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The Worst Fast-Food Beverages in America

There is such a thing as a dangerous drink, and these are the ones you should never be caught sipping.
Milkshake

Sometimes, the hardest part about deciding what you want to get at the drive-thru isn't your main meal, but what you're going to sip on. In-between bites of burgers and fries, you're going to need a drink, right? And while we would recommend a bottle of water, it's easy to get swayed by the eye-catching menu options.

But some fast-food beverages are simply scary. They're not only high in calories and fat, but the amount of sugar one of these drinks serves up is just out of control. It's important to keep in mind that The American Heart Association recommends men should consume no more than 36 grams of added sugar per day, and women shouldn't have more than 25 grams daily. You'll quickly notice that all of these beverages completely blow that limit out of the water. Big yikes.

So to help you avoid ordering a total diet disaster, we've rounded up the worst fast-food beverage options you'll find at popular chains. If you really want to indulge, be sure to go for the small or snack-size option if that's available! And be sure you're not ever pairing your meals with any of the popular sodas we ranked by how toxic they are, either.

1

McDonald's Strawberry Shake

mcdonalds strawberry shake
Courtesy of McDonald's
Per large: 840 calories, 21 g fat (14 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 310 mg sodium, 139 g carbs (0 g fiber, 106 g sugar), 19 g protein

A milkshake always seems harmless, but they're often one of the worst items on any menu. McDonald's Strawberry Shake is made with vanilla soft serve that is blended with strawberry syrup and topped with whipped cream, making for a shake that has as many calories as two McDouble burgers. Then you take a look at the amount of sugar here and it's jaw-dropping, coming in at 106 grams of the sweet stuff. This is as much as you would get from eight jelly donuts from Dunkin'

2

Taco Bell Dragonfruit Breeze

taco bell dragonfruit breeze
Taco Bell/ Twitter
Per large: 230 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 60 mg sodium, 59 g carbs (0 g fiber, 57 g sugar), 0 g protein

Taco Bell's brightly colored frozen drink is said to pack each sip with "a tropical sweetness [that] is sure to be the stuff of legends." Well, this pink drink doesn't have any actual fruit in it, and actually has as much sugar as 21 pieces of Starburst candies. Sorry, but there is nothing legendary about that!

3

Starbucks Chocolate Cookie Crumble Crème Frappuccino

starbucks chocolate cookie crumble frappuccino
Courtesy of Starbucks
Per venti: 560 calories, 29 g fat (18 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 380 mg sodium, 68 g carbs (3 g fiber, 61 g sugar), 9 g protein

Oh, the Frappuccino. It might be a Starbucks staple, but it's not doing anything for your waistline, especially not the Chocolate Cookie Crumble Crème flavor. One of these beverages is made up of mocha sauce and Frappuccino chips that are blended with milk and ice, layered on top of whipped cream and chocolate cookie crumble, topped with vanilla whipped cream, mocha drizzle, and even more chocolate cookie crumble. Talk about an overload! It's no wonder that a venti order has more sugar than 16 Chips Ahoy! cookies.

4

Wendy's Strawberry Lemonade

wendys strawberry lemonade
Courtesy of Wendy's
Per large: 480 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 55 mg sodium, 122 g carbs (0 g fiber, 114 g sugar), 0 g protein

This lemonade is said to be flavored with real strawberries, but the strawberry puree it contains is made up of sugar, strawberries, and more sugar. If you want to sip on something sweet next time you're at Wendy's, instead, go for a junior size Frosty.

5

Burger King Vanilla Oreo Cookie Shake

burger king oreo cookie shake
Courtesy of Burger King
716 calories, 20 g fat (12 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 539 mg sodium, 118 g carbs (0.7 g fiber, 98 g sugar), 16 g protein

By now, it should be clear that milkshakes are dangerous. The vanilla Oreo flavor from BK is just as bad, coming in at 716 calories and nearly 100 grams of sugar. This one shake has more calories than two Whopper Jr. sandwiches, so imagine tacking this on to your meal. No thanks! If you're looking to try and limit your sweets intake, check out the science-backed way to curb your sweet tooth in 14 days.

6

Chick-fil-A Peach Milkshake

chick-fil-a peach milkshake
Courtesy of Chick-fil-A
600 calories, 18 g fat (11 g saturated fat, 0.5 g trans fat), 410 mg sodium, 100 g carbs (1 g fiber, 97 g sugar), 11 g protein

A fruit-flavored milkshake strikes again. Chick-fil-A's peach version isn't much better than Mickey D's strawberry-flavored shake.

7

Dunkin' Caramel Swirl Frozen Chocolate

dunkin frozen hot chocolate
Courtesy of Dunkin'
Per large: 900 calories, 17 g fat (12 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 380 mg sodium, 176 g carbs (1 g fiber, 165 g sugar), 11 g protein

Dunkin's Frozen Chocolate is said to be "an indulgent treat," but that's putting it mildly. The large size of the Caramel Swirl flavor has 165 grams of sugar—as much as you would get from 16 and a half Apple 'n Spice donuts. No one should be consuming that much sugar in one sitting, especially knowing it's coming from a drink that is packing 900 calories.

8

Sonic Cherry Limeade

sonic cherry limeade
Courtesy of Sonic
Per large: 370 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 70 mg sodium, 99 g carbs (0 g fiber, 97 g sugar), 0 g protein

Sonic's frozen treats are what sets it apart from other fast-food chains, but you'll want to be careful when you decide to indulge. A large-size Cherry Limeade is packing 97 grams of sugar, nearly as much of the sweet stuff as you would get from 10 Original Glazed Krispy Kreme donuts. You wouldn't want to sip on that, now would you?

9

Arby's Orange Cream Shake

arbys orange cream milkshake
Courtesy of Arby's
Per large: 950 calories, 29 g fat (19 g saturated fat, 0.5 g trans fat), 640 mg sodium, 156 g carbs (1 g fiber, 130 g sugar), 23 g protein

Arby's is known for switching up its "limited-time-only" quite often, so it's understandable you would be tempted to order items from it. They don't stick around for long! But the Orange Cream shake is one you might want to skip. A large size has nearly 1,000 calories, half of most people's calorie allotment for an entire day. And 130 grams of sugar? That's a whole lot.

10

Culver's Chocolate Malt

Chocolate malt shake
Courtesy of Culver's
Per tall: 1,125 calories, 49 g fat (28 g saturated fat, 1.5 g trans fat), 408 mg sodium, 156 g carbs (0 g fiber, 120 g sugar), 17 g protein

At Culver's, adding on a malt to sip on as you eat might sound delicious, but this is simply nothing redeeming here.

Jennifer Maldonado
Jennifer Maldonado is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and health content. Read more