Posted by on Friday 16 May 2014

The 'busy bar staff' tip - DBlog Week Day 5

Today's topic for Diabetes Blog Week is all about hint and tips - Share the (non-medical) tricks that help you in the day-to-day management of diabetes.  Tell us everything from clothing modifications, serving size/carb counting tricks to the tried and true Dexcom-in-a-glass trick or the “secret” to turning on a Medtronic pump’s backlight when not on the home-screen (scroll to the bottom of this post). Please remember to give non-medical advice only! (Thank you Rachel of Probably Rachel and Kelley of Below Seven for this topic suggestion.)

Busy bar staff. Bustling restaurants. "Diet coke please" I shout over the ruckus at the bar and hope that the person taking the order heard properly and is being careful to put their thumb on the right button on the nozzle. But then, some time later a BG test reveals that it was the regular, full-on, carb-laden version instead. Never a happy moment. And the uncertainty of it *always* crosses my mind when I order a diet drink in a bar or restaurant.

Many people seem able to taste the difference between the two, but I've never been able to be sure. I knew for years that you can use urine glucose testing strips to check, but I never quite got around to going and getting any. But the solution is actually far simpler than that. In the unlikely event that anyone reading hasn't had this idea themselves already, here's a tip I picked up a year or two ago from a forum which I have used ever since:

Whenever I get my diet drink order, I just dip my finger in the top of my drink. Within a few moments the liquid will begin to dry. A full-sugar drink will make your fingers go sticky whereas a diet drink won't (the gaps between my fingers seem particularly good at sensing the stickiness).

Simple, effective and no equipment needed.


  1. Oh interesting, I've never heard that...I'll have to try it out! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Wow, I'd never heard of this either!! I tested with my meter once, which worked (the soda wasn't diet) but I've heard the newer meter will throw error codes if you put soda on the test strip. So next time I'll definitely use this tip!!

  3. Thankfully my meter will do the HI/LO thing when I test soda. I'll have to remember your trick if I happen to forget it.

  4. WOW - 36 years with diabetes and I've NEVER heard of this! THANK YOU!