Using Urine test Strips to Check Diet Soda


One of the more difficult aspects of controlling diet when one is out in the world at meal times is finding something to drink. Obviously, beverages such as fruit juices are out of the question due to their high sugar content and fairly high glycemic index. Other kinds of prepared drinks such as coffee or tea can also present problems due to caffeine content and/or the normal habit of adding sweetners or lightners. Milk is also a problem due to its fat and sugar content unless it is planned into the total nutrient count of the meal. (And if one happens to be lactose intolerant, even bigger problems). Thus, diet sodas have found great popularity among diabetics when eating away from home

A trick which I learned a long time ago from the writings of Barbara Toohey and June Bierman is to always test the diet soda you have been served to insure that it is really what you think it is. During my travels, I have been served, on numerous occaissions, sugar sweetened soda which was represented to be Diet. I have been served Diet soda when Regular was specified (This could be a disaster if you are trying to treat a hypoglycemic reaction), and I have been served sugar sweetened Sprite from a pitcher in a restaurant that the waiter thought contained water. I have been served regular soda from a tap which although currently connected to the correct stuff was accidentally connected to the wrong tank a little before I got to the restaurant and so was serving regular soda due to the syrup remaining in the plumbing!

I have, in fact, seen almost every trick that one can play with beverage and sweetner combinations. The only way I knew that any of these had occurred was the fact that I always tested the stuff they served me before I drank it. I personally recommend that any diabetic who orders any beverage other than water consistantly test the beverages they are served. Here's how I do it.

While Urine test strips and test tapes are not recommended for use in controlling your blood sugar, they can be used very effectively for testing beverages. All you have to do is to dip the test strip into a sample of the beverage momentarily and watch the color for about a minute. If the strip changes color strongly, you can be sure that you have a sugar sweetened beverage on your hands. If it does not change color at all, you may assume that there are no appreciable amounts of simple sugars present. If the color changes weakly, you are dealing with a system which has a questionable history of isolation between the diet and regular product - USE CARE!

While it was still available, I prefered Lilly TESTAPE for this purpose. It came in a handy pocket dispenser, and one could use a small strip of the tape to do the testing and could therefore get a couple of hundred tests out of it. When they discontinued this product, I shifted to Miles DIASTICKS. This product, while more expensive, did the same job. I would cut them down to a shorter length and then carry them in my shirt pocket in a recycled ACCUCHECK EASY test strip cannister. Very simple, and very effective. Try it. You'll be amazed at what you see.

Several months ago, I quit using aspartame sweetened beverages completely. I have personally found that my own health improved as a direct result of this act. If you personally feel that you wish to drink nutrasweet sweetened beverages, I suggest that you test ALL beverages that did not come directly from a fresh container in your presence. I would also suggest you take the same challenge that I did, which is to stop consuming aspartame in any form for 30 days and evaluate your own response to the change. You may find that you prefer to live without this sweetner.

Last updated on 29 July 1996


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