Milkshakes and freakshakes under fire in anti-sugar campaign

USA Feature Rates Apply MANDATORY CREDIT Zoe Flammang  REX Shutterstock Editorial use only. No stock books merchandising or advertising without

USA Feature Rates Apply MANDATORY CREDIT Zoe Flammang REX Shutterstock Editorial use only. No stock books merchandising or advertising without

Commenting on the findings, registered nutritionist Kawther Hashem, researcher at Action on Sugar based at Queen Mary University of London said: "Undoubtedly some of these milkshakes contribute to excess sugar and calorie intake, and it is shocking this information is hidden from the consumer, who would struggle to find it".

Action on Sugar, based at Queen Mary University of London in the United Kingdom, conducted a survey of 140 drinks at United Kingdom fast-food chains and restaurants and found they contained "alarming" levels of sugar and calories.

Freakshakes - milkshakes rammed with cake, candy, chocolate, cream, syrupy sauces and even entire slices of pie or slabs of brownie - have upped the ante on extreme beverages. "An average 25-year-old would need to jog for almost three hours or vacuum the house for five hours to burn off the calories".

"I would advise parents to be careful they do not reward their children with very sugary products such as milkshakes with added candies and sugar too often".

The next worst offender on Action on Sugar's list was Five Guys' banana and chocolate shake with 1,073 calories - the equivalent of more than four cans of cola.

Campaign group Action on Sugar believes the drinks should be a thing of the past, calling for a ban on freakshakes and milkshakes with more than 300 calories.

It is recommended that United Kingdom adults eat no more than 2,000 calories per day and no more than 90g of sugar, while children aged between five and 10 should eat 1,800 calories per day and no more than 85g of sugar.

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This contrasts with Public Health England (PHE)'s ambition to achieve a 10% reduction in sugar by mid-2019 and a further 10% by mid-2021 to meet the 20% overall target.

The health group has called for transparency and consistency of nutritional information - some chains do not publish it in their outlets or online - and criticises those which engage in "unacceptable marketing" which encourages consumers to indulge in their drinks and desserts on a regular - even daily - basis. They want businesses to cut sugar by 20% by 2020 and milkshakes are part of that.

"We share our nutritional information online for guests to access and we are very mindful of our role in helping guests make informed decisions about what they eat and drink while dining with us", it said.

Action on Sugar chairman Graham MacGregor, professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at London's Queen Mary University, said that does not go far enough.

"There should be a limit of 300 calories per serving on these drinks".

"These high calorie milkshakes need to be reduced immediately below the 300kcal per serving".

In particular the "freakshake", a cross between a milkshake and a dessert that is increasingly featuring on restaurant menus, has been placed under the spotlight. The company has also committed to PHE's sugar reduction program.

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