Brown sugar teas are sugar bombs

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Brown sugar teas are sugar bombs

Brown sugar boba, or pearl milk tea, is all the rage this summer.

Because of the use of unrefined brown sugar, it has a healthier image than other sugary drinks.

But a study by local civic groups and the Seoul Metropolitan government released Friday reveals that of this trending beverage contains an average of 41.6 grams of sugar, equivalent to 14 sugar cubes, in a single cup.

One cup provides a full 41.6 percent of the 100 grams of sugar a person should have in a full day.

The results were based on actual measurements conducted on brown sugar boba products from six franchise brands in Korea, including Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Gongcha and Pascucci. Their sugar content varied from 27.1 grams to 57.1 grams per cup.

Sweet coffee drinks, like caramel macchiatos and caffe mochas, contain around 30 grams per cup.

The research also examined fresh juice. Seventy-five different drinks from juice franchises, including Juicy, were studied. Many people believe fresh juice is healthy as it uses actual fruit. But Seoul City warns that this may not be the case as franchises typically add fruit syrup to enhance the sweetness.

The average sugar content for fresh juice was 30.8 grams per cup. Figures also differed depending on the flavor. Strawberry banana juice topped other options in sugar content: 39 grams per cup. Orange followed at 31.1 grams, while grapefruit closely trailed at 29.2 grams. The least sweetened option was mango juice-it had 24.9 grams per cup.

Seoul City added that only six of the 15 visited juice stores put up signs for customers telling them that limiting sugar content was possible while ordering, despite the fact that all franchises allowed it.

“A lot of the citizens think that sweetness in brown sugar boba or fresh juice is healthy, but they still need to be cautious,” Seoul City said in a statement.

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]

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