The Real Thing

When I was first diagnosed, the only diet soda available was Diet Coke. And even though my mom had worked for Coca-Cola for many years.. I was not a fan of their diet option in the beginning.  I was an avid fan of the real Coke – you know, the ‘iced cold glass bottles on a hot Texas day’ kind. Not much could beat that.  And then in the blink of an eye, I was told (in my best soup nazi voice) “No Coke for you!”

So I opted to stop drinking sodas all together for awhile.  I also was (still am) not a fan of unsweet tea. I liked sweet tea.  Preferably Sun Tea made with scoops and scoops of sugar that melted in the warm liquid… Yummm.  (And no, these are not the reasons I am diabetic, for the record. I didn’t drink either of these all the time, by any means, but they were definitely guilty pleasures of mine.)

My taste buds have now grown so accustomed to diet sodas over the years that sometimes if I order one and it’s really really fresh .. I can’t tell if it’s “real” or diet.  My true test is I have my husband taste it and he makes this awful face if it’s diet.  (Thanks for taking one for the team, baby!)  

There have been times when I’m solo and I’ve ordered a drink and I can’t tell if it’s diet or not.  It’s almost as if I argue with myself on whether or not to keep drinking it … but more times than not I end up not drinking it – better safe than sorry.  😦 And the worst is when I go through a drive through, order an UNsweet tea, pull away from the drive through and (stupidly) not taste it till I’m already back at my house/office.  Then I taste it and realize it’s sweet and have to throw it out. Ugh. 

I remember one time being at a restaurant and seeing this lady yelling at a manager because she was diabetic and the waiter had given her a real Coke instead of a Diet Coke.  I remember thinking how obnoxious she was – I mean I get it … really, I do. More than probably anyone else who may have been witnessing that “conversation”.   But think about it, that waiter/waitress, or that teenager working at the local fast food restaurant will likely make a mistake and put the cup in the wrong dispenser while they’re talking to their coworker, thinking it’s no big deal, or probably didn’t even notice.  They have no way of knowing that we aren’t ordering that Diet Coke because we’re watching our figure. (Which, btw, I always assume that is what they are thinking – “Why is she ordering a Diet Coke, when she also ordered fries?”) They have no way of knowing that because our pancreas has gone on a permanent hiatus, that we couldn’t drink that soda they’ve mistakenly given us, no matter how badly we may want to. 

So if you’re in the food services industry … educate your staff – if someone orders a diet drink, don’t judge your customer.  Make sure you/they know that, it is very possible that he/she can’t have the real thing. But you can really make or break our meal/day if you bring the wrong one.  This almost happened to me recently. I was at a local restaurant and ordered an unsweet tea. I tasted it and it didn’t taste “right” but it didn’t taste sweet, either.  I added my Sweet ‘n Low. Drank a glass. Got my refill, and it still tasted “off”.  So I had my hubby try it – he said “That’s sweet!”  What?!? I just drank a glass and a half!  My sugar was 197 at my 2 hour check so more than likely, it probably wasn’t sweet tea, but I do think it was flavored with something.  I should know better, but this particular restaurant has never offered a flavored tea, but next time I’ll know to ask and be more clear when I place the order.

So, see, even an almost 20 year expert on sweet vs unsweet like myself can still get it wrong from time to time. 😉


About Shannon

I am a wife, a mommy, and a Type 1 diabetic (since '92.) I have had two successful pregnancies - one of which was with twins. I wear an insulin pump- - off and on for 17 years; currently on the Medtronic pump and CGM. I am not a medical professional, nor am I giving medical advice. I am just sharing my day to day stories of someone who lives with this disease every day. My ultimate goal is to raise awareness.
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5 Responses to The Real Thing

  1. When someone says “in their best soup Nazi voice” I always say it aloud in my best soup Nazi voice. #gottaloveseinfeld
    Nice reminders to food service industry. It is rare I order ANY soda for my kids but occasionally I succumb to their pleading and order them diet sodas – I always follow up my order with “please make sure their soda’s are diet – they do have diabetes” At that point I always get the pity look from the wait staff or fast food servers. Alas – better safe than sorry.
    As far as not being able to tell if something truly is diet or not – a friend told me she will check the beverage with her meter – check its sugar if you will. I haven’t tried it but Id assume it would work. Maybe Ill test the theory today with my jug of half and half tea. (the fully loaded sweet tea is too much for me)
    great post friend.

    • Shannon says:

      Thanks! That’s an interesting thought on checking the soda with your meter… but I doubt I’d ever do that – those strips are too darn expensive! 😉

  2. Scott E says:

    When I order sodas at fast food places (which, sadly, is often), I always try to peek behind the counter to check which dispenser they’re getting the drink from. Fortunately, “sweet tea” is not a big thing in the northern U.S., so that’s not a problem for me!

    I worked in a fast-food restaurant in high school, and when customers (or I) got confused about which was regular and which was diet, I would toss both and get new ones — I understood the importance. Some of my other fellow coworkers would look at the two and state “this one’s the diet — I know because it’s darker” (really?), or maybe they’d just guess. I won’t take that chance.

    I did have a coworker who was also a T1 (a noncompliant, rebellious one at that). When she ordered a sugary drink, like a regular Coke or lemonade, it put me in an awkward position. I remember once giving her a Diet when she asked for regular,, and I got called on it. I don’t want to tell her how to live her life, but at the same time I can’t, in good conscience, serve something that will hurt her, even if she asks for it.

    • Shannon says:

      I usually try to look, too, if it’s in a place where I can actually see the dispenser. More times than not, though, you can’t see it. I prefer fast food places where I can get my own drink, that way there is no chance of me getting the real thing. 🙂

  3. Keiran says:

    Don’t you mean “NotSweet Tea”? 😉 Hah

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