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Home > Miscellaneous > Bulletin Board > Warning regarding Crystal Light Slurpees, Made a major error this weekend
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BrianB
Posted: Feb. 19 2007, 10:02 ET


I made a major dietary error this weekend.  I really think I took reasonable steps to avoid the error, but I guess it was just my turn.

My wife and I were going to spend all day "on the road" today doing errands, and getting in a little outdoor activity in the form of Geocaching.  We stopped at 7-Eleven to get some drinks and I got a few bottles of my favorite Dr. B legal drink, A&W Diet Root Beer.  While I was there I noticed that one of the Slurpee machines had a big "Crystal Light" sign on it.  Even though it was fairly cold out (by Florida standards) I decided a Slurpee would be nice, figuring Crystal Light is allowed, so frozen Crystal Light must also be OK, right?

There wasn't any nutritional information on the Crystal Light Slurpees in the store, but just to be safe, I used an old diabetic trick to test the Slurpee to be sure it was safe.  In my car, I keep a bottle of the old style of blood sugar test strips that work using a color change panel.  With the older style blood sugar meters you'd put a drop of blood in the absorbent panel on the test strip, which caused a color change from white to blue on the other side of the panel if glucose was present.  The blood sugar meter measures how strong the blue color is to determine blood sugar.

Here's a pic of a strip showing negative on the left, and positive (for sugar) on the right.  Note that this is the bottom of the strip and you apply your substance to the top.


Most meters these days are electronic and measure glucose another way, but these old style strips are great to keep in the car to put a droplet of soda on if you suspect you've been given regular instead of diet.  If it changes, it's not diet.  So anyway, I put a drop of the Crystal Light Slurpee on the strip, and it didn't change.  Hooray!  My wife even tried it and thought it was really tasty.  She made a comment that I should have paid more attention to though "boy, that even has something like a sugar aftertaste to it".  Now I can't tell the difference between Coke and Diet Coke (hence having the strips on hand), but she works for a major fruit juice producer, and tastes ingredients such as sweeteners for a living, so if she says something tastes like acesulfame potassium, or sucralose, or aspartame, or sugar, chances are she's probably right.  She repeated my strip test and got the same result, so we shrugged our mutual shoulders and moved on.

So I had a 29 fl. oz. Crystal Light Slurpee during the first part of our day's excursion.  I'd already had 2 liters of plain water earlier in the day, so I was free to have flavored drinks for awhile.

About 5 hours later we were ready to head out for our Geocaching expedition.  Not having time for much in the way of meal complexity, I was surprised at how satisfying that Slurpee had been earlier and decided to get another one.  I figured a 41 ounce Slurpee would last me the rest of the day.

Well, Monday being a "clinic day", Sunday night after we got home I checked my ketones (as I generally do the day before a "sample" day).  I was baffled when they were stone cold negative (since I'm almost always a 2+ or 3+).

So I got online.  There wasn't any nutritional data on 7-Eleven's page, but I did find this page.  Unfortunately, by Dr. B standards, the Crystal Light Slurpee is not a safe thing at all.  In the 29 oz. and 41 oz. sizes respectively there are 145 and 205 calories, and 17 and 24 grams of carbs.  Wow!  Granted, much better than what's in a regular Slurpee, but shockingly high by our diet standards.  Now it looks like most of the carbs are sorbitol, a "sugar alcohol", and there are 0g of actual sugar, which is why it didn't trip the test strips.  On most diets (like Atkins), they tell you that you can subtract sugar alcohols (like you subtract fiber) when figuring "net carbs".  However, when I went to my diabetes class way back when, they told us not to subtract sugar alcohols, and this is a good example of why that is good advice.  Even though sugar alcohols have supposedly low glycemic impact, 41 grams of it was enough to slap me clean out of ketosis, and I'm expecting to be up some weight as well.  Probably not so much from the calories, but sugar alcohols can cause water retention in your bowels, and my scale definitely says I'm up.

Of course I'll tell the clinic what I did (as I always tell others to do) -- in fact I'm just going to print out this post and give it to them.  I wanted to share this with everyone because I feel like I'm probably more cautious than most, even tested it with the test strips, and still got zinged because I didn't think that they'd use a naughty sweetener that wouldn't trip a sugar strip.  If it got me, I figure it might get some of you too since we're pretty much programmed that Crystal Light is our friend.

Be careful out there.   :)

nickns2
Posted: Feb. 19 2007, 10:09 ET


Thanks for the info Brian!

BrianB
Posted: Feb. 19 2007, 14:00 ET


You're welcome Nick.  I figure hopefully I can save someone else from making the same mistake.   :)

Moved this topic to the new "Bulletin Board" section since it is something that everyone should probably read at some point -- even/especially new members.

glenna74
Posted: Feb. 19 2007, 15:48 ET


Thanks, Brian. Had I seen a Crystal Light slurpee, I probably would have bought one. I LOVE slurpees. Or I did. I'll probably never have another one (and I'm totally fine with that).