Tapioca pearls are a fun, chewy, eye-catching garnish in boba tea. Although they are delicious, they are loaded with sugar, calories, and carbohydrates. A half cup of tapioca pearls contains approximately 272 calories and 67.5 grams of carbs.
Tapioca Pearls Calories and Nutrition
There are multiple varieties of tapioca pearls, so it is difficult to measure their exact nutritional value. They are made out of tapioca starch and often boiled or stored in sugar-based syrups. In general, the nutrition facts per half cup of dried boba are as follows:
Keep in mind that these are the facts for dried boba pearls, that have not been cooked in or introduced to added sugar. Tapioca pearls do not contain much nutritional value, dried or cooked.
It is not common to eat tapioca pearls on their own. They are often added to desserts and milk teas. When tapioca pearls are added to milk tea, it becomes a “bubble tea.” Milk teas are a good source of protein and fat— tapioca pearls on their own, are not.
You can choose different levels of sugar for the tea, as well as different types of tapioca balls. Brown sugar tapioca pearls are the most popular option. In general, a 16-ounce bubble tea with tapioca balls can be between 240 and 500 kcal.
Because there are so many options when ordering a boba drink, the nutritional value of the drink as a whole is difficult to pinpoint but if you make your own at home you can control the amount of calories and added sugar. The easiest way to do this is to use instant boba pearls which have nutritional content printed on the label. Here are a few varieties I love:
Are Tapioca Pearls Good for Weight Loss?
Although they are a fun and sugary treat, tapioca pearls will not help you reduce fat or lose weight. Tapioca pearls are highly caloric.
However, tapioca pearls are filling and will often leave you feeling satiated. A tea drink with boba pearls may keep your stomach satisfied for multiple hours, allowing you to skip a meal.
If you are watching your weight but need a bubble tea fix, consider ordering a black tea or green tea with little-to-no creamer, no added sweetener, and a jelly garnish.
Note: Bubble tea is not recommended as a meal replacement.
Who Should Not Eat Tapioca Pearls?
Because of their high level of carbs and sugars, people with diabetes or who are on the verge of obesity should be especially cautious with how often they indulge in tapioca pearls.
Tapioca starch is made from a plant called cassava. A 2021 study suggested that individuals with a latex allergy may have a greater risk of being allergic to this plant, and in turn, tapioca pearls.
Nutritional Benefits of Tapioca Pearls
When reviewing the nutritional information, tapioca does contain a healthy amount of calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and other minerals. Additionally, tapioca pearls are low in sodium and free of two common allergens— gluten and nuts.
If you need to gain weight, boba milk tea with tapioca pearls will provide you with a dose of protein, fat, carbohydrates, and more.