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Chronic Diseases

The Onset of a Bubble Tea Epidemic

There recently came the horrifying news of a Chinese 16-year-old teenager almost losing his life due to the overconsumption of bubble tea, fried food and soft drinks every single day. His extreme diet caused his blood sugar to spike to 20 times that of an average human, which lead to the life-threatening diabetic ketoacidosis that turned his blood acidic due to the rapid breaking down of fat in his body. Another widely shared news story highlighting the terrifying effects of too much bubble tea over a long period of time was when a 14-year-old girl in China was hospitalised after 100 undigested pearls caused gastrointestinal dysfunction and showed up on her x-ray.

Recently, there have been more and more articles on the unhealthiness of Singapore’s youngsters’ favourite bubble tea. We have seen the bubble tea fad make comeback after comeback, and this wave is possibly due to the ingenious black sugar pearl bubble tea trend from Taiwan. Popular Asian pages on Facebook such as Subtle Asian Traits and Asian Never Die have fuelled the obsession with bubble tea through never-ending bubble tea memes, posts and comments from Asians across the globe.

Our very own local hospital has recently cautioned the masses that the overwhelmingly popular “Brown sugar milk tea is the unhealthiest bubble tea – and milk foam is the worst topping” through providing a caloric guide to the different types of bubble tea. A think-tank based in our neighbour, Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy Studies, has also advised Malaysians to avoid bubble tea for the sake of their body and health.

If there above articles have yet to elicit any fear or deterrence to your preference for your weekly (or even daily) dose of boba drink, here are some potentially unpopular but necessary steps towards healthier bubble tea habits, if you have to buy them:

  • Reduce the number of times you get your bubble tea fix (and revive your wallet while doing so).
  • Request for lower sugar level such as 25% or even 0%.
  • Choose low-fat or fresh milk instead of normal dairy creamer.
  • Order healthier toppings such as konjac jelly or request for lesser/no toppings.
  • Replace bubble milk tea with drinks such as coconut water or iced tea.

It will be hard to give up bubble tea completely with the on-going marketing from shops, peer pressure and increasing influx of new different bubble tea brands opening in Singapore. In the case when giving up bubble tea is not an option for you, taking the above steps will help to reduce sugar and caloric intake for a healthier you and reduce the chances of diabetes or extreme cases that land you in hospital.

#Health #Lifestyle #Beverages

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