Brown Sugar Milk Tea is the Unhealthiest Milk Tea, Hospital Warns
A private medical institution in Singapore has released a report warning milk tea drinkers about the high sugar content of the popular beverage.
The report, published by nonprofit tertiary care facility Mount Alvernia Hospital on Friday, compared the sugar and calorie levels of various types of bubble teas and their toppings. While the report noted that green and black teas help in reducing the risk of diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, and cancer, it pointed out how they increase the risk of chronic diseases when consumed in bubble tea form.
The hospital cited unhealthy ingredients like non-dairy creamer, which contains trans fat in the form of hydrogenated palm oil, noting that it has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. It further advised consumers to limit their intake to two cups a week as the number of calories in a medium cup of bubble tea is equivalent to a slice of cheesecake.
A comparison showing the sugar level in seven types of bubble tea orders revealed that the unhealthiest option was brown sugar milk tea with pearls as it contained 18.5 teaspoons of sugar. Winter melon tea comes in at a close second with 16 teaspoons of sugar.
Such drinks exceed an adult’s recommended daily sugar intake which is 8 to 11 teaspoons. For children and teenagers, the recommended sugar intake is 5 teaspoons per day. Even fruit-based drinks have been found to be terrible choices: passion fruit green tea (8.5 teaspoons) and jasmine green tea with fruit toppings (8.5 teaspoons). Both drinks even outranked milk tea with pearls (8 teaspoons) in sugar content.
Comparing the calorie content of various toppings, the hospital found that milk foam (203 calories) and cheese foam (180 calories) have the highest calories, beating out the classic option of black tapioca pearls (156 calories). It further warned that toppings like jellies and pearls were kept in a sweet syrup to keep them moist, which increases a drink’s sugar and calorie count. New trends such as honey pearls or brown sugar syrup also increase the drink’s sugar content.
According to the hospital, consumers should choose to buy from bubble tea shops that allowed them to change the sweetness level of the drinks. Slowly reducing the sugar level to “train” their taste buds will eventually help them counter any cravings for sugary drinks.