Monday, March 7, 2011

"Sugar Free"... Not.

There is a little gas station in town that the kids used to walk to sometimes after school. They serve Italian sodas there, all creamy and delicious with whipped cream on top. It's a yummy summertime treat that I learned about from a friend. "They have sugar free Italian sodas," she said, "and they are so good, you won't believe they are sugar free! They use the GOOD kind of syrup!"

So off I went, some months ago, to the little gas station that has a makeshift drive thru window for coffees and sodas. "Do you have sugar free Italian sodas?" I asked. "Oh yes!" said the lady in the window. "We have ten flavors, too! We have sugar free strawberry, sugar free lime, sugar free raspberry..." on and on she went. I got myself a sugar free raspberry Italian cream soda. I watched carefully when she grabbed the bottle of syrup... sure enough, "sugar free." A bit of half and half went in, and I asked for no whipped cream. It was delicious! A cool, refreshing fruity treat for only the calories of a few spoons of half and half. I was hooked.

This became my go-to "dessert" or special treat a couple times a month. Even on Medifast, I could save up my condiments and fats and have a sugar free Italian soda. Which is what I planned to do today. I told my daughter we were going for a special treat after school. Off we went for our sodas... for the first time in months. When we got there, we decided to go inside to order because my little one just couldn't decide which flavor she wanted. At the counter, I ordered a sugar free raspberry soda for me, and a strawberry soda with whipped cream for her. And then, to my surprise, I watched the lady walk over to the soda fountain and fill our cups with SPRITE! What??? Sprite???? Not even DIET SPRITE??? I walked over. "Excuse me," I said, "Is that Sprite??" She confirmed. I said "but I ordered a SUGAR FREE Italian soda." And she said, "Well, the raspberry SYRUP we add is sugar free..." Um, what about a diabetic? There is a LOT of sugar in a 20-ounce cup of Sprite! "You don't use soda water to make the Italian sodas??" "Nope," she said. "Sprite." I cancelled my soda. I was sad.

I guess I never expected that. I mean, I have watched people make Italian sodas, and have made them myself at home: plain soda water (which has NO sugar and NO calories), flavored syrup, ice, and sometimes half & half. That's it. I never heard of making one with Sprite. But I guess that explains why those "sugar free" sodas tasted so good.

22 comments:

Ginger Farnsworth said...

Amazing, isn't it? People just don't THINK about what they are doing? I don't wish ill on anyone, but it would certainly open that business' eyes if they were hit with a lawsuit over an adverse reaction to their *sugar free* product.

Something similar happened to me a few weeks ago. Hubby and I go out to dinner every other week or so at a local casino. Buffet dinner and a night of bingo. Well, I noticed the dessert case was sporting some very tasty looking *sugar free* desserts. So I tried a piece of the *sugar free* lemon cake. It was delicious. I tried like heck to locate the supplier online but to no avail. So I called the executive chef at the casino and inquired about their desserts and explained that I was having to keep a food journal for my doctor. He explained that the desserts are not *sugar free* - they are *no sugar added*. There is a big difference! I mentioned that to him at the time. Well, we went back a couple of weeks later and darned if they didn't still have those desserts labeled as *sugar free*.

We consumers really have to be on our toes!

Sarah Williams said...

Just wanted to stop by and say hi, I just recently started following your blog. I too am on a journey to losing weight and getting healthy and I have a blog. Looking for others going through the same journey for support. Sorry to hear bout your favorite drink! Yes sugar free soda tastes amazing, something I try to stay away from but sometimes I cave. Great job on your weight loss, your results are amazing!

Jane Cartelli said...

That makes me so angry. Not only could they cause a lethal reaction for a diabetic, they can kill people who do have severe physical allergies to sugar and corn syrup.
It is not easy to be super vigilant when we want to live normally but it beats killing ourselves when we can control the outcome by carefully insisting on knowing each and every ingredient and term used to describe it. No sugar added is bunk in most cases. Case in point: the vegan bakery I went to last week calls itself sugar free yet they add agave -which is sugar, just not cane sugar - and many people cannot have it.
Thank you for sharing your experience today.

Jane~
Keepingthepoundsoff.com

Taryl said...

You can make one sugar free, I promise :). When I was a barista we made Italian sodas with soda water (club soda) (the kind used to make Hansen sodas). Carbonation, but no flavor or sugar. The syrup was the only flavoring agent. It's completely sugar free and as far as I can tell that is the usual method of making Italian sodas, not with Sprite.

Christel said...

That's ridiculous! I make my own at home too. I get my syrups at the cash 'n carry for super cheap and they have ALL the flavors. Right now I am loving caramel soda and coconut soda.

Anonymous said...

You should call the board of health on them.

Cupcake Quandry said...

Man I'm glad that Second Cup makes it the good way. That's so dissapointing.

