They're hard to resist.

Every year, McDonald's adds the Shamrock Shake to its menu to entice mint lovers in search of something sweet. The rich vanilla shakes are swirled with the green goodness of minty syrup and topped with whipped cream.

It's hard not to indulge.

But how much sugar are you ingesting with that shake? McDonald's website nutritional info says it uses reduced fat vanilla ice cream and "whipped light cream" in its shakes, but reducing fat doesn't mean they're skipping the sugar.

According to McDonald's website, a small Shamrock Shake is 460 calories with 63 grams of sugar. A medium equals 560 calories with 78 grams of sugar and a large packs 800 calories with 113 grams of sugar.

How does that really add up?

We did some math and found that a large McDonald's Coke actually has less sugar (77 grams) than a medium Shamrock Shake (78 grams).

We also found that a serving of Haribo gummy bears (about 17 pieces) contains less than one-third the sugar (58 grams) you'll find in a small Shamrock Shake (63 grams).

Finally, we calculated that a large Shamrock Shake has more carbs (131 grams) than eating eight pieces of white Wonderbread (124 grams).

We're not telling you to avoid the delicious Shamrock Shake, especially since they only come once a year. We're just saying that you shouldn't be surprised if you start feeling the sugar's effects.

If you're really trying to combat the carbs but find yourself craving a Shamrock Shake (we don't blame you), here's a recipe from The Low Carb Dish to make your own mock version at home:


  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 cup unsweetened cashew or almond milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid Stevia (or comparable sweetener -- but be careful of artificial sweeteners!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2-3 drops green food coloring

Just pour all the ingredients into a blender and run it until you have a smooth shake.