Is this Diet or Regular Soda?

I got served a “sugar-bomb” at a restaurant about a month ago, believing I had Diet Dr Pepper, when in fact, it was regular Dr. Pepper. My nose was stuffed up, and I couldn’t taste the difference.

I’m sure this happens to everyone once and a while.

I found I can use a brix refractometer (about $14 on ebay) to reliably test for any type of sugar (fructose, sucrose, dextrose, glucose, lactose, …) in a drink with this device.

I’ve tried using BG test strips, but this simply doesn’t produce reliable results.

I just wanted to share this with my fellow T1D sufferers.
If anyone else has other “tricks” to detect non-diet drinks, I would love to hear about them.

Check it out…

hi Jess, won’t sucrose equivalents such as aspartame and sorbitol give you readings on the brix scale? is this really a carb tester? when making beer I use the difference between the starting SG and ending SG after fermentation to determine alcohol content… the individual reading is distorted by many factors, sugar is just one of them

my simple trick? I got used to seltzer. if it tastes like anything, it means they messed up my order. “unsweet tea” is another, any detection of sweet is a wrong order. then I can add sugar or substitute if I want… I am pretty used to bitter drinks now anyway.

Try using a ketone test strip. Have a friend try the soda first. I am careful with the water dispensers on soda machines as I can accidentally get soda in my water cup which wouldn’t be good.

we have always had accurate readings by just using our glucometer. It reads like test strip testing fluid if it is diet.


So I just tested one packet of equal in about 2 oz of water (very high concentration). It caused about a 2% reading on the brix scale. Equal contains dextrose, so I’m thinking that is what caused the brix reading of 2% more than the aspartame.

Similar result with a splenda packet in 2oz of water. I got a reading of about 2% on the brix scale. Splenda (The yellow one) contains sucralose.

Most non-diet sodas I have tested have a brix value of around 15%, where the diet versions have a brix reading of almost 0%.

So, I still think this is an effective test at identifying non-diet soda.

Nice! Who’d a thunk! I learned something new today. Thank you

Thanks for the tip, good to know! I never really trust soda that comes out of a machine or soda gun in a restaurant. Only if I see it in the diet soda can.

I bought urinalysis test strips which test for glucose in the urine, for when we’re not sure. I just threw a couple in my son’s pump case, and you just dip it in the soda and wait the specified time. They are not too expensive and have saved us a few “sugar bombs” so far.

@cerrocc. I never liked the idea of adding copper sulfate (the Test strip reagent) to a soda then drinking it. I am sure it’s not a whole lot but…

Joe, I misspoke. I don’t actually dip the strip in the glass, I use the straw to place a drop of soda on the strip. Agree that it would be a negligible amount (and probably much less problematic than a cup full of sugar), but your point is a fair one.