Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Saturday, September 14, 2013
Fast-food drink failures you should avoid

I've talked about the dangers of supersized, sugar-filled and calorie-filled drinks for years. But to truly understand the extent of the problem, I decided to call out "the worst of the worst." This is a list of the highest calorie beverages on the menu of several national fast-food chains.

To be fair, I did not include anything that was labeled as a dessert. I limited my choices to anything the companies listed as a "drink" or "shake." These are beverages that fast-food restaurants expect you to order along with a meal.

I'll begin with the 22-ounce McDonald's McCafe strawberry shake. One cup has 850 calories. I love the description: "Creamy reduced-fat ice cream with strawberry flavored deliciousness -- topped off with whipped cream and a cherry." Yes, because reduced-fat ice cream is SO important in a drink that has more calories than most of McDonald's burgers!

I wonder: "What do they mean by 'strawberry FLAVORED'?" A quick look at the ingredient list explains things. The first three are clear, but I wonder how many people know much about the next 12.

Every McDonald's McCafe strawberry shake contains milk, sugar, cream, nonfat milk solids, corn syrup solids, monoglycerides and diglycerides, guar gum, dextrose, sodium citrate, artificial vanilla flavor, sodium phosphate, carrageenan, disodium phosphate, cellulose gum and vitamin A palmitate.

Notice not a single strawberry was harmed to make the "strawberry" shake. It makes me wonder exactly what those red flakes that appear in the drink are made of.

Meanwhile, Checkers and Rally's have something a bit bigger on their menus. I guess they decided 22 ounces was too small, because their large chocolate shake is a full 32 ounces. Drink one and you'll take in 880 calories and 107 grams of sugar. That's twice the amount of sugar the average person should ingest in a single day.

By comparison, Burger King's chocolate shake is a smaller 20 ounces, but it's more calorie-dense than Checkers at 980 calories. The BK chocolate shake has more sugar than you get from eating six of Burger King's Dutch apple pies. There's almost as much saturated fat in one 20-ounce chocolate shake (17 grams) as three Burger King bacon cheeseburgers (18 grams).

Sadly, there was actually one fast-food restaurant that put all those drinks to shame.

Sonic has one of the most extensive drink menus of the major fast-food chains. They have shakes, blasts, chillers, slushies and floats. If you were to make the mistake of ordering the Java Chiller Caramel, you would have a drink that packs 1,220 calories in a single glass. You could eat four McDonald's cheeseburgers and still take in less fat and calories than that single drink. But that's not the worst Sonic has to offer.

Buy the large Oreo Sonic Blast and you'll get a cup that's stuffed with a mind-numbing 1,780 calories per drink. It has the same amount of fat as 7.75 McDonald's cheeseburgers. A drink filled with that many calories should have a clear warning printed on the side of the cup that says, "Caution: Consuming this drink on a regular basis may cause obesity, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes and cancer. Drink at your own risk."

Think of these drinks as liquid poison. They're used as a hook to lure you in. Order one and you think you're giving yourself a "treat." But the reality is, they're filled with more fat, sugar and calories than most meals.

It is my hope that by exposing these nutritional bombs you will understand just how little these companies care about your health and well-being. Their goal is simply to find out how to trigger your cravings and get you to buy more.

I'm not suggesting you should never get dessert. But if you really want to reward your body, never order anything larger than a small. You'll still get all the flavor, but just might skip the love handles.

CAUTION: Before beginning any diet program check with your doctor first. For a FREE consultation with a WeBeFit Trainer call us at (305) 296-3434. Read our articles online at www.WeBeFit.com and get updates by "liking" us on Facebook.

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