Those around the New York tri-state area have heard numerous times about the sugary drink ban being placed into effect by Mayor Bloomberg. A huge debate complete with PSAs denouncing the other side, ads showing up in prominent areas and news stories are taking up the media. One side argues that by banning large sugary drinks, the mayor is actually robbing the citizens of their freedom to choose and treating them as infants. The other side points to the fact that obesity is a growing concern in America with 2/3 of Americans being considered clinically obese.
But the reason why I mention this ban here? A drink that is growing in popularity, bubble tea, could be thrown out with all the sodas.
Bubble tea is a drink that is found in Taiwanese culture and has quickly spread to other nations as a delightful beverage. The drink typically contains tea, milk and “bubbles,” or tapioca balls, at the bottom. The person imbibing the beverage gets an enlarged straw so that when they drink their tea (sometimes as a tea, sometimes as a smoothie), they can also get gulps of the tapioca balls at the bottom (on the Tea Love Facebook page, you can see pictures of this drink from one of my favorite tea places, The Tea Spot in downtown Cranford, NJ).
However, this absolutely delicious beverage does come at a cost to the waist line – a 16 oz. cup can total as much as 232 calories (as a point of reference, that’s just shy of McDonald’s 250-calorie hamburger). Due to the high calorie-count for a drink mixed with America’s rising obesity problem, bubble tea is coming under more scrutiny.
Restaurants that offer the drink to their customers can be fined up to $200 if they do not serve a variation that has at least 50% milk. Some businesses cater exclusively to those who drink bubble tea, serving up different sizes and different varieties. With the ban that is being discussed, these businesses would risk losing merchandise that might be pre-purchased, losing customers that might not like their new drink that much or even face dissatisfied customers who just want something larger than a 16-oz. bubble tea so that they could indulge a little.
If you have yet to try bubble tea, I highly recommend giving it at least a shot, even if you are on a diet. Let it be your guilty pleasure for a night and find out whether or not you like how this drink ban will affect your choice. Think you should be restricted to 16 oz?