Tapioca Benefits + Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 03/03/22 •  9 min read
tapioca benefits and side effects

HEALTH

Energy: tapioca is good for / helps boost metabolism, increase feelings of fullness

Longevity: tapioca is good for / helps gut health, reduce inflammation

Appearance: n/a

Tapioca is…

a kids book about plant based eating
Teach Kids Where Our Food Comes From. Look Inside!

ENVIRONMENT

Water footprint: moderate, 2,818 liters of water used to produce 1 kilogram of tapicoa of cassava / 338 gallons of water used to produce 1 pound of tapioca of cassava

Carbon footprint: low, 0.4 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of starchy roots, a car driving equivalent of 1 miles or 1.5 kilometers

Destruction: low, tapioca production is relatively sustainable, there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc., be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc.

Tapioca is…

ANIMALS

Kills: none, tapioca production does not require any animals to die

Harms: none, tapioca production does not require any animals

Indirectly kills or harms: none, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat

Tapioca is…

LABORERS

Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Tapioca…

Where does most tapioca come from?

The world’s top tapioca exporting country is Taiwan, followed by China, Thailand, India, Brazil, France, USA, Pakistan, Spain and Netherlands. Nigeria produces the most tapioca worldwide.

Is tapioca nutritious?

Tapioca is nearly pure starch and almost entirely made up of carbohydrates, containing only small amounts of protein, fat and fiber and only minor amounts of nutrients.
Other names for tapioca are tapioca flakes, tapioca pearls, tapioca starch, tapioca flour and tapioca dextrin.

acidic foods and alkaline diet benefits that improve ph levels

tapioca is acidic.

Is tapioca alkaline or acidic? Tapioca is acidic. What is the pH level of tapioca? Tapioca has a 5.5 pH level once digested.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

tapioca is gluten free.

glutinous foods have side effects but a gluten free diet can help

Is tapioca gluten free? Yes, tapioca is gluten free. Tapioca does not contain gluten.

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

tapioca is not a common food allergen.

side effects of common food allergens like milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Is tapioca a common food allergen? No, tapioca is not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to tapioca but it is relatively rare by comparison.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

These foods account for about 90% of all food allergies in the United States.

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

tapioca has a moderate water footprint.

water footprints of food and products

Does tapioca have a high or low water footprint? Tapioca has a relatively moderate water footprint compared to other foods.

What is the water footprint of tapioca? It takes 2,818 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of tapioca of cassava / 338 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of tapioca of cassava.

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource?

We must do what we can to conserve fresh water and a major way to reduce needless water consumption is to change the way we eat. That’s not to say we need to reduce our water intake…quite the opposite. It’s important for our health to drink lots of water and eat foods that hydrate. The kind of water conservation we’re talking about here is behind the scenes.

How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

tapioca has a low carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Does tapioca have a high or low carbon footprint? Tapioca has a relatively low carbon footprint compared to other foods.

What is the carbon footprint of tapioca? It takes around 0.4 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of starchy roots, a car driving equivalent of 1 miles or 1.5 kilometers.

Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.

When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…

There are a number of steps we can take to reduce energy output. According to Oxford Martin School researchers, if the world went vegan, eliminating animal-derived products, it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds and avoid climate damages of $1.5 trillion.

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

tapioca is sustainable.

sustainable shopping, for eco friendly brands and products good for the environment

Overall, is tapioca eco friendly? Is tapioca sustainable?

Tapioca production is relatively sustainable since there is no significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. Be sure to buy non GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc. when using regenerative practices.

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

A 2010 United Nations report said that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world the worst impacts of climate change.

tapioca is vegan.

benefits of vegan food to eat on a vegan diet which helps save animals

Is tapioca vegan? Yes, tapioca is vegan. Tapioca is a starch from cassava roots and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. 

Animals of factory farming are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. Growth hormones allow all kinds of animals to become fatter faster and live short lives.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non Vegan Foods List

tapioca is a product that may or may not have labor issues.

benefits of buying fair trade, labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Is tapioca a product with labor concerns?

At this time there are no major concerns with tapioca production but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening!

It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may come with specific brands.

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Sadly, many labor concerns exist around the world in both developed and developing countries. We must be vigilant to ensure what we buy is not contributing to industries that are unfair to their valuable workers. Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 

Sources:

Tapioca, pearl, dry – FoodData Central – USDA

Characterization and physiological effect of tapioca … – PubMed

Adriane Marie

As an educator, author and conscious consumer advocate, I study and organize ethical info for you to quickly see how our purchases impact animals, people and the planet. I hope you find this HEALabel knowledge useful and can apply it to your life for personal and societal improvement and empowerment.