Bubble tea has been under the negative scope by some health gurus and other individuals seeking more views since it became extremely popular. Is there some truth to some of the negativity, and is it as bad as soda? Here in this article we will give some facts about bubble tea and soda to see which is healthier for you in general and if bubble tea is really as bad for you as soda is.
We are not going to say that we are masters of the soda arts or anything, but we do know quite a bit about it to be able to give a proper assessment of it versus bubble tea. Soda is considered to be an empty calorie drink. However, we aren’t going to go overboard and insinuate absurd claims to soda being as bad as alcohol for example when comparing soda vs bubble tea. This is just not true.
It is also absurd to try and make bubble tea as bad as soda based off of one ingredient: sugar; unless the sugar makes up majority of both drinks, which it does not. Doing this would be silly. It would be like trying to prove tea in general is bad for you, because it has a lot of sugar. This may be true for some teas that are made, but teas are also commonly made without sugar or very little of it too.
However, when making this comparison we will have to include the general amount of sugar used in both drinks, since soda is generally consumed by most individuals with sugar. For soda, sugar is what makes soda worth drinking it for most individuals. This means that we will also take a general amount of sugar used for bubble tea to make a comparison between the two drinks before covering other factors.
Soda Versus Bubble Tea: The Ingredients
Bubble tea isn’t as dependent as soda is on sugar for flavor, as it is made up of primarily 2 ingredients that a lot of people do often consume with little to no sugar quite often all the time: milk and tea. Soda on the other hand, is extremely dependent on sugar, because some of the other ingredients in soda are actually very metallic in taste and bitter (even more than some tea flavors). A lot of sugar is needed to counter the bad tastes of the additional ingredients in soda. This inevitably makes soda a bad drink in most people’s eyes, which is why the sugar is often reasonably pointed out as the culprit.
Regardless of the size of the soda, most sodas that people consider to be the best, in general, have about 12.5 percent of the soda as sugar. If the soda doesn’t have a sweetener to counter balance the bitter flavors of the other ingredients, it is considered to be bad tasting soda (not enjoyable to drink) by most people. Most sodas are made up of water, caramel color, phosphoric acid, carbon dioxide, caffeine (in some cases), sugar/syrup, and essential oils.
The only ingredients that are generally used in bubble tea drinks that are also in soda is the sugar and caffeine. The caffeine in soda is used for the flavor for the bitter taste and the caffeine in bubble tea comes from the tea in bubble tea, and the amount varies widely. The amount of caffeine in bubble tea depends on the tea used to make it and how much of that caffeine has been extracted from the tea leaves.
Caramel coloring can be in bubble tea drinks too, but it isn’t used to create a more aesthetic drink like in soda by changing the color of the liquid, but more aesthetic tapioca pearls. This can be done for bubble tea drinks that have black tapioca pearls, which are commonly in most bubble tea drinks. Caramel coloring is nothing more than burnt sugar or sugar caramelized.
Bubble Tea Versus Soda: Health Benefits
Soda in general doesn’t provide any big nutritional benefits. As mentioned earlier, soda is considered to be empty calories. The only real health benefits that soda can provide is through the sugar found in soda, which most people do not mention in the category of providing health benefits.
Sugar is important to the body for making glucose to provide energy to the body, but most individuals actually already get too much of it in their daily diets.
Bubble tea on the other hand is not the same as soda, and should not be placed on the same level as soda. Bubble tea drinks in general are made with milk and tea as mentioned earlier. They can also contain fruits or vegetable benefits, depending on the flavor of the bubble tea drink. The powders used to make bubble tea drinks are usually from real vegetables and fruits. So, depending on the bubble tea flavor, the bubble tea drink would have the same health benefits as what ever flavor the bubble tea drink is. People also cut up their own vegetables and fruits to make their own bubble tea drinks and grind them as flavorings.
It is not uncommon for a bubble tea drink to be made from real vegetables and fruits, as they are of Asian origin. However, this doesn’t apply to bubble tea drinks that aren’t a fruit or vegetable flavor; but of the most popular bubble tea flavors, many of them are made with these ingredients, as they are fruit flavors. Even a basic milk tea (pearl milk tea) contains atleast milk and a tea type in their ingredients.
As most people already know, fruits and vegetables do provide a significant or even a huge benefits to one’s health. There are a plethora of vitamins and minerals found in fruits and vegetables, with some being considered superfoods. A ginger or matcha bubble tea are great examples. Adding sugar to a fruit or vegetable bubble tea drink made with real fruits or vegetables (from powder or not) does not neutralize the health benefits that the fruits or vegetables provide in the drink. This is why it is absurd to put soda on the same level as bubble tea or vice-versa, or to only look at the sugar in bubble tea drinks and pass it off as a bad drink.
The people doing this are doing it out of ignorance or hearsay from other sources that have not bothered to research bubble tea, that are also gaining their information from other sources that vaguely explain the nutritional value of bubble tea in general. Most sodas in general are made with artificial fruit flavors, or very little of their real fruit flavor, to actually provide significant health benefits per serving (like Sprite for example).
Plus a bubble tea drink contains less sugar on average, in general, per ounce than a soda has in general. This means that an individual can possibly get away with consuming two 16 ounce bubble tea drinks per day without going over the recommended daily sugar limit. A bubble tea drink contains around 6% to 9% of its total contents as sugar on average for individuals that drink bubble tea with sugar. Also, just like diet sodas that contain no sugars, bubble tea drinks can be easily customized to come without sugar or made with healthier sweetener alternatives.
All of this information isn’t even touching on the fact that many bubble tea drinks are made with the 2 main ingredients as their base that were mentioned earlier: milk and tea. Both milk and tea is considered by most individuals worldwide as healthy drinks. They both provide nutritional value and a wide array of vitamins and minerals when prepared and consumed the proper way. It also isn’t covering the health benefits that the boba pearls themselves provide that soda doesn’t have. Milk cannot be added to soda, else the acid in soda would make the milk curdle. Tea is usually not combined with soda either.
Bubble tea is no where close to being as bad as soda, as it provides a wide array of health benefits depending on the flavor of the drink. It is also made often with milk and tea, which provides great overall health benefits. However, both soda and bubble tea can be made unhealthy by adding in heavy amounts of sugar that exceed the recommended daily amounts, just like almost any food or drink can be. Since, soda is dependent on sweetners for flavor, and contains little to no health benefits in general, it is far of a less healthier choice versus bubble tea, making bubble tea the clear winner.
We are aware that there are individuals that love to have more coffee, tea, or milk tea with their sugar, but that doesn’t give valid reasoning to make any of these beverages appear bad, because of sugar preferences, for others that genuinely like to drink these beverages.