Iced tea, lemonade, smoothies, slushes, milkshakes — cold drinks and guilty-pleasure frozen treats are at the top of everyone's most-craved list this time of year. You know it, and fast-food companies do too.
USA Today recently reported that beverages are the industry's most profitable menu item, so it should come as no surprise that this summer the big-name chains unveiled a host of new seasonal sips. Hot among this new wave of drinks are smoothies, lemonades, and milkshakes. Indeed, according to Nation's Restaurant News, the use of the word "smoothie" on fast-food restaurant menus increased by 31.7 percent over the last four years, and "lemonade" rose a not insignificant 13 percent ("milk shake" remained more or less consistent).
As can be expected given the country's current focus on all things healthy, several chains are going down the wellness-focused route. Wendy's, for example, released a Wild Berry Iced Tea (140 calories in a large) made with freshly brewed iced tea and a purée of raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries (and yes, a little sugar). Just this spring, smoothie chain Jamba Juice debuted three new flavors that feature health-promoting ingredients like beets, carrots, leafy greens, and spirulina. McDonald's even got in on the fruit smoothie game last year with their line of Real Fruit Smoothies, to which they are adding a Mango-Pineapple variety this July.
Of course, sharing the menu with these smoothies is McDonald's new summer treat, the not-so-nutritious Frozen Strawberry Lemonade. From a soda-flavored slush at Dunkin' Donuts to a colossally caloric cake and ice cream shake at Cold Stone Creamery (1,140 calories in a small!), we've rounded up the biggest bad-for-you drinks on fast-food chains' summer menus.