Apparently, You Can Eat Too Much Boba

We'll admit it, those squishy little boba balls can be incredibly fun to munch on, but a boba overload can lead to some unwelcome digestive issues. Just ask one determined Tiktoker who found herself in the hospital after downing a cup brimming with whole pearls. And if you're scratching your head wondering what exactly boba is, allow us to enlighten you. 

Boba, also known as bubble tea, originates from Taiwan. These teas contain chewy tapioca pearls, nicknamed "boba," and are conjured from tapioca starch. And yes, you guessed it — these pearls were the culprits behind the hospital dash for Tiktoker @amandarin0ranges in June 2023, which served as a cautionary tale. And this is not the first time something like this has happened. In June 2019, a 14-year-old girl in China was hospitalized after consuming too much boba, and appeared to have a copious amount of starchy boba pearls congealed within her stomach.

Amanda shared, "Don't do stupid things like me... It wasn't good for my body" (via Yahoo News). But the burning question remains: Why in the world did she eat so many? Well, the TikTok comment section turned detective, revealing that Amanda's workplace, coincidentally a boba tea shop, generously offers its employees two complimentary drinks daily. A few consecutive shifts combined with some well-intentioned take-home boba proved to be the catalyst for Amanda's digestive dilemma. In a follow-up post, Amanda candidly confessed that her aversion to wasting food also played a role. So, don't make the same mistake, and share your boba tea.

What really caused the trip to the emergency room?

Was it boba's ingredients that caused this TikToker's emergency room dash, or was it just a user error? Let's take a deeper look. To start out, boba tapioca pearls are primarily crafted from tapioca starch. This starch, made up of cassava (a root vegetable or tuber), is the cornerstone of their unique composition, contributing to their distinct texture and chewiness. Bubble tea tapioca pearls typically also have brown sugar blended into them, which is reason to avoid overconsumption due to the excess added sugar. It is possible this factor may have contributed to Amanda's stomach problems. 

Moreover, during production, cassava starch is transformed into a moist dough, which is then rolled into small spheres. When these pearls are cooked, their starch molecules absorb water, resulting in the familiar soft yet satisfyingly chewy consistency. This chewy consistency could also be the culprit according to TikTok's investigative team (aka Amanda's commenters). Numerous viewers reacted to her video, teasing her for not chewing the tapioca pearls and simply swallowing them instead. One commenter was quoted saying, "How to prevent a boba overdose: chew them please!" (per Yahoo News). 

So, do these accusations imply that Amanda's lack of chewing the boba is what caused this mayhem? Or could it be the overconsumption of the boba itself? We believe it's a synergy of both, and recommend taking a page out of this TikToker's book by exercising caution when drinking your next boba tea