Published: Fri, November 16, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Call for United Kingdom ban on excessively high sugar milkshakes

Call for United Kingdom ban on excessively high sugar milkshakes

Family restaurant Toby Carvery is ranked as the worst offender with its "Unicorn Freakshake" containing 39 teaspoons of sugar - despite experts recommending that the average seven to ten year old should not consume more than 6g of sugar a day, according to a report from Action on Sugar.

The group surveyed milkshakes sold in restaurants and fast food shops in the United Kingdom, and discovered that many have over half the daily-recommended amount of calories for an adult. However, the Unicorn freakshake has 1,280 kcal per serving, more than half the daily recommended amount of calories for an adult and four times PHE's proposed calorie limit.

As part of Sugar Awareness Week, Action on Sugar is now calling for mandatory traffic light coloured nutrition labelling across all menus, so customers can clearly see sugar and fat content before buying a milkshake.

"When you pick up a product in the supermarket they're obliged to have full labelling on allergens, on nutrition and on ingredients", she said.

Rounding out the top three dietary delinquents are two towering sugar bombs from Five Guys: Milkshake Base with banana and chocolate mix-ins (37 tsp/149 g of sugar; 1,073 calories), and Milkshake Base with a cherry mix-in (30 tsp/120 g; 975 calories).

Freakshakes combine milkshake with ice cream, cream, syrup, marshmallows, cake, chocolate and other candies and decorations to form a huge dessert.

Action on Sugar said the survey's findings revealed "grotesque levels of sugar and calories" as it called for a ban on all milkshakes exceeding 300 calories per serving.

Both companies said they shared their nutritional information online, took their nutritional responsibilities seriously, had committed to Public Health England's sugar reduction programme andwere not targeting children with their shakes.

But Graham MacGregor who is the Action on Sugar Chairman says more needs to be done.

"These very high calorie drinks, if consumed on a daily basis, would result in children becoming obese and suffering from tooth decay - that is not acceptable", he said.

"These high calorie milkshakes need to be reduced immediately below 300kcal per serving". "It is time the government introduced legislation to force companies to be more transparent about what is in their products by displaying clear nutrition information online and in the outlets, at all times".

A spokesman for Toby Carvery said: "Freakshakes only feature on our main menu and are not targeted at children".

Action on Sugar, based at Queen Mary University of London, looked at 140 shakes served in United Kingdom restaurants and found, not surprisingly, that the mash-ups contain "grotesque levels of sugar and calories".

A Toby Carvery spokesperson added: "We also regularly work with our suppliers to explore ways we can reduce sugar levels in our dishes".

"Milkshakes can contain significant amounts of sugar", said Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE in response to the report.

Out-of-home milkshakes contained more sugar than branded and own-brand products.

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