Published: 18:53 EST, 21 September 2014 | Updated: 02:10 EST, 22 September 2014
The new Krispy Kreme milkshake is packed with calories
Not even the most deluded person would pop into a Krispy Kreme doughnut and coffee bar for a healthy meal. After all, the chain, which has become a fixture on the British High Street in just a few sticky years, is famed for its indulgent sugary treats.
But the calorie content of its latest range might cause even Homer Simpson — the world's most famous doughnut lover — to raise an eyebrow. It has been revealed that Krispy Kreme's new 'doughnut-inspired' milkshakes contain up to 612 calories — nearly as much as a roast chicken meal or a McDonald's cheeseburger with fries.
Add a doughnut — perhaps with a caramel crunch or vanilla cappuccino topping — and your morning 'snack' will give you a staggering 1,000 calories. That's half the calories that a woman needs in one day and 40 per cent of those recommended for a man.
Even without the doughnut, the shake is more than a quarter of a woman's daily recommended calorie intake. Short of injecting yourself with glucose, there can't be many quicker ways to pile on the pounds.
Krispy Kreme's addition to the highly calorific milkshake market is just the tip of the iceberg. Everywhere you look, multinational coffee chains and takeaway outlets are plying us with belly-busting shakes, gut-bulging smoothies and waist-expanding frappuccinos.
So just how bad for us are these shakes? And how on earth did the big food companies persuade so many adults to consume what used to be drinks for children?
Krispy Kreme was created in 1937 and arrived in the UK from America in 2003, when it opened an outlet in Harrods. Setting up stall in Britain's poshest shop was a statement of intent.
The company is coy about its ingredients and each item's nutritional content
The company wanted to change the image of the doughnut from a cheap and cheerful treat to something more luxurious, expensive and profitable.
In the past 11 years, it has largely succeeded. Today, the company, sells 60 million doughnuts a year in the UK — 165,000 every day.
The company attracts the sort of loyalty normally reserved for pop stars and iPhones. When a new store opened in Cardiff in 2011, 1,000 people queued overnight.
With this kind of devoted fanbase, the arrival of yet more calorific treats was inevitable.
And they sure are fattening. Krispy Kreme's strawberries-and-cream shake — a blend of fruit juice, sugar, cream and shortbread biscuit — contains that staggering figure: 612 calories.
The chocolate-and-honeycomb-topped Caramel Crunch has 508 calories, while the Chocolate Dream shake — cream, cocoa powder and chocolate flakes — has 555. The closest it comes to a 'healthy' shake is its 'Coffee Kreme', made with espresso, chai tea and cream. But that is still packed with 446 calories.
The company is coy about its ingredients and each item's nutritional content.
By law it doesn't have to display them online or on the cups, but the berry-and-cream version of the shake on sale in America, with a similar calorie count, contains 24g of saturated fat and 71g — that's 17 teaspoons — of sugar.
It's difficult to imagine who this 'coronary in a cup' is aimed at. And if a packet of crisps with 180 calories is classed as 'junk' food, what on earth do we call these drinks? Rubbish-tip treats?
Perhaps it's unfair to pick on Krispy Kreme. Others are just as guilty. Starbucks sells a gigantic white chocolate mocha coffee with whipped cream containing 613 calories.
The fashion for childish food is everywhere
At McDonald's, the large caramel iced frappe — made with skimmed milk — has 460 calories, while the Caffe Nero Caramellatte has 485 calories.
The companies selling these sugary, fatty beverages insist they are only offering consumers a choice. Judith Denby, chief marketing officer at Krispy Kreme UK, said: 'Krispy Kreme offers a range of drink options. Milkshakes range in calories from 446kcals to 612kcals, making them occasional indulgent treats rather than an everyday drink.'
But what alarms experts is the way the body reacts to calories in liquid form compared to those found in solid food.
Dr Sarah Schenker, spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association, says: 'You are less likely to feel as satisfied with liquid calories. And because it's in liquid form, your blood sugar levels can go higher more quickly — then drop again. That may leave you feeling hungry soon afterwards.'
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Add a doughnut to the milkshake — perhaps with a caramel crunch or vanilla cappuccino topping — and your morning 'snack' will give you a staggering 1,000 calories
What also concerns dietitians is the way some of these drinks are marketed as treats to be consumed between meals.
Not many customers go into a Krispy Kreme store for a square meal at lunch. 'If you had a roast chicken meal or burger with fries, you would hopefully stop what you are doing, sit down and concentrate on eating it,' Dr Schenker says.
'But these drinks are almost mindless eating and snacking. Two hours after you have one you may be ready for a roast dinner.' The arrival of the mega-calorie milkshake doesn't just reflect the desire of big businesses to flog us sugar and fat in ever more creative ways.
With more calories than a burger and chips, the new Krispy Kreme milkshake takes junk food to a new level
It also highlights the creeping infantilism of our diet.
This fashion for childish food is everywhere. You see it in the rise of the sugary 'doughnut-flavoured' milkshake and the popularity of doughnuts themselves.
You see it in our enthusiasm for iced frappuccinos and hot chocolate with whipped cream in coffee bars. You see it in the extraordinary popularity of Haribo sweets among adults.
It contains 17 teaspoons of sugar
One of Marks & Spencer's biggest successes in recent years had been the Percy Pig sweet. 'Percy' now appears on dozens of products bought by adults.
Britain has yet to reach the obesity levels of America. But with this fashion for children's drinks and food among adults, it won't be long before we are turned into a nation of blubbery Homer Simpsons.
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