Strip-testing my diet drink

Sonic recently came to our town, and that means comfort drink of comfort drinks, the strawberry limeade. You simply haven’t lived unless you’ve had one. Two weeks ago I hesitantly inquired through the call box beside my car whether they could do a diet strawberry limeade, and they said yes! And I swear I couldn’t even tell the difference. No bg spike. It was lovely.

Last week, I went to repeat the quest, and within a few minutes I was rocketing toward 200. I was already home when I realized that the drink must have been regular.

So, there I was today (this is a weekly deal that the kids and I have), and I asked again whether the drink could be diet, which they affirmed. Just to be on the insane side, I said, “Wonderful, because if it is not, my blood sugar could not handle it!” When they delivered it to the car, they assured me that it was diet. While there, I wondered if there was a simple way to verify the sugar content with my meter, but since I’m using the Contour Next EZ, I had my doubts. So I private messaged Eric, but there the limeade was sitting in all of its siren glory, and I couldn’t resist. I had 3 sips on the way home. Within minutes I was spiking over 155 with double arrows up (picture only shows 135, because that’s when I intervened, but it kept on climbing).

Tips on how to manage a situation like this (other than not ordering the drink)? Are there specific meters that might work well for this?


Diet Cherry Limeade from Sonic is my favorite.

When they hand me the drink reaffirm “This is diet correct? Because I’m diabetic”

Most of the time they say "Yes absolutely"
Every once in a while i get "hmmmm not sure, let me make it again to be sure"
Once I got “No this isn’t diet. We will make it again” :joy:


I was pretty sure Eric has a long post with testing and everything on this.
In any event, I just used an older OneTouch UltraSmart. This is a good “throw away” meter with the serial numbers filed off.

We don’t have any soda in the house but I tested it:
100% Apple Juice. 28 carbs per 8 ounces. BG reading of 595.
Sugar free lemonade. No carbs. Water and lemon juice. (My favorite!!!). BG reading of 100.

It should work on regular and diet soda?

If using your regular meter, pick the “control” option like you were using the control solution. This will avoid the BG reading from going into your history and mixing with your real BG. Different meters do this differently but most should have the option. On the OneTouch UltraSmart, after putting the strip in the meter but before adding the blood to the strip, press the UP arrow to toggle to the control selection.


I’m really glad to hear you say this, @mikep. I had my doubts about mentioning blood sugar, but honestly, it completely ruins my day if they get it wrong, and puts us at risk, so I do think that’s the right way to go.

@Eric, would you mind sharing with the wider world what you shared with me? It was so good!


No input, as I can’t do diet drinks, but I am SO sorry this happened again! Scary to think people won’t take this seriously (I’ve heard so many stories…).

1 Like

This can be done with only some meters.

The Contour is a very smart meter. If you try to test a drink straight with no blood, it will say, “Hey, that’s not blood!” and give you an E20 error.

Sometimes it will return a Hi reading, but only if you mix your blood with the drink in just the right amount. If you put the drink on your finger, and then poke your finger, and only if the drink and blood are mixed in just the right amounts, it will work. But it is not reliable. If you have too much drink and your blood becomes runny, it will error E20 on you.

But in any case, the Contour is not a good meter to use for this because you have to use blood in addition to the drink.

There was a post I made for a cool person here because she had to get approval for an insulin, and I was showing how to get bad meter readings. That was tricky because straight Coke or sugar sodas did not work. I had to find a good liquid to use that would trick the meter!

So, while you can do it with many “dumber” meters, you can’t get reliable answers with the Contour meter on whether or not a drink is sugar or not. (I guess that is why I have been recommending the Contour meter, it’s really a darn good meter, too good to be fooled!)

But fear not, it is easier to test a sugar drink on many other meters.

The ReliOn is easy to use. It will pop a 300 for you, straight from the drink. No blood mix needed!

Same for FreeStyle.

In this situation, I would not count on the Contour as being a meter you would want to use for this. Go with ReliOn or FreeStyle :wink:

In all cases, don’t soak the test strip in the drink. That will cause most to error-out. Just touch your finger to the drink, and then your finger to the strip!

My test lab in action:

Here is a suggestion, kind of a different way of doing it. Order 2 drinks, the same type, but specify that you want one diet, and one non-diet. That emphasizes it. When they bring them, say “Which is the diet?” and this again emphasizes that one should be diet, and one is not.

Then you can also taste them both to see which is diet. When you compare them both, picking out a diet drink is much easier than trying to do it with no comparison.

I have done this at places that are notorious for screwing up the order. It is just a trick that helps emphasize the diet versus non-diet.

Another way is to ask, when they bring it, “Is this diet or non-diet?

