Title

Calories and sugars in boba milk tea: implications for obesity risk in Asian Pacific Islanders

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2017

Keywords

Asian Pacific Islanders, boba, calorific value, obesity, saccharides, sugar-sweetened beverages

Abstract

In the last several decades, obesity rates have reached epidemic proportions, and increases the risk for a host of comorbidities, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain kinds of cancers. Boba milk tea, first became popular in the 1990s throughout Asia, and has gained more popularity in the United States and in Europe since 2000. Currently, available nutrition data from online sites suggest this beverage contains high amounts of sugar and fat. One published nutrition study suggests that boba tea drinks are part of the larger group of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) because these beverages are usually sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). This study experimentally determined the sugar composition (sucrose, fructose, glucose, and melezitose) and calorific values of boba milk tea drinks and their components. Results suggested that boba drinks fit the US Dietary Guidelines definition of a SSB. One 16-ounce boba drink exceeds the upper limit of added sugar intake recommended by the 2015 US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. The high caloric and sugar content of boba beverages pose public health concerns as they have the potential to further exacerbate the childhood obesity epidemic. Nutrition education targeting Asian populations should give special attention to boba tea as a SSB. Also, prudent public health recommendations should be suggested for moderate consumption of these beverages. With the growing popularity of boba beverages in the United States, the findings from this study provide public health practitioners with valuable data on how boba beverages compare with other SSBs.

Publication Title

Food Science and Nutrition

E-ISSN

20487177

Volume

5

Issue

1

First Page

38

Last Page

45

DOI

10.1002/fsn3.362

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