A Guide to Tapioca Nutrition Values
If your favorite dessert happens to be tapioca pudding, then you may be interested in learning about tapioca nutrition values. Tapioca comes from the root of the cassava plant. In terms of its makeup, it is quite similar to a potato. This root has very little flavor on its own. In fact, many people claim that it is completely flavorless. You might be thinking to yourself, but tapioca pudding tastes so good! This is true, but the flavor of this tasty dessert doesn’t come from the tapioca itself, it comes from the other ingredients in the pudding.
Alone, tapioca nutrition is very limited. In fact, it really has nothing to offer but starch—not even gluten or protein. It is low in cholesterol, saturated fat, and salt, but it is a carb-dieter’s worst nightmare. Even the everyday potato has more vitamins and minerals than tapioca. This can be bad news for those who strictly use tapioca in tapioca pudding, however it can be great for someone looking for a way to make a healthy meal more substantial or filling. When tapioca is used in a dish, it typically takes on the nutritional value of the dish. For instance, tapioca used to thicken a cheese sauce which will be drizzled over fresh broccoli and spinach is a much healthier use than if it were to thicken pudding filling for a pie!
Tapioca doesn’t have to be completely avoided because of its starch content, though. Starch has such a bad reputation, but we wouldn’t be where we are today without it. Starch is a complex carbohydrate—the most important kind in the human diet—and is found in rice, wheat, potatoes, and corn. It is broken down by the human body as a sugar which will then be used for energy. For an active person, this is good news because starch will provide a much needed energy boost that doesn’t take long for the body to process. Now, for those of us who aren’t as active as we should be, this sugar can be converted to fat and stored for a rainy day.
What is tapioca good for, then?
As mentioned earlier, tapioca is pretty much flavorless. While this may seem to be a bit of a bummer, it can really turn out to be a good thing. Because this root doesn’t have any flavor of its own, it can be added to almost any dish to successfully take on whatever flavor the dish itself has. It makes a terrific starchy filler, much in the same way that potatoes are used. Tapioca is also used as a thickener, such as in tapioca pudding where this starchy root takes on the flavors of the milk, sugar, and vanilla.
Because tapioca is basically a solid bit of starch, it can be an excellent benefit for those looking to gain weight. In fact, in other areas of the world tapioca is really depended upon as a staple food and means of quick energy. This is similar to how the potato is used in North America and Europe and the plantain is used in South America.
Cooking with Tapioca
Tapioca can be found in the baking section of most stores. It is sold in stick, flake, or “pearl” form. Pearl is a very suitable word for the most commonly used form of tapioca as it is processed into round bead-like pieces, often white in color—although it can come in a variety of colors. Tapioca in the form of flakes is often used as a thickening agent. This is perfect for soups and desserts because the tapioca is not discernable to the eater in the way that pearl tapioca is. When used correctly, tapioca in any form can be a nice addition to the right dishes, but care should be taken by diabetics as this root can cause a dramatic rise in blood sugar.