. The same amount of regular milk tea with pearls, in comparison, has 8 teaspoons.
For reference, a maximum of 11 teaspoons of sugar is the recommended daily sugar intake for adults. Yikes.
Tips for Managing Your Milk Tea Consumption
Can’t quite kick the milk tea habit entirely? You’re not alone. Plus, if you order right, you won’t have to.
Apart from reducing your weekly consumption to two servings, you can also make the following modifications:
Get a smaller cup;
Buy your milk tea from shops that let you control its sweetness levels;
Request sugar levels of 30 percent or lower;
Swap out the non-dairy creamer in the toppings for fresh, low-fat, or skimmed milk;
Pick lower-calorie sinkers like aloe vera or white pearls instead of the usual boba pearls.
Most of all, keep yourself hydrated. If you drink plenty of water, an occasional milk tea indulgence with all the bells and whistles shouldn’t hurt.