Call for ban on calorific milkshakes

14 November 2018

Milkshakes with ‘grotesque’ amounts of sugar and calories should be banned from being sold in high street restaurants, campaigners claim.


A survey by the group Action on Sugar (AoS) reveals that some milkshakes and ‘freakshakes’ sold in fast food chains contain up to 39 teaspoons of sugar – over six times the recommended daily amount for a seven- to 10-year-old child.

AoS is calling for mandatory traffic light coloured nutrition labelling across all menus and a ban on milkshakes that exceed a calorie limit of 300kcal per serving.

A ‘Unicorn freakshake’ sold at family restaurant Toby Carvery is ranked as the most ‘shocking shake’ in the survey with 1280kcal and 39 teaspoons of sugar per serving. The next worst offender is the banana and chocolate shake sold at Five Guys with 37 teaspoons of sugar.

The research concludes that all of the products sold in high street restaurants and fast food chains, with nutrition labelling online, would receive a ‘red’ (high) label for excessive levels of sugar per serving.

AoS also investigated the sugar and calorie levels in milkshakes sold by supermarkets and found that 90% of the 41 products surveyed would receive a ‘red’ (high) label for excessive levels of sugars per serving as sold. 

As part of the government’s child obesity plan, Public Health England has a sugar reduction programme that is challenging businesses to cut sugar by 20% by 2010, with milkshakes included in that. 

However, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London and chairman of Action on Sugar Graham MacGregor said that it’s clear from this survey that much more needs to be done than a 20% reduction. 

‘These very high calorie drinks, if consumed on a daily basis, would result in children becoming obese and suffer from tooth decay – that is not acceptable.
These high calorie milkshakes need to be reduced immediately below the 300kcal per serving,’ he said.

The research by AoS was released during Sugar Awareness Week 2018 (12-18 November) and can read here.

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