I love Boba drinks. Please tell me, are they bad for you?
Dear Boba-Luvin' Babe,
For those of you who aren't familiar with boba, it's basically a sweet tea drink with gummy balls of tapioca. And although the boba craze peaked in 2002, I tried my first boba drink just a couple of years ago. I can understand why people either love or hate it. Those weird little round jellies seem a little out of place in tea. But I loved it (and the cool giant boba straw) and immediately wanted to know if boba drinks were diet-friendly. Turns out, they're not. Sure, you can get sugar-free boba tea and go with low-fat milk (or cut out the milk altogether) -- but the tapioca balls themselves are often a problem. It's nearly impossible to get clear info on this, but my research shows that each boba ball contains between 5 and 14 calories. A typical boba drink uses between 25 and 75 of these tapioca pearls, so that means that just the tapioca in your drink can easily add up to hundreds of calories. And that's without the tea blend! So, your boba drink will probably contain 400 - 1000 calories, depending on the size and the ingredients. Lollicup, a popular chain that features boba drinks, offers teas that are lower-cal and low-fat, and they claim that a serving of their boba balls only has 87 calories and no fat; so if you poke around their website you can figure out ways to create boba drinks that have about 150 calories or so. Boba tea is definitely tricky, so unless you know exactly what you're getting, be very careful.
Dear Hungry Girl,
I don't know how many calories I should be eating a day. What's a good number?
The number of calories needed per day varies from person to person depending on age, sex, height, weight and activity level. Still, most experts recommend that no one dip below 1,200 calories a day (someone PLEASE relay this info to young Hollywood). Taking in too few calories could keep you from getting necessary nutrients or cause your body to go into starvation mode and, consequently, do screwy things to your metabolism. To find out how many calories you should be taking in daily, visit Active.com or Vhi Healthcare. These sites provide cool little tools that calculate your personalized caloric needs. Also, check out this health calculator on iVillage for a breakdown of how many grams of fat, carbs, protein, etc. you should take in per day. Good stuff!