Sunday, March 1, 2015

This is Why You Should Never Drink a McDonald's Shamrock Shake

McDonalds Shamrock Shake 22 ounce. 820 calories!
115 grams of sugar and 23 grams of FAT 135 grams of CARBS!
Just in case you were thinking about grabbing a large, 22-ounce McDonald’s Shamrock Shake today…you may want to know that it contains:
  • 23 Grams of Fat
  • 115 Grams of Sugar
  • 820 Calories
This is roughly the same amount of calories as:
  • 1.5 Big Macs, or
  • 2.5 Hot Fudge Sundaes, or
  • Nearly 3 Egg McMuffins
Oh… you may also be interested in learning that it consists of 33 different ingredients.
We all know that a dessert item from McDonald’s is not going to be healthy or good for the body…but many people are not aware of how unhealthy some of these menu items really are. After a quick glance, the ingredients of a Shamrock Shake look innocent. The main ingredients include:
  1. Vanilla Reduced Fat Ice Cream                           
  2. Shamrock Shake Syrup
  3. Whipped Cream
  4. Maraschino Cherry
However, after looking more closely, each main ingredient has several ingredients of its own – and many are chemicals that have been proven to be detrimental to our health. Here is the full breakdown of what is in a McDonald’s Shamrock Shake:
(Note: Some ingredients such as sugar, high fructose corn syrup, carrageenan, and artificial flavors are repeated, which means that the final product has double and sometimes triple the amount of such ingredients.)
  1. Milk
  2. Sugar
  3. Cream
  4. Nonfat Milk Solids
  5. Corn Syrup Solids
  6. Mono- and Diglycerides
  7. Guar Gum
  8. Dextrose
  9. Sodium Citrate
  10. Artificial Vanilla Flavor
  11. Sodium Phosphate
  12. Carrageenan
  13. Disodium Phosphate
  14. Cellulose Gum
  15. Vitamin A Palmitate
  1. High Fructose Corn Syrup
  2. Corn Syrup
  3. Water
  4. Sugar
  5. Natural Flavor (Plant Source)
  6. Xanthan Gum
  7. Citric Acid
  8. Sodium Benzoate (Preservative)
  9. Yellow 5
  10. Blue 1
  1. Cream
  2. Nonfat Milk
  3. Corn Syrup
  4. Sugar
  5. High Fructose Corn Syrup
  6. Contains Less Than 1%: Mono-And Diglycerides
  7. Carrageenan
  8. Polysorbate 80
  9. Beta Carotene (Color)
  10. Natural (Dairy and Plant Sources) and Artificial Flavor
  11. Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E) to Protect Flavor
  12. Whipping Propellant (Nitrous Oxide)
  1. Cherries
  2. Water
  3. Corn Syrup
  4. High Fructose Corn Syrup
  5. Sugar
  6. Malic Acid
  7. Citric Acid
  8. Natural (Plant Source) and Artificial Flavors
  9. Sodium Benzoate (Preservative)
  10. Potassium Sorbate (Preservative)
  11. Red 40
  12. Sulfur Dioxide as Preservative (Contains Sulfites)
Toxic cocktail
A “shake” should have 4-6 ingredients, not 33 ingredients. With the Shamrock Shake, McDonald’s is serving up a chemical shit-storm that is made up of several artificial preservatives and colorings that are toxic and dangerous to your organs/body when consumed. Many of the ingredients that make up this drink have been linked to various health issues including:
  • Cancer
  • ADHD
  • Hyperactivity
  • Acne
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Allergies
  • Fertility Problems
  • Skin Disorders
  • Gastrointestinal Issues
Make your own
If you are jonesing for a green sweet treat, please stay away from McDonald’s and create your own Shamrock Shake. This recipe by The Healthy Beast is paleo and dairy-free and uses six ingredients:

  1. Chilled Coconut Milk
  2. Almond Milk (Optional)
  3. Banana
  4. Avocado
  5. Vanilla Extract
  6. Peppermint Extract
Check the recipe out: here.
I have not made this recipe myself, but am looking forward to experimenting with it…the photos make this version of the Shamrock Shake look delicious!
Learn more
The Huffington Post outlines the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake in more detail. To view this graphic more clearly, click here.   
Mmmm mmm mmmm.  Are you still “loving it”…?!  I know for sure that I am not.
Please spread the word
I feel saddened and frustrated that our food industry is so backwards and that the FDA allows this kind of junk to end up in consumers’ bellies. Yes, people have the option to buy or not buy (and eat, or not eat) foods like this, but sadly, not enough consumers are aware of the dangers that lurk in these “food-like-substances.”
Often, things aren’t as straightforward as they look. Large corporations like McDonald’s use tricky marketing ploys to suck people into their establishments, and it can be rather confusing to navigate all of the nutritional information that is floating around us.
I post articles like this to help others become more aware of what is on restaurant menus and on our plates. Please help me spread awareness by sharing this information with your friends, family, and anyone else who will benefit.
This St. Patrick’s Day, I say you (legal folks) are better off if you eat a hearty Irish dinner (choose your meal – organic corned beef and cabbage, colcannon, shepherd’s pie, whiskey cake, etc.), and wash it all down with a few pints of smooth Guinness or a homemade Shamrock Shake. Do your best to stick to high quality meats and veggies.
Sure, you may be consuming some sugar, sodium and possibly some additives (found in the beer), but it will be a lot healthier (and for me, more satisfying) than a McDonald’s Shamrock Shake.
What are your thoughts?
I would love to hear your opinion. Have you tasted a McDonald’s Shamrock Shake? If so, what do you think of the taste? If not, will you still drink this shake, knowing that it contains 33 ingredients, many that are harmful to your health?
Do you have a favorite homemade Shamrock Shake recipe?
Please share your thoughts and/or recipes in the comment section below. I want to hear and learn from you!
Happy St. Paddy’s Day from Bamboo Core Fitns!es
Photo Credit:
  1. Bray, G., Nielsen, S., & Popkin, B. (2004, April 1). Consumption of high-fructose corn syrup in beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity. Retrieved from
  2. Food Additives ~ CSPI’s Food Safety. (n.d.). Retrieved February 28, 2015, from
  3. Melnick, M. (n.d.). Shamrock Shake: What’s Really In McDonald’s St. Paddy’s Day Drink? Retrieved February 27, 2015, from
  4. Retrieved February 27, 2015, from
  5. Tobacman, J. K. (2001). Review of harmful gastrointestinal effects of carrageenan in animal experiments. Environmental Health Perspectives, 109(10), 983–994.

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