HealthThink twice before your next cup: Health risks linked to Bubble Tea, Yerba Mate, and Black Tea

Think twice before your next cup: Health risks linked to Bubble Tea, Yerba Mate, and Black Tea

Bubble tea is made based on green or black tea.
Bubble tea is made based on green or black tea.
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10:44 AM EST, February 22, 2024

Bubble tea, which is based on green or black tea, is often enriched with ingredients such as milk (usually in powder form), sugar, flavor syrups, honey, sweeteners, tapioca, and artificial flavors.

Dietitians highlight the high sugar content and caloric value of this drink. In the context of the global obesity epidemic and diseases linked to excessive sugar consumption, this forms a major potential health risk. Additionally, the inclusion of powdered milk (which can contain trans fats) and artificial flavors may further impact the health profile of the beverage.

When examining the health impact of bubble tea, one should also take into account the role of tapioca. These characteristic balls can lead to increased blood glucose levels, implying that regular bubble tea drinkers risk developing insulin resistance and, eventually, type 2 diabetes.

2. Yerba Mate

Yerba mate, a drink made from the leaves of the Paraguayan holly, boasts a wealth of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, and is credited with energizing effects and enhancing concentration.

An essential factor in evaluating the full health impact of this beverage is recognizing the presence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These chemical compounds are formed in the leaf-drying process through exposure to smoke and are known for their mutagenic and carcinogenic properties.

Studies have revealed a heightened risk of digestive system cancer amongst regular drinkers of large quantities of yerba mate, potentially linked to PAH exposure. However, it's worth noting that the preparation method―including the water temperature and brewing time—can influence the levels of PAH extraction and thereby modulate the associated health risk.

3. Black Tea

With antioxidant properties, black tea can help improve cardiovascular health, but it does contain trace amounts of lead and aluminum. Even in small amounts, these can accumulate within the body over time and potentially disrupt the functioning of various organs, especially the brain, kidneys, and bones.

The concentrations of these elements in tea leaves may vary based on factors such as cultivation location, environmental conditions, and processing procedures.

Even though black tea is generally considered safe, it is advised that consumers moderate their intake. Drinking more than a few cups a day could be detrimental to health!

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