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Does Milk Tea Have Any Health Benefits?

Does Milk Tea Have Any Health Benefits?

The latter half of the 2010s has seen the rise of milk tea (or bubble tea), a popular drink that originated from the night markets of Taiwan. But what makes it popular among Filipino millennials? Does this sugary beverage have any health benefits?

What Are the Benefits of Milk Tea?

Naturally, there has been an on-going debate about the benefits of milk tea. It’s sugar-laden, and not necessarily the healthiest choice.

But there has been research into the possible health benefits of this increasingly popular drink.

So what are the benefits of milk tea?

Tea Has Anti-Cancer Properties

Naturally, tea has been a drink that billions of people have been enjoying worldwide since it’s known for a multitude of different health benefits. Not only is this one of the oldest drinks known to man,but it has also been widely produced internationally for a variety of different beverages—milk tea included.

Green tea is rich in flavonoids, which can help fight against free radicals. In some cases, these can help decrease the risk of heart disease and cancer.

Black tea, on the other hand, is rich in catechins. These chemicals can help lower blood pressure, calm the nerves, act as antioxidants, and help eliminate toxins.

It’s important to note, however, that there are some traces of caffeine in green and black tea. Although they can act as stimulants to help boost work performance, they should also be taken in moderation.

Milk is Packed With Nutrients

Most milk tea joints in several countries use either condensed milk and fresh milk. Despite some people being allergic to milk, it’s still one of the best sources of protein, calcium, and potassium.

This makes milk essential for bone growth and body composition.

Risks of Drinking Milk Tea

Milk tea’s popularity has skyrocketed in the past several years. But because of this, most nutritionists are concerned. And rightfully so. This is because there is not much nutritional value in a milk tea drink.

Just like when we’re drinking any type of beverage, it’s best to drink in moderation. So what are the risks posed by each ingredient?

Tapioca Pearls

Most of the main ingredients for milk tea are either starchy or incredibly sweet. Tapioca pearls, one of the main ingredients to milk tea, contains a large number of carbohydrates and calories.

It’s known that most starchy ingredients are known for having a large amount of sugar and calories. However, most customers are given the option to opt-out tapioca pearls and other additives.

Caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant that’s known for giving us the energy boost that we need to study and work. While coffee might be beneficial to health and can treat certain diseases, a high intake of caffeine can lead to certain health risks, such as hypertension, palpitations, and insomnia.

Even though the amount of caffeine present in tea leaves is low, there are different variants of milk tea that include coffee jelly and coffee instead of tea.

Taking caffeine in moderation means that we’ll need to limit our beverage to at least once in a day.

Sugar

One of the main ingredients for milk tea is sugar. There are some milk tea joints who offer fruit juice as an alternative to sugar, but most milk tea shops still use sugar to sweeten their beverages.

Customers are usually given the option to choose their sugar level for their milk tea. An average serving of milk tea contains around 20 teaspoons of sugar.

High-calorie Sweeteners

High-fructose corn syrup and other high-calorie sweeteners are known for causing a wide variety of health complications. Moreover, these sweeteners have little to no nutrients and are often loaded with empty calories.

Some of these sweeteners include carbonated drinks, iced tea, powdered drinks, and thirst-quenching drinks used for sports. These drinks can lead to weight gain while increasing the risk of Type 2 Diabetes.

Making Adjustments To Your Milk Tea

Now that we know how milk tea can have a lasting impact on our health, we can make the necessary adjustments to our milk tea. Try these tips to make your occasional order of milk tea healthier.

  • Ask for less sugar or no sugar at all. Or if there are any flavored syrups or additives. But make sure to have these in moderation.
  • Instead of processed non-dairy cream, we can have them use fresh milk instead. If you’re lactose intolerant, you can always opt for another form of tea that doesn’t include milk, like Ceylon tea.
  • Ask for a milk tea without the tapioca pearls. Most of the time, these pearls are loaded with calories and glazed with syrup. As previously mentioned, tapioca pearls might also contain maleic acid, which can be toxic.

Key Takeaways

Compared to other drinks in the market, milk tea contains an excessive amount of sugar. While this popular drink does have health benefits, the risks might outweigh all of this.

Ultimately, it is up to us to moderate our consumption of this beverage. While there are definitely health risks to drinking milk tea, this can be remedied by making the necessary adjustments, like minimizing the amount of sugar and substituting non-dairy cream with fresh milk instead.

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Sources

Tea and Health: Studies in Humans https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4055352/ Accessed 18 May 2020

The Effect of Black Tea on Blood Pressure https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4117505/ Accessed 18 May 2020

Effect of Green Tea Consumption on Blood Pressure? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4150247/ Accessed 18 May 2020

Phenolic Profiles and Antioxidant Activities of 30 Tea Infusions from Green, Black, Oolong, White, Yellow and Dark Teas https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6680489/ Accessed 18 May 2020

Food Data Central – Milk https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/553224/nutrients Accessed 18 May 2020

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Written by Danilo Nicolas Guillano Updated Nov 10, 2020
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel
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