Is bubble tea unhealthy? An 8-year-old girl died of cancer recently, after regular consumption of bubble tea and sugary foods.
Little girl dies of cancer after regular consumption of bubble tea and sweets
According to Oriental Daily, the tragedy occurred in China. The girl had been frequently complaining of stomach ache. She had been suffering from weight loss too.
Her parents took her to hospital in January, where she was diagnosed with kidney cancer.
Doctors blamed poor diet for aggravating the child’s illness. The father (who is a pastry chef) would regularly bring home cakes and sweets for his daughter since she was two. The girl loved sweet treats, so he would often get her bubble tea too.
Even though the girl had failed to put on any weight, the father never suspected that it might be due to an underlying illness.
When the doctor revealed that the girl’s diet may have worsened her condition, the dad broke down in tears and blamed himself for the tragedy.
The little child died after being warded for 30 days in the intensive care unit (ICU).
Is bubble tea unhealthy?
The popular perception is that since tea is healthy, and contains antioxidants, bubble tea is a much better option when compared to soft drinks.
But the fact is that, bubble tea isn’t very nutritious either. It is very high in sugar and calories.
The “bubbles” in these teas consist of tapioca pearls, and the tea is often sweetened with sugar and sometimes sweetened condensed milk as well.
In an experiment commissioned by Channel NewsAsia and conducted by students enrolled in the Applied Food Science and Nutrition diploma course at Temasek Polytechnic, they found that, a 500ml cup of brown sugar boba milk can contain about 92g of sugar, about three times more than the amount of sugar in a 320 ml can of Coca-Cola.
It is hence worrying to see teenagers and younger children queue up for bubble tea in Singapore.
Meanwhile, a recent study carried out in France, has found a specific association between sugar and cancer.
According to this study, published in the BMJ, excessive consumption of sugary drinks, including fruit juice, may increase the risk of cancer. Fruit juices showed the same association with cancer as colas.
“When the group of sugary drinks was split into 100% fruit juices and other sugary drinks, the consumption of both beverage types was associated with a higher risk of overall cancer,” it says.
“The main driver of the association seems to be sugar, so when we just look at the sugar content per 100ml, regular Coke or 100% orange juice, for instance, are quite the same. So it’s not so odd that we observe this association for fruit juices,” said Dr Mathilde Touvier, who led the research, from Inserm, the French national institute of health and medical research.
Of course, that does not mean that we should all stop drinking sugary drinks.
“The recommendation from several public health agencies is to consume less than one drink per day.
“If you consume from time to time a sugary drink it won’t be a problem, but if you drink at least one glass a day it can raise the risk of several diseases – here, maybe cancer, but also with a high level of evidence, cardiometabolic diseases,” said Dr Touvier.
Also READ: The little-known health risk of giving children bubble tea