McDonald's Shamrock Shake Returns: Guess How Many Big Macs It Takes To Equal The Calories Of One Shake

Nathan Francis

The Shamrock Shake is back, but if you want to enjoy the seasonal treat you might want to plan ahead and start cutting calories now.

The shake has started to make its return to McDonald's locations across the United States and Canada, a cause for joy among the fans of the minty shake. But it's also gaining attention for its giant caloric content, with some amazing stats about its (lack of) nutritional values.

The McDonald's Shamrock Shake was first introduced in 1970, and was known then as the St. Patrick's Day Shake. As Broward New Times food blogger Nicole Danna notes, it wasn't exactly majestic at its debut, but has since become a cult favorite.

"At first, it was nothing more than a depressing vanilla milk shake with a hint of lemon-lime sherbet. Then, in 1983, someone came up with the brilliant idea to add mint flavoring. The drink disappeared throughout the 1990s and 2000s, when the decision to carry the Shamrock Shake was put up for a vote by each region's manager. It became an official thing again in 2012."

According the the McDonald's website, the small version of the shake has 530 calories and 15 grams of fat. A medium has 660 calories and 19 grams of fat, while the large 22-ounce version has 820 calories and 23 grams of fat.

Though it packs a caloric punch, the Shamrock Shake isn't the worst fast food offender. Mary Hartley, registered dietitian and online nutritionist at AskMaryRD, told Shape that the 16-ounce Dairy Queen Blizzard is far worse at 1,170 calories and 152 grams of sugar.

But the Shamrock Shake is still pretty bad, she says.

"The 82 grams of sugar is the worst. It's like eating around six slices of bread all at once. The saturated fat is also high, at 40 percent of the daily limit (the goal is 10 percent). On the other hand, it is loaded with calcium (460 milligrams percent)."

Those who aren't scared off by the calories can have a bit of help finding out where to get a McDonald's Shamrock Shake. The site tracks which McDonald's locations has the seasonal treat, along with reviews and a countdown to St. Patrick's Day.

[Image via Mighty Sweet]