Back in 1983 when I was diagnosed (or the dark ages as Tim likes to call it) you struggled to get sugar free anything in the UK. Diet drinks were as rare as a very rare thing. More often than not water was the only sugar free option in a cafe or restaurant (or now I think about it, were my parents just telling me that to keep the costs down???).
We went on holiday as a family to Florida in 1989 when I was 10. We must have spent half a day in the supermarket. It was amazing, they had sugar free everything. Sugar free chocolate soda, root beer (how do you drink that, its vile), cream soda, muffins, toffees, mints, strawberry flavoured chewing gum (we must have brought back a hundred packs of this stuff). I was literally a diabetic kid in a sugar free sweet shop.
I wanted to try all of it. Sadly all the canned drinks were in packs of 6 which was a bit big when you only wanted to try one, but the shop assistant said we could split the packs. That was a revelation, in the UK they start removing your limbs if you try and split a six pack in a supermarket. It just isn’t done.
Actually, most of the sugar free drinks were a grave disappointment. It was the last time I ever drank chocolate soda, root beer or cream soda, but it was so good to try them and know that I wasn’t really missing out!
Ironically now that the world is full of sugar free stuff I no longer have such a need for it. The wonders of carb counting and insulin adjusting mean that if I want chocolate I have a bit of proper chocolate rather than the crime against taste and the digestive system that is sugar free chocolate. It actually feels like things are going a bit too far in favour of the healthy life. If I want a healthy snack I have an apple. If I want a naughty snack, I have a proper blueberry muffin. The hybrid low sugar, low fat versions seem to miss the mark on both counts – they’re still full of carbs so diabetes wise I still need to think about it, and they doesn’t taste as good as the orignial. On that thought, I’ll get back to my muffin.