Mer and Mo said...

I craved a soda today, but filled it with 95% ice and well it just wasn't what I wanted and glad I didn't go searching for more. When you really expect that Sugar Free or Fat Free and don't get it you have to feel disappointed. Here's hoping you find something that is enjoyable in the future that is really Free in more ways then one!
Staying "MO"tivated

Julia Stambor said...

That kind of thing, unfortunately, isn´t only happening in bakeries and ice cream parlors. When I was, some years ago, required to eat a completely sugar free diet for some time for health reasons, I did take a look at the ingredients in the things I had in my pantry, and I was apalled at the number of things that had outright sugar, or something ending in "...ose", high up on the ingredient list. After all, who would look for sugar in *sausages" or *ham*? Nothing to say of the condiment drawer or the canned vegetables.Or the plain white yoghourt that I thought was a great choice until I saw it had at least a tablespoon full of sucrose per cup added. So, your experience isn´t exactly unusual. Shows again that one cannot be too watchful about what you eat. That the ingredient lists are, at least where I live, in such small print that I have at times taken a magnifying glass to shop, doesn´t make that any easier.
And it´s a great thing that you did draw the consequence from the faulty labelling. If people stopped buying food with unnecessary sugar in it, maybe Big Food would wake up and offer *real* sugar free food.

Missa said...

I am always a skeptic when I go out. Buyer's Remorse while eating-drinking out is such a pain in the can.

Cheers,
Missa
LosingEthel

Val N. said...

This post made me think of the Seinfeld episode with the fat free frozen yogurt!
Sorry you lost your treat--do they have club soda? Could they make it for you that way if you asked?

Ria said...

That is so aggravating -- what happened to plain old common sense! At least they could ask the customer whether they want regular or diet sprite . . .

Britt ♥ said...

It sucks how NOTHING is free. If it sounds/tastes too good to be true, it never is!

Lori said...

Oh man, that is such a bummer!! I hate it when that happens. You finally find a tasty little treat to give yourself and feel good about it when,BLAM, it wasn't so good after all.

Of course this might explain some of the dificulty you've had over the last few months. That sugar was still messing you up.

Sorry, girl!
Lori

Susan said...

That's a shame! I feel your pain, I had a similar thing happen last summer, I went to Starbucks and got a green tea latte, sure there was no sugar in it. It tasted so good... too good. So when I got home I did some research online and the base they use for it is full of sugar. I was very upset. I think it's ridiculous and sad that we have to be so vigilant when we try to eat or drink "out".

The Captain's Daughter said...

Shocking! And so it goes any time we venture outside of what we know is true and put our health and calorie-counts into someone else's hands!

I always thought Cherry Limeade at Sonic was low-calorie until I found out they are made with regular sprite. I assumed, like you did, that they used soda water. Being horribly sensitive (allergic) to splenda and nutrisweet, I cannot have diet sodas. So I skip all of that stuff to stick with my, "water with lemon, please!"

By the way... You know I follow your blog and find great comfort and inspiration here but I have to tell you I've been struggling with the numbers like you have (although not for the same reasons, and I am sorry you're not feeling well.) I was ranked #4 of all ladies at my YMCA for most calories burned in February - 25,318 for 28 days. And yet, I lost ZERO pounds! I know muscle weighs more than fat, I know I might have hit a plateau, I know my clothes fit better, I know I'm (almost) not cheating on my CLEAN program and I am grateful to be down 100 pounds since June 1st of last year. I know it takes times. I know all of this... Nevertheless, it's tough to see the numbers stall and to feel more hungry because of my workouts - and it's even harder not to binge because of it!

Any way, if you have thoughts to share on exercise-induced cravings or how to push through this plateau, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Lauren @ Lettuce Eat Cake said...

What a great lesson to never trust what you hear! It's generally my rule of thumb to assume the absolute worst of restaurant food until I hear otherwise. Thanks for the reminder!

Shan said...

Geez! That's not right! It's sad that we have to be so vigilant these days - but with so many health claims swirling around, it's not surprising to me at all that folks really haven't a clue where the truth lies.

Kelly said...

Same thing at Sonic. The sugar free slushes are NOT sugar free. The flavoring they add is sugar free but the slushie base syrup is NOT sugar free. At least that's the way it was last year.

Dawn said...

Wow - the only good thing about this is that you found out BEFORE you drank it not after.
It would have been terrible to have had it and then realised how full of sugar it was.
My kids always have diet sodas and I would have been very cross if I thought they were having sugar free and it wasn't. You cannot be tooo careful when out
Dawn

New Outlook Fitness said...

Sugar free is evil. I never let any artifical sweetner near my body, it's just not worth it.

Love your journey by the way! well done!

beerab said...

Oh that's just WRONG! I'd have been pretty mad if I were you!

Seriously it's NOT sugar free if you put sprite in it!