Each year during the St. Patrick’s Day season, McDonald’s brings back that heavenly green minty milkshake called the McCafe Shamrock Shake. These delicious milkshakes are only around for a few short weeks; meanwhile the claims of why you should not drink a Shamrock Shake seem to linger longer and longer each year and are even labeled dangerous by some critics.
Nutrition wise a Shamrock shake isn’t that bad, for a minty milkshake, in comparison to other milkshakes out there in the fast food industry; with the understanding that you just have one as an annual treat and not three times a day while they are available. One 12-ounce cup of this McCafe special contains the following: 530 calories, 11g protein, 15g fat, 10g saturate fat, 1g trans-fat,86 g carbohydrates, 73g sugar, and 160 mgs sodium. The Shamrock Shake is made with McDonald’s vanilla reduced-fat ice cream, Shamrock Shake syrup and topped with whipped cream and a cherry. Sounds delicious, right?
Leprechauns are known to be tricky and deceiving; however the same could be said for this St. Paddy’s Day treat. Considering there are only four ingredients in a Shamrock Shake, with one of them is low fat ice cream, how back can it be? Famous last words!
Here are a few things to remember:
- Reduced fat ice cream doesn’t mean reduced sugar, reduce calories, or fat free
- The whipped cream contains Polysorbate 80. This is an emulsifier that doesn’t have the greatest reputation in the food, vaccine, and cosmetic industries. There are several reasons to avoid this chemical as there are several side effects that you may not even realize are side effects.
- The Shamrock Shake syrup contains: High fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, water, sugar, natural flavor, (plant source), xanthan gum, citric acid, sodium benzoate (preservative), yellow 5 (Banned in Norway and Austria), and blue 1 (Banned in Norway, Finland and France). For a syrup that was designed to flavor a minty milkshake, there doesn’t seem to be much mint in it.
- Even the innocent little maraschino cherry has twelve ingredients including high fructose corn syrup, sodium benzoate (a preservation), red 40, and sulfer dioxide as a preservative which contains sulfites.
Back to the original question, is the Shamrock shake delectably delicious or deceivingly dangerous? The answer is a little bit of both. Look at a big everything on hamburger at any fast food dive. While it has a big hamburger that was probably fried, it also has vegetables on it. As with every food or beverage that we consume, it all boils down to moderation and portion control. So go enjoy a small (12oz) Shamrock Shake while they are available and considerate your special treat for the week; however it should not be your breakfast everyday for a couple weeks.