Bubble tea has become increasingly popular in recent years, but it seems too much can be a dangerous thing as doctors in China discovered hundreds of the tea’s signature ‘balls’ in a teenagers stomach.
The 14-year-old girl from the Zhejiang province complained about having no appetite and being constipated for five days, and was hospitalised as a result. A CT scan revealed that bubble tea behind her discomfort.
Tapioca pearls, also known as ‘boba’, are extracted from the dried roots of the cassava plant. Despite their bland flavour, they’re added to bubble teas for their chewy texture, and certain ingredients such as sugar can help to alter colour and texture if desired.
The girl’s abdomen was full of around 100 of these pearls, most likely due to drinking an excessive amount of the tea.
She claimed that she’d only drank one cup, but doctors said it would take a lot of the tea to require hospitalisation.
Too much boba can do serious damage to the digestive system, due to the fact the starch in the pearls are difficult for the body to digest. Doctors have warned that ingesting boba on a regular basis could lead to gastrointestinal dysfunction, so it’s definitely a beverage made to enjoy in moderation.
It’s still unknown how much the teen actually drank, but it must’ve been a lot. She has since been given laxatives and sent back home, but there’s been no further updates on her current condition.
Bubble tea is popular overseas as well, with many people in the UK picking them up from local specialist cafes. However, despite the fact it’s tea, it doesn’t have quite the same nutritional value as a traditional cup.
Registered dietitian Sally Kuzemchak said ‘Though the tea itself is naturally very low-calorie, some of the concoctions pack a hefty amount of added sugar thanks to ingredients like fruit juices and flavoured syrups’
She added ‘Bubble tea portions can be just as over-sized as venti mochas. A large tiramisu bubble tea at my local shop clocks in at more than 500 calories’
So whilst bubble tea is a tasty drink, it’s definitely one to have for a treat and as part of a balanced diet.