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From Maryland, USA:

We were reading about testing allegedly sugar-free drinks in restaurants and would like to try it ourselves. Many times we get drinks that either aren't marked or the waiter/waitress mixes them up or forgets which is which. So, what do we do, if you don't mind sharing?


My advice is to be very leery of "diet" (sugarfree) beverages when eating out; as you are already aware, it's way too easy for you to accidentally get served sugar versions of soda pop. A few years ago, we found that about 20% of the time, beverages that were allegedly sugar-free tested positive for sugar with a simple dipstick test.

What to do?

  1. Order water (it's cheaper, too) or lemonade or coffee or tea (and your own choice of sweetener).
  2. Bring your own can of diet soda pop. The stuff in labeled cans or labeled plastic bottles is fresh from the factory, and there's no chance of a goof.
  3. Don't believe anyone who says they can tell sugarfree beverages apart from sugar-containing beverages: I can't reliably tell them apart, especially when made from syrup at a soda fountain, and if I can't, I won't trust anyone else's claim that they can!
  4. Dip a dipstick that can measure sugar into the unknown liquid. If it contains sugar, the strip will change color. Test the strips at home with your favorite diet sugar-free pop and the sugar-containing version of the same beverage so you know the difference. (I loved the TesTape yellow paper tape strips from Lilly that turned green when dipped into any sugar-containing liquid. Although they were designed for urine, they work just great with soda pop!)


Original posting 22 Mar 1998
Posted to Meal Planning, Food and Diet


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