Bubble tea is sweet and delicious, but it’s not known for being a healthy drink.
Overall, bubble tea is not sugar-free. There are some sugar-free bubble teas, but they’ve yet to grow in popularity, and it’s not clear if they’ll ever be as readily available as regular bubble tea.
Is Bubble Tea Sugar-Free?
The exact nutritional breakdown of bubble tea depends on what you order. Milky bubble tea and fruity bubble tea won’t have the same calorie or sugar count. How much sugar is in bubble tea also depends on the toppings.
Some people opt to just go for tapioca pearls, while others like adding jelly, popping balls, and fruit. The more toppings you add, the more sugar there will be.
A Matcha Green Tea Latte can have up to 43 grams of sugar, while a same-sized serving of coconut bubble tea can have 22 grams of sugar. Adults should try to avoid consuming more than 30 grams of sugar per day, so regardless of what you get, in general, bubble tea will either push you over the limit or come close to it.
Where Does The Sugar Come From?
There are lots of different sources of sugar in bubble tea.
One of the ingredients in the tapioca pearls is sugar. Other toppings like jellies or popping bubbles can be made with sugar and are often stored in a sugary liquid to keep them fresh before serving.
The “bubbles” and toppings aren’t the only culprit. There’s often syrup or sweetener in the tea itself too. As a result, there’s a big difference in the taste of a green tea bubble tea compared to a standard cup of green tea – primarily due to the added sugars.
Is There Sugar-Free Bubble Tea?
It’s not impossible to find bubble tea cafes that sell sugar-free bubble tea. However, it is quite rare.
Big brands are more lenient when it comes to allowing you to customize your bubble tea. For example, if you’re in a cafe, you can ask them to use less sweetener or add fewer pearls.
Some places will also allow you to ditch the sweetener altogether. However, there will still be some sugar in the other ingredients like the tapioca pearls.
That said, if you’re looking for something with no sweeter and no bubbles or toppings, then you might as well order an iced tea or a cold-brew tea instead of bubble tea.
Can You Make Sugar-Free Bubble Tea?
There are a few sugar-free bubble tea recipes online. You can also purchase sugar-free tapioca pearls. Generally, they seem to rely on some sort of flavored sweetener or a sugar-free sweetener like stevia.
It’s not impossible to make bubble tea with zero added sugar, but it probably won’t taste great. By default, there is sugar in the ingredients like tapioca pearls or jelly. If you cut the toppings out and just drank fruity tea and milky tea alone, it’s not really bubble tea anymore.
Sugar-free sweeteners are helpful if you want to cut back on some calories and sugars. However, sugar-free sweeteners are not healthy. Artificial sweeteners have been linked with metabolic syndrome and other illnesses, so if you are going to have sugar-free bubble tea, try to have it in moderation – just like a sugary bubble tea should be enjoyed in moderation too.
Sugar-Free Alternatives To Bubble Tea
● Cold-brew coffee
● Cold-brew tea
● Regular tea
● Unsweetened iced tea
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