How to Cut Calories While Drinking Bubble Tea

If you can’t live without bubble tea then here is how you can get your fix while on a diet.


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There is never a bad time to incorporate healthy habits into your lifestyle. Dehydration is not a healthy habit. And for weight loss, the only worse habit is quenching your thirst with sugary drinks.

Yes, brown sugar bubbles caramel foam cap milk tea, that means you too.

But don’t worry. If you can’t live without bubble tea then here is how you can get your fix while on a diet.

From Tea Houses to Bubble Tea Shops

People sitting at a traditional tea house in Chengdu

The original tea culture came from Chinese tea houses. They served dim sum and sometimes traditional Chinese medicines (TCM). Once sugar made a power play, traditional tea culture transformed into its modern form: bubble tea shops.

Just because sugar is king, that doesn’t mean you can’t put it in check. Most bubble tea menu items let you choose how much sugar you want. Avoid the ones that don’t, because sugar is premixed into them. Go for 10% added sugar or less to cut away added calories.

Watch What You Chew

Milk tea with coconut cubes

Cut the bubbles out of your bubble tea. The pearls in your bubble tea are made from tapioca, which is a glorified starch. It offers no nutrition but packs on extra calories. It can’t even keep you full. The same goes for cookies, puddings and jellies. 

The least calorie topping choice is aloe jelly. According to Kung Fu Tea’s menu it has half the calories of other jellies. If you want a little more texture in your drink, try young coconut meat, roasted brown rice/genmai, barley, or whole red beans. 

Keep It Whole

MIlk tea with red bean topping

Red beans are more of an occasional treat. Like other toppings, red beans are high in calories and high in added sugars. The difference is that it is a whole food that has some protein and some natural calcium. In theory it is better than the empty calorie toppings and may be better at keeping you full.

The best practice: Opt for half a scoop and proceed with caution.

Another way to get the most out of your bubble tea is to use whole fat milk instead of cream. Whole fat milk has more nutrients than cream and by keeping it full fat, you are less likely to be hungry later. Soy milk works too.

Herbal, Fruity, or Sweet

Drink with fruits and mint

Keeping it traditional with herbal teas like green, oolong, osmanthus and black tea is the best way to keep your metabolism boosted. It is even better for your metabolism when you add ginger. There are some benefits from drinking fruit teas though.

It’s time to let lemons become your best friend.

Fruit teas tend to be more acidic which helps to break down fats and digest foods. If they use fresh fruits, then they can help you get your daily fruit serving. The best part is that as long as you opt out of the added sugars, you can get a naturally sweet drink, guilt free.

Dessert Tea

Tea and chocolates

Bubble tea cafes aren't the only way to get a cool tea fix. You can get a yummy, exotic, sweet tea drink at home. Meet dessert tea. Western dessert flavors are infused into traditional teas with no added sugar. The result is another low calorie sweet drink to enjoy at home.


Speaking of home brews, check out our article on TCM teas.

Get social with your tea lifestyle. Share these tea tips with a friend! 


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