Bubble tea has been a popular drink among Singaporeans over the years, as evidenced by the recent long queues for it when standalone shops were temporarily shut.
However, many do not realise that it is considered a sugar-sweetened beverage and should be consumed in moderation, preferably limiting intake to once a week or less.
Sugar-sweetened beverages contain free sugars, which are added sugars (like glucose, fructose or table sugars) or sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.
A high intake of free sugars may lead to weight gain, an increased risk of overweight or obesity, chronic diseases and dental caries (tooth decay).
A 2018 Singapore review revealed that every additional cup (250ml) of sugar-sweetened beverage daily increases one's risk of diabetes by a significant 26 per cent.
In Singapore, the Health Promotion Board recommends limiting intake of added sugars to eight to 11 teaspoons a day, and even less for young children.
A single medium-sized (450ml) pearl milk tea with full sugar contains about eight teaspoons of sugar and 366 calories.
This easily meets 100 per cent of our daily sugar recommendations, and 16 per cent to 20 per cent of our daily calorie requirements.
A cup typically consists of:
The writer is a dietitian at SingHealth Polyclinics
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