Brown Sugar Milk Tea The Unhealthiest Among All Bubble Teas

Image: Need Swanya / Shutterstock.com

Who’d ever get sick of bubble tea?

Well, certainly not us, for you’re gonna be seeing many more articles about it and it’ll never stop. Because bubble tea will live forever.

Image: Paripol Sriwangprai / Shutterstock.com

Most Singaporeans can relate too.

Every month, some bubble tea brand will come up with an innovative new flavour or variant of bubble tea and Singaporeans will go crazy in the long queues for it.

One of the newest and most popular variants of bubble tea, the brown sugar milk tea, has proven time and time again that it’s here to stay.

Every bubble tea chain now has their own variation of it, and customers lap it up like a thirsty dog having water for the first time in three days.

A Tiger Sugar Brown Sugar Boba Milk With Cream mousse at S’pore First Tiger Sugar Outlet

Just imagine fresh white milk paired together with warm and melting sugary pearls that are chewy to top it all off, and the way the melting brown sugar blends with the fresh milk in streams of caramel coloured goodness. What’s not to love? MMMM.

But it seems like for all the hype it’s getting and how people wolf the drinks down as frequently as they drink water, many aren’t actually aware just how unhealthy bubble tea actually is.

Yeah, it’s still not gonna stop me from drinking it, you must be thinking.

You should at least know what you’re filling your body up with, though. If you’re still wondering why you can’t lose weight, your bubble tea habits are probably why.

Tea Is Healthy, Additives Are Not

According to Mount Alvernia Hospital, it’s true that tea like green tea or black tea is healthy, for it’s been known to have antioxidant properties.

It helps with reducing the risk of cancer, cardiovascular diseases and even diabetes.

Do you have a friend who has a fake life on Instagram? This would explain why they're living the "Instagram Life": (Also remember to follow us on Instagram!)


But when you add non-dairy creamer and toppings such as those glorious chewy tapioca pearls, it kind of defeats the purpose of tea reducing the risk of diabetes, but becomes horribly iconic because it now increases the risk of it.

There’s a big increase in fat and sugar content, which in turn increases the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease.

Sugar, Yes Please

Now for the scary part: do you know how much sugar you’re drinking with every cup of that refreshing goodness?

A wise man once said that as long as you’re happy with your food, it’s 0 calories. The idealist in me would nod in agreement, but the realist in me would slap me for thinking so because it’s not true.

The Health Promotion Board recommends about 8 to 11 teaspoons of sugar a day for adults and around 5 teaspoons for children and teenagers. Wanna know what’s amazing about bubble tea?

A single cup at regular sugar percentage is already enough to exceed the daily quota. Oops. 

A regular cup of milk tea with pearls contains 8 teaspoons of sugar. And even something as seemingly harmless and healthy as mango green tea contains 8 teaspoons of sugar too.

Winter melon tea contains a whopping 16 teaspoons of sugar itself too, twice of what regular milk tea has!

Still, the clear winner is the beloved brown sugar milk tea, taking the crown at 18.5 teaspoons of sugar. I can’t even begin to imagine how much that is when it’s not in drink form. So yes, it’s the most unhealthy form of bubble tea (and also the best).

Toppings, Too

Besides the fact that tapioca pearls are kind of dangerous and could cause you to choke sometimes or even get stuck in your stomach for days, it’s obviously not healthy as well. Yay.

The classic black tapioca pearls are worth 156 calories, and the increasingly popular cheese foam with milk tea is worth 160 to 200 calories.

It’s quite crazy when you think about it. Other toppings like aloe vera which is worth 31 calories or white pearls worth 42 calories are much healthier.

Furthermore, these toppings, especially jellies and pearls, are soaked in a sugar syrup before being served to maintain moisture, which adds more sugar content to the drink.

Healthier Tips

Okay, if the guilt is sort of catching up to you now, then you might want to try these tips recommended by a nutritionist for a healthier bubble tea experience.

At least for a while anyway until you eventually revert back to your regular order. Self-control is hard, I get it.

  1. Choose a smaller cup with lesser sugar (30% and below) or with sweetener
  2. Order a lower calorie topping like white pearls or aloe vera, or no toppings at all
  3. Ask for fresh milk, low-fat milk or skimmed milk
  4. Limit yourself to 1 or 2 bubble teas per week. Sharing with a friend can help you to save money and split calories too – it’s a win-win situation.
  5. Plain teas such as green tea, oolong tea and black tea are available from many bubble tea outlets – and these have almost zero calories.
  6. Reduce the sugar level step by step. Gradually reducing your sugar intake will help to train your taste buds over time and stop you from craving sugary drinks as much.

Keep all these in mind the next time you go for a bubble tea run – brown sugar milk tea is one of the best inventions in the world, but maybe you don’t have to get it every single time. After all… the longer you live, the more bubble tea you get to enjoy. Right?