Do not ask, “Is this diet?” They will just say yes.

Ask in such a way that forces them to say what it is, instead of just a yes or no! That makes them recall what you ordered, and whether they brought you the right thing.

Here are some other tricks:

  • Watching them pour it / mix it / make it.

  • Ordering the drink in a can or bottle if it is available that way so you can be sure.

  • When on an airplane, ask for the whole can of soda. That helps make sure you got the right one!

  • What I frequently do is bring my own drink in. :wink:


I don’t mess with my meter but instead use these. Worth it. The tip goes from light aqua to chocolate brown in 30 seconds when dipped in sugary drinks.


Yep me too - use diastix - it’s fast and they don’t cost that much - it also works for starch if you put a little in your mouth and get the saliva mixed in - the amylase in your saliva converts it to sugar (maltose) which you can test with the diastix - it’s good for testing Chinese / Thai / Indian foods to see how much sugar they really have in them


That’s an interesting idea I never would have thought of!

1 Like

I totally think you should be upfront about it! Most people are really supportive AND understanding about the diabetes thing if it comes up out in public. We definitely asked, and EH always gets his cocktails prepared “skinny” or with no added sugar.

Also, I can taste the difference in diet versus regular, because I despise diet soda – and it comes in handy sometimes when we think EH has had a drink made with regular soda. Do your kids get diet? Are they old enough to taste the difference?

They offer a diet version, no harm in getting what you ordered. It’s pennies out of their revenue to remake the soda and they like having you as a customer (I assume you are a polite and kind person). I’m gluten free, and have learned the hard way that sometimes people get distracted and forget when preparing food and drinks. Honestly, they feel worse when I don’t catch it! There’s a server at a local restaurant who is now very diligent about double checking that orders are prepared gluten-free – not because I was terribly upset about it, I wasn’t really, but because she felt really bad that 3/4 of the way through my macaroni and cheese, I realized that it wasn’t the gluten-free version and asked her about it. So now she always remembers us and we have a good laugh about it.

Ask away! And I’m glad maybe EH can try a diet cherry limeade next time we pass a Sonic!


Have you tried the strawberry? The cherry is over the moon sweet. But it was always my mom’s favorite too.

^^^^^This. A million times. This is right on.

I am so glad you posted this. I will be ordering these post haste! Thanks!


Or better yet, a strawberry limeade!
Kiddos can’t help me yet. They’re still drinking white milk. I usually would spot a diet drink anywhere, but these are really really hard to distinguish. I do like Eric’s idea of testing side by side, though. It also increases the chances of getting at least one diet drink.


mremmers, this is a great tip! iI am ordering some too.

I am so glad you shared this, @Robellengold – Chinese/Thai/ Indian sauces can be so challenging. We will have diastix in our pocket next time we try one such place.

1 Like

Sounds rad, so I went over to Amazon to check it out! And I noticed this:

Anyone else see the humor?


I bought a protection plan for the user of the goods. It cost me a lot more than that though :slight_smile:


Dude, you are the protection plan for the user of those goods. Lucky user, if you ask me. :blush:


could you explain this a little more. i am going out for thai food in 2 weeks, and i downloaded their menu to see if there was anything i could eat without using up a vial of Novolog, but everything was made with Palm Sugar. its an authentic thai place, not an “americanized” one.

SOS. look fwd to hearing back from you,

1 Like

Hi - yes - the sticks detect most sugar in the food the same as when they are used to test your pee - the darker the more sugar - palm sugar is mainly sucrose I thought and glucose so even though it’s got a low gi it will still show up
The putting some of the sauce it in your mouth bit is just To help figure out how much starch like flour or cornstarch is added to sauces as when you put some in your mouth and wait a couple of minutes it will change into maltose and the diastix will be able to detect that - a lot of restaurants add lots of flour to Thai dishes as well
If you stick a diastix in a soft drink you suspect it’s not diet then it will change color instantly
Diastix won’t differentiate GI levels - but if it’s a sugar or not and all sugars in my experience absorb quickly


so if i were to saturate the stick in the food’s sauce, i would be able to tell how much sucrose is in it? basically, i want to know how much to bolus for a typical Thai dinner.

I’ll do a lot of things for my D, but I just don’t want to put pee sticks in my food. :face_vomiting:

Just messing with you DM.

1 Like

As others have mentioned, I carry a tube of Diastix for this purpose. If it’s diet, the colour won’t change. If it’s not diet, the colour will change to brown or darker. The result is nearly instantaneous. You don’t have to wait the 15 seconds it advises, since you’re not wanting an accurate reading of how much glucose is in the drink, you just want a yes/no as to whether there’s sugar in there.

1 Like