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What's In A McDonald's Shamrock Shake?

Updated on March 9, 2014

McCafé Shamrock Shake


The age long question! What is in the mint calorie filled milkshake that is sold throughout March to pay homage to the Irish holiday of St. Patricks Day. We will dissect the ingredients provided by McDonalds official website and provide it in clear English.. So, before you give in to the crave of a green tasty treat remember this article

Before we start this article the 'Shamrock Shake' is sold in most McDonalds store worldwide and is available in 12, 16 and 22 fl oz cups. To put this into perspective the 12 oz, which is child size contains a whopping 530 calories, the 16 oz (small) has an enormous 660 calories. The 22 oz contains a frightening 820 calories. This is very disturbing, especially the child size.

Nutritional Information

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 16 fl oz (Small)
Calories 660
Calories from Fat171
% Daily Value *
Fat 19 g29%
Saturated fat 12 g60%
Carbohydrates 109 g36%
Sugar 93 g
Protein 14 g28%
Cholesterol 75 mg25%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Chart Information

These percentages are available from the FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration) and I worked out the daily allowance. These figures are very concerning for a single drink as it does not include any food which may also be purchased with it.

What It Actually Contains

So as we can see from the picture perfect image, whipped cream. One of the worst things for any dieter. This is a calorie machine because of the unbelievable amount of calories in the whipped cream. Now as well as the whipped cream, the drinks main constituent is the ice-cream base. Nothing new here, vanilla extract fir flavour and other very bad preservatives.

The milkshake turns green after the 'Shamrock Shake Syrup' is added. This is full of preservatives and colourings it that happy St. Patricks Day colour! These added up give us the sugar machine that we have. Luckily that it is only available one month a year!

What Else Has 660 Calories?

So what other items on the menu can you swap for that 660 calorie monster? Here are just some of the possibilities :

2.64 McCafé Strawberry Banana Fruit Smoothies (Medium)

1.94 McFlurries with OREO® Cookies (Snack Size)

2.44 Grilled Chicken Ranch Snack Wraps

2.7 Premium Bacon Ranch Salads

2.64 Standard Hamburgers

This is all of what you can have instead of a single Shamrock Shake. Wow.

Shamrock Shake TV Advertisement

Other Bad Gibberish (With Explanation)

Mono-glycerides & Di-glycerides : Glycerides, or acylglycerols, are a chemical compound of glycerol and fatty acids. Glycerides are formed as monoglycerides, diglycerides or triglycerides. Triglycerides are the type of glyceride mainly associated with health and effect of glycerides on the body. Triglycerides are used for energy by cells. Monoglycerides and diglycerides are used as food additives to help certain ingredients blend better. Source

Polysorbate 80 : Polysorbate 80 is found in pudding cups, those not-quite-dairy, not-quite-frozen concoctions that make their way into home-packed school lunches. Its role here is to disperse artificial sweeteners and flavours throughout the gelatin-like substance. Though it can be sourced naturally, production of Polysorbate 80 is a complex chemical process. It’s made in an industrial laboratory, not a kitchen. Source

Sodium Benzoate : Well, if you are a nutritionist maybe you can understand! Here are 9 facts to scare you instead!

1. Sodium Benzoate (E211) is a preservative used to prevent food from molding.

2. It is especially used to preserve acidic foods and beverages such as pickles, salad dressings, fruit juices, and soft drinks.

3. An unfortunate side effect is that when mixed with ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) sodium benzoate transforms into benzene, a known carcinogen and DNA damager.

4. The rate at which benzene is formed is affected by light and heat, as well as the time spent on a shelf from production to consumption.

5. The FDA has limited usage of sodium benzoate to 0.1% of a product by weight. The limit for safe drinking water as set by the US government is less than 5 parts per billion (far less tolerance).

6. Some studies have shown that sodium benzoate along with artificial food colorings can cause children with ADHD to be more hyperactive.

7. Coca Cola announced in 2008 that it would remove sodium benzoate from its products by the end of the the year.

8. A close relative of sodium benzoate is pottasium benzoate (E212), also known as benzoic acid.

9. Sodium benzoate is found naturally in tiny amounts in fruits such as cranberries, prunes, and apples.


Red 40 : Red 40 is an artificial colour dye that is in most foods that we eat. There are various suggestions on what it is made of. The common being beetles and lassi. Source

Blue 1 : Blue No. 1 is called "brilliant blue" and, as is typical of modern dyes, was originally derived from coal tar, although most manufacturers now make it from an oil base. Source

Yellow 5 : Yellow 5 is also known as tartrazine or E102. Yellow 5 is widely used in the making of potato chips, jams, candy, drinks and even pet food. It is also added to shampoo and other cosmetic products, as well as vitamins and certain medications. Yellow 5 is banned in Austria and Norway, and other European countries have issued warnings about their possible side effects. It is still freely and extensively used in the US, however. Source

Want Cool And Minty?


Homemade Copycat


2 cups vanilla ice cream or 2 cups soy ice cream

1 1/4 cups 2% low-fat milk or 1 1/4 cups soy-milk

1/4 teaspoon mint extract

8 drops green food colouring


1 : Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth.

2 : Stop blender to stir with a spoon if necessary to help blend ice cream.

3 : Pour into 12-ounce cups and serve each with a straw.

Copyright Free Recipe From


4 stars from 1 rating of McDonalds Shamrock Shake


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