Frozen Drinks Hall of Shame

Written By: Owennie Lee, RD

Title: Registered Dietitian

Alumni: University of British Columbia

Last Updated on:

Few people would eat ice cream every day, but many of us will buy one or more iced drinks to quench our thirst on a hot summer day. Frappuccinos (frozen coffee-type blended beverages), milkshakes and slurpees have permanent spots on the top frozen drinks list. They may be refreshing the moment you drink them, but when you regain your senses after the brain freeze, you may be shocked to find out the drink you just downed has more calories than an entire meal, with heaps of sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, saturated fat, and trans fat. In many cases, artificial coloring is lurking in these drinks as well. Not so refreshing after all, is it?

Blended Coffee Drinks Hall of Shame

DrinkCalories (kcal)Sugar (g)Fat (g)Trans Fat (g)
Tim Horton's Mocha Iced Capp (cream), large (20 oz.)67085320
Tim Horton's Mocha Iced Capp (milk), large (20 oz.)4808590
Tim Horton's Iced Capp Orignial (cream), large (20 oz.)51070250
Tim Horton's Iced Capp Original (milk), large (20 oz.)320612.50
Starbucks Extra Coffee Caramel Frappuccino Blended Beverage (whole milk) + whipped cream (Venti, 24oz.)45071150
Starbucks Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino Blended Beverage (whole milk) + whipped cream (Venti, 24 oz.)52068230.5
Starbucks Java Chip Frappuccino Blended Beverage (whole milk) + whipped cream (Venti, 24 oz.)Starbucks Java Chip Frappuccino Blended Beverage (whole milk) + whipped cream (Venti, 24 oz.) 84210

Strategies for a Healthier Blended Coffee Drink

Starbucks Frappuccinos

  • Asking for skim milk and skipping the whipped cream saves 160 calories and 16 grams of fat for the Venti Java Chip Frappuccino!
  • To trim it down even further, order the “Light” version (which does not come with whipped cream by default). You will save 270 calories and 16 grams of fat from the original drink, as the base that is used to make the “Light” version contains less calories.
  • Consider downsizing to a Grande (16 oz.) or even a Tall (12 oz.). This will shrink your drink to 200 calories and 1.5 grams of fat for the Grande, and only 140 calories and 2.5 grams of fat for the Tall. The sugar is still high no matter how you slice it or dice it, but at least it is healthier than the original 560 calories and 21g fat Venti version!

Tim Horton’s Iced Capp

  • Switch your Iced Capp from a cream base to a milk base for a 23-gram fat and 190-calorie savings. Even with this change, the fat and sugar contents are still way too high for everyday enjoyment, so reserve the Iced Capp for a special treat.

Milkshakes Hall of Shame

DrinkCalories (kcal)Sugar (g)Fat (g)Trans Fat (g)
McDonald's Chocolate Triple Thick Shake (21 oz.)770111181.5
McDonald's Chocolate McCafe Shake (22 oz.)880121241
McDonald's Strawberry Triple Thick Shake (21 oz.)740111181.5
McDonald's Strawberry McCafe Shake (22 oz.)860124241
Starbucks Strawberry and Créme Frappuccino Blended Beverage (whole milk) + whipped cream (Venti, 24 oz.)45068170
Cold Stone Creamery Oh Fudge! Shake (Gotta Have It, 24 oz.)19202001062.0
Cold Stone Creamery Savory Strawberry Shake (Gotta Have It, 24 oz.)1480145812.5

We were completely shocked and appalled by the findings in this category! From this cross-chain comparison of the most popular flavors (chocolate and strawberry), the numbers from the Cold Stone Creamery and McDonald’s shakes were so outrageous that they made the Starbucks numbers look good – even though they aren’t! This is by far the worst of all the frozen drinks categories, with sky-high levels of fat, ridiculous amounts of sugar, and heart-damaging trans-fats lurking in almost all of them. Our worst contestant – the Cold Stone Creamery Oh Fudge! Shake – packs one day’s worth of calories and 1.5 days’ worth of fat into a single drink! There is simply no strategy for having a healthy milkshake. Consider getting a fruit smoothie that is made with real fruits only, and save the milkshake for a really special occasion.

Slurpees Hall of Shame

DrinkCalories (kcal)Sugar (g)Fat (g)Trans Fat (g)
7-11 Slurpee, Coca Cola Classic (8 oz.)651800
7-11 Slurpee, Coca Cola Classic (40 oz.)3259000

Although the calories are not as high as the other frozen beverages, all of the calories are from sugar. Very much like sodas, there are absolutely no nutrients (but tons of junk like artificial coloring and flavoring) in slurpees. Sugar-free versions may bring down the caloric content, but you will be faced with artificial sweeteners instead. Why not try unsweetened iced teas or unsweetened iced tea lemonades as an alternative?

The Bottom Line

Next time you have the urge to down something icy cool on a scorching summer day, stay away from the not-so-cool iced blended drinks! To enjoy something refreshing, go for iced lattes with non-fat milk, unsweetened iced teas (e.g. iced passion tea), or unsweetened iced tea lemonades. If you must have something frozen, try building your frappuccino from non-fat or reduced-fat milk and skip the add-ons (such as whipping cream, caramel sauce, chocolate chips, etc.), or enjoy a fruit smoothie that is made with real fruits. Simply forget about milkshakes and slurpees altogether – who needs the sugar, fat, and other junk when all you want is a drink?


beverages, coffee, hall of shame, milkshake, slurpee


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