How to Tell if That Soda is Really Diet


In my last post, I talked about an occurrence common for diabetics: I was served a soda, and I couldn’t tell if it was really diet, as the bartender claimed.

On that night, I asked a friend to taste-test for me, and eventually came to the conclusion that the soda was actually sugared. But even when the soda is really diet, I inevitably struggle with the question of, “Is it really diet?” every time I get a soda.

People, I am about to change your life. A reader wrote in response to my last post– an Aussie with the handle Catapult.

Catapult has figured out the answer to the perennial, “Is it really diet?” question: test the soda on a blood glucose meter.

People. I took a drop of Coke on my pinky, and pressed it against my glucose meter strip. Real soda comes up as “Hi.” Diet, on the other hand, is “Lo.”

Incredible. So genius and so obvious in retrospect, but I never thought to do that. Notably, I have not exhaustively tested this, and I can imagine all sorts of situations in which real sweeteners aren’t registered, or in which fake sweeteners give a falsely high result. And, as with many medical tests, better to err on the safe side and assume all positives are true positives but all negatives are potentially false negatives.

But, as a simple sanity check, it’s brilliant. And it will save my husband lots of soda testing.

Thanks, Catapult! You absolutely rock!

It’s not me– it’s my cola!

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Farmer JonJim HealthyLATRob WoolfsonCami Recent comment authors
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Farmer Jon
Farmer Jon

Good answer, Jim!

Jim Healthy

Why would you drink soda — even diet soda — if you have diabetes?


If a drink is sweetened with Splenda, it will test high as well. But this is a great tip for aspartame sweetened drinks!

Rob Woolfson

This is awesome.  What a brilliant idea


When I was newly diagnosed back in the 80’s, they used to make a product called Tez Tape that was used to check Ketones in your Urine. It went off the market, and I’m so glad to read your post, I’ll for sure be giving it a try! 

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