For any of you who have experienced the wonders of boba, or who have at least watched Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and have seen the characters drink it in nearly every episode, then you must be aware of what the tiny little balls at the bottom of the trend-setting drink are made of: tapioca. 

Yup, those same pearls that you would find in all that tapioca pudding you ate growing up are the same ingredients for your favorite tea drink, in addition to the milk tea part.

But that begs the question, with all this boba you're drinking, is tapioca good for you? Or is the tapioca just a price to pay for the sake of a cool Instagram photo of your boba? Let's investigate.

First off, what is tapioca anyway?

See how cool boba can look in an Instagram photo! Anyhow, tapioca is a starch extracted from the root of the cassava (or yuca) plant. Originally from Northern Brazil, tapioca can be purchased in the form of flakes, powders, flour, and most commonly, pearls. It is also a very popular thickener used in desserts, like tapioca pudding, for instance, and in more savory fare like soups, sauces, and gravies. The starch serves as a binding agent in burgers and dough to prevent sogginess, too.

But is tapioca good for you?

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Shalayne Pulia

Because its texture is similar to cornstarch and the cassava root does not contain any gluten, tapioca is a perfectly acceptable addition to a gluten-free diet. Tapioca in its flour form is used for baking bread or as a replacement for wheat or gluten for added moisture, which makes it beneficial as a way to get your carbs in if and when need be.

Tapioca is also naturally low in sodium and provides you with 6.7 to 15 percent of the daily amount of iron required for you to function, which helps to prevent weight loss, dizziness, irritability, low energy levels, shortness of breath, and headaches.

But here's the major downside.

Generally, tapioca isn't the healthiest gluten-free starch on the market. Made up almost entirely of carbs, it is considered fat and protein-free with only minimal amounts of fiber. In fact, tapioca contains less than 0.1 percent of the amounts of the essential nutrients you need. Yikes.

Despite how good tapioca pudding might taste, chowing down on a cup of dried tapioca pearls weighs in at 544 calories. And it's considered inferior in nutritional value to most grains and flours. You're basically consuming empty calories.

BUT. Just because it is not exactly healthy doesn't mean you can't enjoy boba or tapioca pudding once in a while. You just have to eat in moderation, like all desserts and foods that make us happy but don't necessarily provide us with all that many nutrients. So is tapioca good for you? Not really. But does it taste good? You better believe it.