The piled-high ‘Freakshakes’ you see on Instagram may contain as much sugar as 16 donuts

Freakshakes can contain as many as 1,280 calories.

Freakshakes can contain as many as 1,280 calories.
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  • Freakshakes have soared in popularity over recent years due to their Instagrammability.
  • However, a new TV show has analyzed the nutritional content of these decadent drinks, and the results are shocking, if perhaps not surprising.
  • Some Freakshakes contain as much sugar as 16 donuts and as many as 1,280 calories.
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Take a milkshake, add a scoop of ice cream, then top with a donut, cookies, slice of cheesecake, sprinkles, more candy, a dollop of cream for good measure, and chocolate sauce, and what do you get? A Freakshake.

Freakshakes were originally created by Brittany Stark of Black Tap Burger in New York back in 2015, but as the decadent drinks racked up the likes on Instagram, it didn’t take long for other restaurants to create their own versions and for the trend to spread around the world.

These epic desserts have soared in popularity over recent years, largely due to their Instagrammability, and you can now find Freakshakes on many mainstream restaurant chains’ menus.

And whilst no one could be under any delusions that a Freakshake is healthy, quite how sugar and calorie-dense they are has now been revealed.

In the latest episode of “Tricks of the Restaurant Trade” on UK Channel 4, broadcast on Monday, presenters Sophie Morgan and Simon Rimmer look into the nutritional profile of Freakshakes.

They found that the worst offenders contain as much as 156g sugar, which is equivalent to 39 teaspoons or 16 glazed donuts.

To put this into context, UK guidelines recommend that adults should consume no more than 30g (7 teaspoons) of free sugars per day, and for children aged 7-10 and 4-6 this drops to 24g (6 teaspoons) and 19g (5 teaspoons), respectively.

On average, a typical Freakshake contains around 95g of sugar, more than three times the recommended daily allowance.

“That’s outrageous,” said specialist paediatric dietitian Nicole Rothband.

“95g of sugar is a lot of energy that your body is going to have to use up otherwise it will get stored as fat.

“You really don’t want a child to be drinking that amount of sugar because over time that can lead to liver damage, damage to your heart, type 2 diabetes, and kidney damage.”

Read more: Bubble tea is a whole lot worse for you than regular tea. Here’s why.

The most sugary Freakshake the TV show assessed was served at UK restaurant chain Toby Carvery and has now been removed from the menu, but it was found to contain a whopping 1,280 calories too – over half the recommended daily total for adult men and women.

Campaigners are now calling on restaurants not just to reduce the sugar in Freakshakes but also to be more transparent about their nutritional profiles.

“I think that if more consumers realized that some of these Freakshakes contain over 1,000 calories, less consumers will choose it,” said nutritionist Kawther Hashem from Action on Sugar.