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02:36 pm: ginger ale
A few years ago, Coca-cola started advertising that their new cans of regular coke contained only 100 calories. They had reduced the calorie count by making the cans slightly smaller--it seemed like a nice thing to do for their customers who liked the taste of classic coke and didn't want too many calories.

A couple of days ago, I was on an airplane, and I asked for ginger ale when the flight attendant offered me a drink. I hardly noticed the little green box on the green Seagrams can, announcing "25% fewer calories than regular ginger ales." When I saw it, I thought maybe they were using less sugar--a less sweet ginger ale would be nice. (There's a version of frosted flakes that just uses less of the frosting and brags that it's a lower cereal.) Then I thought maybe they were using a smaller can, but the can had a weird aspect ratio, and I picked it up trying to read the label to see how small.

It was a little tricky to read the label, because I didn't have my reading glasses. (I just had my e-reader, which lets me use big fonts and my distance glasses.) So there was a fair amount of dumb luck involved in seeing the sucralose on the ingredients list in the first place.* It wasn't diet pop; it had lots of corn syrup. It felt like they were just sneaking the migraine trigger into the can and hoping people wouldn't notice.

They really are being sneaky. It's not just that I was oblivious or that I've had so little ginger ale this year (while irrationally thinking of it as a familiar product I don't need to investigate before drinking.) I went back to the little airplane galley to discard the unused can and see if they could spare me a little water, and the flight attendant was shocked. "What seat are you in? I could have sworn I gave you regular soda!" No, really, it's not her fault. It looks exactly like non-diet soda. By the standards of people who want the diet stuff, it probably IS non-diet soda. Seagrams is just being sneaky. Or I suppose a person could use a less polite word than "sneaky."

*The flight attendant gave me the can in the first place, instead of just pouring me a cup.
I noticed the green-on-green box.
I read the ingredients list, when I didn't expect any need to.

This entry was originally posted at http://adrian-turtle.dreamwidth.org/15994.html. Please comment there using OpenID, or here as usual.

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[User Picture]
Date:August 23rd, 2013 11:04 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I HATE this, and I don't even have migraines from consuming artificial sweeteners, I just dislike them.

If something is "lower sugar" because they put less sugar in (which occasionally happens), that's awesome. But 90% of the time it seems to mean "...because we've loaded it with crap!"
[User Picture]
Date:August 24th, 2013 07:27 pm (UTC)
What bothers me most is that they seem to be trying to slip the stuff in unnoticed. It reminds me of the Splenda ads from 10 years ago, that I used to see in cooking magazines..."Tastes just like sugar! Nobody at the office will know your holiday cookies have Splenda in them!"
[User Picture]
Date:August 25th, 2013 03:34 am (UTC)
Adrian telling us about this a couple of days ago led to me getting out a bottle of soda that is in fact lower sugar/lower calorie and less sweet than most soda. The brand name, in fact, is "Dry Soda."

Our flavor of choice is dry cucumber soda. (They also make vanilla, which is a nice change from sweeter cream sodas, and lavender, which I wasn't impressed by.)
[User Picture]
Date:August 24th, 2013 10:09 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you read the ingredients even though you thought you didn't have to! That's really crappy of them, to add such an ingredient to a "non-diet" version.

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