Comment: Call for UK ban on 'grotesquely sugary' freakshakes

Haleh Moravej, Senior Lecturer in Nutritional Sciences, comments


Freakshakes are glorified milkshakes

Earlier this week, it was reported that campaign group Action on Sugar is demanding a ban on freakshakes and all milkshakes with more than 300 calories.

The group surveyed milkshakes sold in high street restaurants and fast food shops in the UK and found they contained "grotesque levels of sugar and calories”.

To top it off, freakshakes are also contain chocolates, sweets, cake, cream and sauce.

Haleh Moravej, Senior Lecturer in Nutritional Sciences at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “Fruits, vegetables, and milk all contain naturally occurring sugars, along with vital nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and fibre. People are eating more sweets, cakes, chocolates and processed foods and are now consuming glorified milkshakes, known as freakshakes.

“The freakshake trend started on Instagram as a way of rebelling against clean eating and hyper-healthy lifestyles but it seems the trend could really cause damage to people’s health, with some freakshakes having up to 39 spoonful of free sugar.

“Free sugars are expressed as sugar that has been added by a manufacturer or consumer and include naturally occurring sugars in fruit juices and syrups. Adults and children aged over 11 should eat no more than around 30g of free sugars a day. Added sugar should not make up more than 10 per cent of the overall daily calories. For men, it is about 70g a day and for women, 50g a day. In the UK, national diet and nutrition surveys show on average individuals are exceeding the recommended amounts. 

“The more people consume high sugar junk food, the less appealing ‘real’, naturally sweet foods will seem. Individuals need to be nutritionally educated that drinking 300 calories of sugar in a freakshake is not the same thing as eating 300 calories of nutritious broccoli although it does contain calcium and protein.

“Sugary beverages are nutritionally deficient in anything healthy and simply do not satisfy hunger like calories from solid food. Liquid sugar will be absorbed as little as 30 minutes leading to a rise in blood sugar that the body is not well equipped to handle, particularly in repetition. These sugar highs in blood can overwhelm the body and lead to the transformation of sugar into fat in the liver, which contributes directly to the development of type 2 diabetes.

“High consumption of sugar can contribute to obesity, this can lead to heart disease, and type 2 diabetes, tooth decay, strokes, and some cancers. Obesity is a combination of several factors such as lifestyle, psychological, diet and activity that are contributing to the nation’s growing waistlines.

“We need to create healthy environments and healthy food choices and right portions for adults and children. We should educate our next generation in creating their own balanced, nutritious, healthy and sustainable diets. We need to be led by creative tactics, technology, nutritional education and high quality nutritious food for all and not faddy foods such as freakshakes and trends that come and go.”

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