Traditional boba tea is not keto-friendly. Tapioca pearls are pure starch and carbohydrates and the drink is filled with sugar. If you are determined to drink it, there are ways to make this drink work with your diet.
General Keto Diet Rules
A ketogenic diet means low carbs and high fat. The benefits of a keto diet include weight loss and improved health. The standard ketogenic diet suggests that a person consumes:
- 70% fat
- 20% protein
- 10% carbs
The goal is to put your body in ketosis, meaning that fat will fuel your body instead of carbs.
Is Boba High in Carbs?
Because typical chewy boba pearls are made of tapioca starch from the cassava root, they have a high carbohydrate count and minimal health benefits. Most keto boba teas are made with keto boba pearls, which are made with gelatin instead of starch. The texture is different, but it’s the closest you can get without blowing your diet.
Plain black tea has zero carbs, but black milk tea has approximately 30 carbs. As you continue to build your bubble tea, adding brown sugar and tapioca pearls will raise the total carb count between 45 and 500 carbs, depending on the amount you use.
However, there are low-carb boba tea recipes. Most use heavy cream or unsweetened almond milk and sugar alternatives.
For those following a keto diet, traditional boba tea is probably not included on your list of things you can drink.
Does Boba Tea Have a Lot of Sugar?
While there are plenty of sugar-free recipes, a traditional boba milk tea is made with approximately 38 grams of sweetener. Many people use brown sugar to sweeten their tea, though you can use other sweeteners such as honey or stevia.
On a keto diet, sugar is one of your main enemies. Making your boba drink at home is the best way to ensure that it fits your diet, but you can also ask which sugar substitutes your local bubble tea shop offers. Many offer sugar-free and low-calorie syrups such as caramel or strawberry.
Which Bubble Tea Flavors Can Be Keto?
Most plain teas contain zero or minimal carbs (for example, green tea contains 0.1 grams of carbohydrates). The additives, such as milk and sugar, make bubble tea a nightmare for the keto diet.
However, almost any bubble tea flavor can be made keto-friendly, except flavors made with fresh fruit. Some delicious flavors include:
One of the most popular flavors, Taro, is difficult to make fit a keto diet. Taro is a root vegetable; therefore, it is high in carbohydrates. However, some companies make low-carb bubble tea powders, including taro and lychee flavors.
How to Order a Keto Bubble Tea
Making homemade bubble tea is the best way to ensure you are following your diet, but it is possible to order keto bubble tea in a boba shop.
- Choose your tea base. Any tea will most likely fit your diet.
- Consider which sweetener has little to no sugar or carbs. Stevia or monk fruit are two great options.
- Decide which dairy, if any, you’d like to enjoy. Heavy cream, unsweetened coconut, cashew, or almond milk are all viable options.
- Ask the boba barista which low-carb toppings they offer. While fresh fruit may sound like a healthy choice, it is usually high in sugar. A sugar-free jelly option is your best bet.
9 Ingredients to Avoid When Ordering a Keto-Friendly Boba Tea
- Tapioca balls
- Sweetened whipped cream
- Oat milk
- Condensed milk
- Fruit jellies
- Popping boba
- Sweetened red beans