The mega-calorific freakshake drink is causing body-conscious food and health commentators to freak out. It’s easy enough to understand their panic, but harder to truly empathise with concerns about the sugar-stuffed breakout star.
What’s a freakshake? Well, imagine a super-charged milkshake so stuffed full of sweets it thinks it’s a dessert. It’s an Australian invention: flavoured milk, ice cream, squirty cream, cake, chocolate bits, sugary confectionery, marshmallows, sprinkles, sticky sauce… If it’s sweet, it can go in, basically.
Not surprisingly, health campaigners have clutched their pearls in horror at the Antipodean monstrosity, which made its sickly way from Canberra last year, landing with a splat in Newcastle and then oozing across the rest of the nation into cafés and ice cream parlours.
One food writer for a national newspaper described the freakshake as “revolting… food for the sad”. Me, I say, don’t worry so much about it. Sure, this drink/dessert hybrid looks disgusting – like something the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters would pick out of his nose – and is likely to leave its consumer(s) sick to the stomach and jam-packed with self-loathing. But it’s little more than fly-by-night fodder for lovers of Instagram, which, at the time of writing, threw up just over 24,000 results for #freakshake.
It’s not fare to be taken seriously. The name’s one hint; the ingredients are another. The whole purpose of the freakshake seems less like providing sustenance and more like waving a V-sign at clean eating, the paleo diet and all those similar health movements.
The point is: we don’t have to drink/eat the nightmarish thing. We can throw two fingers back at it and walk away. Indeed, we should. As the UK rides a gooey wave of obesity, fretting about the faddish freakshake could distract from the far more solemn, fundamental issues surrounding the foods consumers are putting into their increasingly large bodies.