You can’t really beat a milkshake. I mean, what’s not to love? It’s a dessert and drink all rolled into one. I bet you’re even thinking about drinking one right now. Feeling that cool, sweet mixture trickle down your throat is a sensation like no other. Can you really say you had a good summer if you haven’t had a milkshake or two? (That isn’t to say you can’t drink them any other time of year).
Sadly, though, we might have to start thinking twice before necking the delectable delight in the future. You see, one glass alone can have some concerning effects on your body. And, let’s be real here, no one is having just one glass – it’s much more like a drum. But, in some rather upsetting news, a new study published in the Laboratory Investigation journal has revealed that drinking a single full-fat milkshake causes unhealthy changes to your blood vessels and your red blood cells.
The research, which involved 10 healthy men drinking a 1,000 calorie milkshake made up of whole milk, whipped cream and ice cream, discovered that the men’s blood vessels were less able to dilate (loosen up or widen) after consuming the drink, making it difficult for blood to pass around the body properly.
It was also found that some of the subject’s red blood cells had changed shape, becoming “spiky” instead of their usual round and smooth texture. This happens “after consumption of a high-fat meal,” and can impact the flow of blood, according to professor Julia Brittain, a cell biology and anatomy expert at Augusta University’s Medical College of Georgia.
Also according to Brittain, if you’re generally healthy, this temporary change to blood vessels and blood cells isn’t the end of the world because it can correct itself fairly quickly: “Your body can usually handle this if you don’t do it again at the next meal and the next and the next,” she explained.
The problems arise when you start drinking high-fat milkshake after high-fat milkshake – or any other equally fatty meal over and over again, like French fries. But, as the science publication Live Science points out, this study is incredibly small and it only has a pool of male results to look at. More diverse studies are needed to investigate the theory further.
Don’t worry, though, you don’t need to banish milkshakes from your life completely after reading this. If you opt for a lower fat version of the good stuff, there can actually be some health benefits. The likes of chocolate milk have actually been recommended as a great post-workout snack by experts.
Exercise physiologist Chris Jordan suggested that drinking a glass of low-fat chocolate milk after a session at the gym is a great option for exercise enthusiasts, as “it tastes good and it requires no effort. It’s not a fancy snack or supplement. It’s simple, cheap, and effective.”
Alternatively, switching to non-dairy milk (oat/almond/hazelnut milk) and non-dairy ice cream can be just as tasty. Throw some Oreos in there (which are 100 percent vegan, by the way) and you won’t even remember what the fuss was about.