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Boba tea


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I know that you would know that the boba drink itself would be off limits, I assume you mean just the balls/pearls. 


Tapioca balls (boba) are the prevailing chewy tidbits in bubble tea, but a wide range of other options can be used to add similar texture to the drink. Green pearls have a small hint of green tea flavor and are chewier than the traditional tapioca balls. From my research it appears that boba pearls are dry tapioca starch and caramel coloring (and other additives, see below) compressed into balls. 




Tapioca starch, by itself, with no additives, is compliant when added to things as a thickener or binder. Its not compliant when used to make anything like a pancake or a paleo dessert. It would not be compliant in the form of a boba ball because of the additives. 


See this entry in Wiki:

Health Concerns[edit]

Tapioca pearls, milk powder, and juice syrups have in the past been found to contain banned chemical additives. In May 2011, a food scandal broke out in Taiwan where DEHP (a chemical plasticizer and potential carcinogen used to make plastic) was found as a stabilizer in drinks and juice syrups. Some of these products may have been exported and used in bubble tea shops around the world. DEHP can affect hormone balances.[8][9] In June 2011, the Health Minister of Malaysia, Liow Tiong Lai, instructed companies selling "Strawberry Syrup", a material used in some bubble teas, to stop selling them after chemical tests showed they were tainted with a carcinogen identified as DEHP.[10]

In August 2012, scientists from the Technical University of Aachen (RWTH) in Germany analyzed bubble tea samples within a research project to look for allergenic substances. The result indicated that the products contain styrene, acetophenone and brominated substances.[11][12] The report was published by German newspaper Rheinische Post and caused Taiwan's representative office in Germany to issue a statement, saying food items in Taiwan are monitored.[13] Taiwan's Food and Drug Administration confirmed in September that in a second round of tests conducted by German authorities, Taiwanese bubble tea was found to be free of cancer-causing chemicals. The products were also found to contain no excessive levels of heavy-metal contaminants or other health-threatening agents.[14]

In May 2013 the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration issued an alert on the detection of maleic acid, an unapproved food additive, in some food products, including tapioca pearls.[15] The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore conducted its own tests and found additional brands of tapioca pearls and some other starch-based products sold in Singapore were similarly affected.[16]

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During a Whole30, you cannot consume dairy, juice as a beverage, added sugar, or products that mimic conventional foods like milk shakes, candy, etc. So basically, boba tea fails to meet Whole30 standards in at least 4 ways.


I had never heard of boba tea before, but I found this explanation: Boba tea (also called pearl tea, or bubble tea) is a sweet drink that combines milk, flavored tea and tapioca pearls that are sucked up through an extra large straw and chewed. The pearls have a soft, chewy consistency similar to that of gummy candy. The tea was introduced in Taiwan in the 1980s, quickly spread through Southeast Asia and more recently has become very popular among young people in the U.S. and in Europe. The tapioca pearls usually are black and are made from cassava starch, sweet potato and brown sugar. Sometimes, white tapioca pearls are used - these are made from cassava starch, caramel and chamomile root and have a different flavor.

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Yes I wouldn't drink the actual drinks that you buy, but I bought the boba pearls is what I meant. They are made of starch. I have a whole bag I just bought. Just wondering.


Yes, see my post above which answers this. 

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