I'm sure none of you want to hear this, especially my bountiful bubbly Boba addicts. I know a couple of you Boba bi-daily readers out there are beginning to sweat over your sweet treat of a drink. But the bitter truth hurts sometimes.
Many of you have read the article on Asian One about the girl who was found with 100 undigested tapioca balls in her intestines that resulted in a blockage, but I promise this isn't nearly as horrifying . . . unless it's cuffing season and you're in need of that extra motivation. Here's three ways Boba Tea may be killing your libido.
Sugary, Sweet and Everything but Seductive
That inexplicable and often unexpected rise in the tingly feelings that make you want someone (or something) are the work of hundreds of thousands of little hormones. Those little voices are mostly annoying and sometimes welcome. We all know the main players of testosterone and estrogen, but insulin and leptin are food related hormones that are responsible regulating testosterone and estrogen.
While the stereotypical chocolate covered strawberry may be associated with the sexy times, high levels of sugar intake leads to something called insulin resistance, where your body begins to ignore the insulin signals in your body.
Normally when you eat something sugary, your insulin rises to tell your body to start absorbing the sugar. This decreases your blood sugar.
When you consume too much sugar, your insulin starts to freak out. It doesn't know how much is needed to properly filter your blood. So the amount needed to clear your blood of sugar is raised. And this is bad, since now you're simply not producing enough insulin to combat such high sugar intake. In fact, insulin resistance is why diabetes is a thing in the first place.
Okay but what does insulin have to do with sex then? Insulin is a huge sex hormone as well, since due to this resistance, there is way more sugar in your blood stream which causes increased cholesterol, malaise and decreased testosterone.
Ahh yes. The big T takes a hit due to this increased sugar in the blood since your body is now storing more fat. This isn't just an issue in men as one might think, since testosterone is also in women, and even a T-decrease in women is still bad. Any hormonal imbalance is bad in the human body of either sexes. Lower T in both women and men lead to massive hormone imbalances that simply kill the mood. Furthermore, insulin imbalances are often associated with estrogen imbalances and PCOS.
On to leptin. While insulin breaks down the sugar, leptin tells you when to stop eating (or drinking in the case of Boba) the sugar. It then tells you when you're hungry. Now that you're consuming too much sugar, the same thing happens again. Due to insulin being wacky, your leptin can't properly read the levels of insulin. Your leptin is higher when your insulin is low. Now you're hungry when you shouldn't be, and your brain isn't properly registering why, which further leads to lower testosterone. This is called leptin resistance.
Lastly but not least, high sugar intake results in rapid spikes of energy then a fatigue crash. It simply makes you tired. The energy produced from simple sugars found in the Boba tea syrup burn too quickly. A single cup of Boba can have 36 grams of sugar, which is literally your daily requirement for men, and 163% of your daily requirement for women.
How's your sweet tooth now?
Milky and Malevolent
I absolutely love cheese. I cannot imagine my food world and journey sans cheese. Unfortunately that causes issues (that I notice honestly). Dairy in general has the potential to harm your hormone balance as well.
Today's food industry is riddled with cruelty and the unknown. Aside from the ominous non-descript "natural flavors" on the ingredients label, there's a lot of behind-the-scenes activities that are only ever revealed in exposés. Cattle in particular is a sticky business due to some questionable practices such as slaughter-houses, veal production and in particular: synthetic hormone injections.
It's very hard to really know what is in your meat and specifically milk. Synthetic hormones like IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor) and Synthetic Prolactin (hormone that causes mammary secretion) are often either injected into cattle or their food to increase fattening and milk production. However, according to an article published in the Iranian Journal of Public Health, evidence suggests that these synthetic hormones do have "profound biological effects in animals and humans."
IGF-1 synthetic hormones have also been shown to be associated with increased risk for endometrium, breast and prostate cancer.
These can cause abnormal levels of estrogen and insulin in consumers, which throws off your hormone balance leading to lower production of natural hormones thus killing your libido. Additionally, higher levels of prolactin are also linked with obesity, decreased libido, and depression.
So it's pretty clear constant daily consumption of cheap dairy products isn't the wisest for you or your bedroom, especially since milk tea is way more milk than tea.
Those Wonderful Little Balls
No not those balls. THESE balls. Tapioca.
The gimmick and fun of Boba tea are these little small blue balls of tapioca that provide the "bubble" in bubble tea.
After a rise of major popularity in the drink in Europe, scientists in Germany conducted various studies testing chemicals found in tapioca produced by major chain places like McDonald's. While it's already known tapioca lack significant nutritional value and are just starchy pearls, traces of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which is a classification of artificially produced chemicals used in plastics that are shown to cause cancer.
Additionally, exposure to PCBs is also linked to thyroid issues such as hormonal imbalance and thyroid disease according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Two studies showed that PCBs are toxic and interfere with natural thyroid processes.
While thryoid is mainly responsible for weight and hunger, it has a very important role with sex too. Thyroid is partially responsible for testosterone production in men and the production of lubricating fluids along the vaginal wall. Under-active thyroid disrupts natural sexual process and lowers your sex drive as well. Sugar and dairy also worsen already problematic thyroid disorders.
Albeit, the Taiwanese government completely denies these findings, as government sponsored research tested tapioca balls in Boba and found they contained no presence of styrenes and PCBs, but such research is questionable due to its lack of international peer review.
It is more of a stretch with tapioca balls in Boba, but with the high factorized production of milk tea to appeal to westerners, it's completely unknown what most manufacturers actually put in the tapioca.
So all in all this all paints a pretty grim picture for your private activities. The key is moderation. Drinking Boba a few times a month or even one to two times a week isn't going to make a significant impact in your life. Chances of getting cancer, thyroid issues, diabetes SOLELY from Boba once a week is extremely small, but I personally know some people that live on Boba and make it a daily routine.
In that case, may want to switch to water more often than not, otherwise other pleasures may suffer as a result.