What’s Really In Chick-fil-A’s Peppermint Chocolate Chip Milkshake?

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend! I know we did in the Buschel family! Caden had his first sleepover with Grandma and Grandpa and Josh and I got to have a weekend staycation to celebrate our anniversary. We both ate lots of yummy food and Caden had a successful sleepover with my parents. I call that a win-win.

Is anyone else getting excited for Christmas? There are decorations going up everywhere and many restaurants around town are spicing up their menu’s with holiday options. Drive by any fast food joint with a drive thru, McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, Wendy’s, or Burger King, and you will see or will be seeing soon holiday cheer spread on the windows.

Let me just clarify that I am not directly picking on Chick-fil-A, this just happened to be the shake that sparked the topic of this post.  Chicken sandwiches aren’t really my thing. Plus if I am going to eat one I would prefer to make it at home. Anyway…I recently saw that their Peppermint Chocolate Chip Shake is now available for the holiday season. To be completely honest I have never had one. So I can’t comment on the taste.

We can all agree that nobody gets a dessert at a fast food restaurant in order to improve their health, but before you indulge in this drink I think it is important to know exactly what you are getting.

What's Really In Chick-fil-A's Peppermint Chocolate Chip Shake

Yes you did read that correctly. 70 ingredients! 

INGREDIENTS: Icedream (whole milk, sugar, nonfat dry milk, cream, corn syrup, natural and artificial flavors, dried whole eggs, cornstarch, mono and diglycerides, disodium phosphate, cellulose gum, carrageenan, sodium phosphate, guar gum, sodium citrate, annatto and caramel colors, artificial color [Yellow 5 & 6]), milkshake base (whole milk, sugar, cream, whey powder (milk), nonfat dry milk, artificial flavor, disodium phosphate, mono and diglycerides, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, guar gum, cellulose gum, carrageenan), peppermint syrup (water, high fructose corn syrup, natural flavors, citric acid, sodium benzoate [to protect taste], pectin, cellulose gum, guar gum, red # 40), red & white dark chocolate peppermint pieces (peppermint twist [sugar, corn syrup, natural peppermint oil, artificial color {red #3, Red #40, Blue #1}], confectionery coating [sugar, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil {palm kernel, coconut, palm}, cocoa {may be processed with alkali}, whey {milk}, soy lecithin as an emulsifier, vanilla], powdered sugar [sugar, corn starch], corn starch, silicon dioxide), whipped cream (cream, milk, sugar, sorbitol, nonfat milk solids, artificial flavor, mono and diglycerides, carrageenan, polysorbate 80, mixed tocopherols (vitamin E) to protect flavor, propellant: nitrous oxide), cherry.

I lost count so it is probably more but there are at least 70. Does anyone else feel that is extremely high for a dessert?

If you noticed several of the words in the ingredients list are bolded. These are ingredients I like to avoid when purchasing foods for my family and I will tell you why.

Carrageenan is a seaweed derivative used to thicken, stabilize, and make foods or products gelatinous. It has zero nutritional value and is purely used to hold things together. Research funded by the National Institutes of Health raises serious concerns about harmful effects of carrageenan as an inflammatory agent on the human gastrointestinal tract. According to Dr. Joanne Tobacman of University of Illinois School of Medicine, ”Carrageenan predictably causes inflammation, which can lead to ulcerations and bleeding.” Dr. Tobacman even found in her research with lab animals that carrageenan can be linked to gastrointestinal cancer.  Individuals suffering from chronic gastrointestinal symptoms have reported that their symptoms disappeared when they cut carrageenan out of their diets.

Red #40 and Sodium Benzoate have together been linked to hyperactive in children. While adults have also noted symptoms from these ingredients as well children are more likely to be effected.  According to a study by England’s Food Standards Agency some reactions that were demonstrated included temper tantrums, hyperactivity, aggressive behavior, uncontrollable crying and screaming, kicking, nervousness, dizziness, inability to concentrate and sit still. Additionally you may get frequent headaches or an upset stomach . Often when Red 40 is eliminated from the child’s diet a remarkable change is noticed immediately.

Now the nutrition information listed is for a large shake, but the small isn’t any better. You are still looking at 660 calories and 89 grams of sugar. Yikes!

Let’s compare several food items from the Chick-fil-A menu with the large shake.

  • 930 Calories: 2 Chicken Sandwiches with BBQ Sauce
  • 31 g Fat: 2 Small Waffle Fries
  • 149 g Carbs:  3 Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Biscuits
  • 16 g Protein: 8 Multigrain Oatmeals with Toppings
  • 127 g Sugar: 3.5 Small Coca-Colas

How crazy is that?

As a consumer and if you are a parent it is important to know exactly what you are feeding yourself and your family. I encourage you to check out the sources that I referenced in this post.

It is up to us to be our own health advocates. Fast food chains for the most part, no matter how loved they are or what values they were built on are still businesses, and at the end of day they are going to look for the fastest and cheapest ways to make a great tasting product.

Additional Sources: Chick-fil-A, BBC



  1. Oh my goodness! I knew these things weren’t “good” for you, but it is really disgusting when you see it all broken down like that! I’m sure it applies to the McDonald’s Egg Nog shake too. I’d rather make a “treat” at home anyway!

    • I know I was shocked too when I saw all the ingredients. Treats at home are the way to go. I tried to go to McDonalds website because I was curious what was in that shake but they don’t seem to have it listed, I am sure it is not any better.

  2. This just reminded me why I DON”T eat fastfood. It’s crazy to see the break down. Thanks for posting.

  3. Homemade treats are the way to go!! Then you can control the number of ingredients and the quality of ingredients yourself.

  4. Ugh, awful. Just awful. This makes me so thankful that my Mom raised us not to eat fast food. I remember as a little girl telling my friends that it was fake food. And this ingredient list certainly proves that!

  5. I read an article recently that Subway’s “fresh baked bread” contains 40 ingredients. FORTY!!! That was shocking to me. My husband loves to bake bread on the weekends….and it only takes 5 ingredients!

  6. Sitting at a chik fila with a peppermint shake(yes in march)! I live for these and peach shakes! Thanks for ruining it for me

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