Science & Tech

Scientists have discovered a disturbing link between milk tea and depression

Scientists have discovered a disturbing link between milk tea and depression
Blindfolded person tries to find the bubble tea cup with the straw!
BVIRAL / VideoElephant

Bad news for milk tea drinkers, as the beverage - which comes in different forms such as bubble tea - has some disturbing links to depression, according to a new study.

Milk tea is widely consumed worldwide, but it has become particularly popular among young people in China over recent years.

While many of us buy the drink as a sweet treat or pick-me-up, researchers from Tsinghua University and the Central University of Finance and Economics in China investigated whether milk tea addiction is a thing.

After 5,281 university students in Beijing were surveyed as part of the research published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, they found that milk tea addiction does exist and also spotted connections between this issue with anxiety and depression.

Researchers noted the "tremendous growth" the beverage has had with youth as well as their findings from the study.

Milk tea such as bubble tea has been linked to addiction and depression in a new studyiStockphoto by Getty Images

"Our findings highlighted that milk tea consumption might lead to addiction, and it is associated with depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation," they wrote in the paper.

Nearly half of the students surveyed said they had at least one cup of milk tea on a weekly basis, while a scale of addiction was used to understand the symptoms such as cravings, immoderation and how this affects daily life.

Given that milk tea includes both caffeine and extra sugar, the effects of these ingredients cause worry - with low moods and social isolation as examples.

"The results indicate that milk tea consumption might lead to addiction symptoms, including frequency, dependence/craving, intention to stop, unable to stop, tolerance, and guilty feelings," the paper read.

Milk tea addiction has been compared to social media and drugs in terms of how damaging it can be, particularly when used to try and regulate emotions.

However, a large study would be needed over a longer period of time to gain further understanding of this.

To conclude, researchers want further regulation and safeguarding against both the physical and mental symptoms possibly connected to drinking milk tea, for example addiction, depression and obesity.

"Current findings can assist policymakers in developing regulations such as restricting advertising, providing psycho-education, establishing food hygiene standards for such a prosperous youth-dominant consumption industry while protecting their mental health," they stated.

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