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Product Spotlight: Beverages and Shakes

Back to Product Review Main 

12.14.05 :: Product Recommendation & Review:

It's more and more rare now that a product comes along that meets all of the requirements to make us go, "wow!" We bet you'll agree when you see this list, but you'll really be onboard when you try it yourself:

  • It's low in carbohydrates — it contains 4 total carbs; 2 net grams of carb after fiber reduction.
  • It's low in calories. Only 25 calories per serving.
  • It contains NO SUGAR ALCOHOLS.
  • It's sugar free and low glycemic. Sweetened with a mixture of low-GI agave nectar derived from the Mexican cactus, and sucralose (Splenda).
  • It's low fat — in fact it has only 1/2 gram per serving.
  • It contains no added colors or artificial flavors.
  • It's amazingly high in antioxidants: Higher than any drink (health or otherwise) we've ever found. Its two chief ingredients rate higher on the USDA's "ORAC" Scale than any other foods.
  • It's really, really delicious... why...
  • Because it's Chocolate!

We're talking real chocolate here... Not some chocolate-like flavoring. Not some pale imitation; not something thickened and texturized with wax. And definitely not something loaded with sugar.

The product is called Xoçai™ (pronounced Show-sái). And it's is more than just an elegant product name... it consists of the first two letters of the Aztec word, "Xocolatl," (cho coh LA till) the Aztec word used for chocolate, and the last three letters of "Açai," a rich berry found in the Amazon Rain Forest. Xoçai is more than a product — it's the culmination of a rich history.

Xoçai truly is the ultimate antioxidant beverage! Using the finest, all-natural European cocoa powder, the açai berry from the Amazon Rain Forest, and agave nectar derived from the Mexican cactus, Xoçai is a product like no other.

ORAC Scale It's about the antioxidants...

Scientists from the United States Department of Agriculture have developed a rating scale called ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) — a measure of the ability of antioxidants to absorb oxygen radicals — and discovered that there is a small group of "super-foods" that have up to twenty times the antioxidant power of other foods. These super-foods provide more antioxidant power than mega-doses of vitamin supplements.

Both dark cocoa powder and the açai berry are at the top of the ORAC Scale. Natural cocoa powder tops the list with a score of 26,000. The açai berry rates second highest, making it the powerhouse of the fruit world with a score of 18,500. And these are the chief ingredients in Xoçai!

In the 6 1/2 years that we've run Low Carb Luxury, this is the first product that we've ever been so impressed with that we totally dropped our non-biased stance and openly endorsed. We think this is a product that will change lives. Take the time to try Xoçai for yourself. Drink 1 oz of this heavenly chocolate/berry drink three times a day for 10 days and see if you don't start to notice a difference in how you feel. And in the meantime, enjoy the rich chocolate experience without guilt. MMMMMmmmmmmmmm...

2.14.05 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Schokinag Chocolate

From previous reviews, you've probably gathered that like most people, we, as a group, are chocolate-lovers. And in the cold months, it's pretty hard to beat a great cup of hot chocolate. Sometimes "great" was a little too much to ask of a sugar free / low carb hot chocolate. But after attending the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco this year, and trying the new Schokinag No Sugar Added European Drinking Chocolate, we've decided it's now possible to achieve an exceptional hot chocolate drink and stay true to your diet.

If you haven't heard of Schokinag (pronounced "show-ca-nog") Chocolate, let us give you a little background. They've been manufacturing some of the world's best chocolate in their factory in Southern Germany for more than 80 years. They are the second largest supplier of pure chocolate to the trade in Europe, the United States, and Canada, and their products are available in 60 markets around the world. This is a company that understands chocolate. It's their passion. And once you taste it, their passion might become yours too.

Schokinag No Sugar Added European Drinking Chocolate comes in generous 12-oz tins. But when you open it, don't expect to find "powdered" cocoa waiting to be reconstituted. Instead, you'll find tiny chips (they call them "microchips") of milk and dark chocolate dusted with cocoa powder (hence the Triple Chocolate flavor.) To make basic hot chocolate, you place 5 Tablespoons of the tiny chips into a mug with 1 Tablespoon of milk. You'll microwave that for about a minute to melt the chocolate into a dreamy consistency. Then add either more milk (about 7 oz), a cream/water mix, half-n-half, or a low carb milk like Carb Countdown, and microwave again to heat.

This amazing drinking chocolate is just as good when cold. Follow the same procedure to melt chips, then add ice cold milk and drink. But don't stop there. This is versatile stuff. Flavor your hot chocolate with a bit of sugarfree peppermint or vanilla syrup, or add a mix of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves. For a richer hot cocoa, add to a well-beaten egg, and of course you'll want to top it off with whipped cream.

You can make a superb Ganache or Fondue with it also. Just mix 8oz of No Sugar Added Schokinag Chocolate to 6 oz of heavy cream and an ounce of unsalted butter. (Simmer the cream. Remove cream from heat and add chocolate; stir until smooth. Add butter and stir until smooth. Use ganache for any traditional application or serve warm as fondue.) In fact, anywhere you'd use chocolate in your low carb baking, you can pretty much use Schokinag chocolate.

Schokinag No Sugar Added European Drinking Chocolate comes in at 2 grams of net carbs per 1.5 oz serving. If you can't locate Schokinag in your area, you can order directly from their website. They also have a Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder (that's 22/24% Cocoa Butter) that you might also want to check out while you're there.

Thin Ice Hard-Lemon Malt Beverage 06-18-03 - Product Recommendation & Review:

There's a new beverage on the shelves that low-carbers who wish to indulge a bit won't want to miss out on. It's called
Thin Ice, and it's a Citrus-flavored malt beverage. New from Long Beach Brewing Company, Thin Ice is surprisingly refreshing. Several of our tasters who are not beer drinkers actually enjoyed this beverage quite a lot.

Their slogan, "90 calories, 1 carb, zero guilt" is a very appropriate one, as they are less than half the carbs of Michelob Ultra (2.6 carbs, 95 calories), the previous low-carb winner. If you were a fan of Mike's Hard Lemonade (which comes in at a whopping 36 carbs, and 260 calories,) you're gonna love the new Thin Ice.

You might have guessed that Thin Ice is sugar free, but better yet, it's sweetened with Splenda! So it's refreshingly and lightly sweet with no "off-taste" at all. It contains 4.2 percent alcohol, (about what most light beers offer up.)

Thin Ice is available in 12-oz glass bottles (by the six-pack) at more and more groceries. And it's now showing up in bars and restaurants. I'm hearing commercials for it (..."Thin Ice -- Get On It") and I see this alternative carb-legal drink getting a lot of attention. Yes... Thin Ice has squeezed all of the guilt out of hard-lemon malt beverages... deliciously!

05-23-03 - Product Recommendation & Review: LeCarb Dairy Drink
It's here folks.. milk. I kid you not. I have not been so thrilled with a new product in a very long time. I simply loved a cold glass of milk. Especially with something sweet... or at breakfast... or, okay, I just loved drinking milk. And I have found some passable alternatives since low carbing, but nothing beats this.

The wonderful people at
Southwest Dairy who brought you LeCarb frozen desserts, are now offering milk in your grocer's dairy case. Okay, they can't actually call it "milk" on the label, instead dubbing it LeCarb Dairy Drink, but it's basically milk that had the lactose (milk sugar) removed (and replaced with Splenda), and the protein kicked up. It's practically indistinguishable from milk. It's just beyond good.

It comes in three varieties...
Whole, 2% Lowfat, and Chocolate. And they're just what you'd expect. The 2% is a lower fat version of the whole. And a bit thinner. If you were a fan of 2%, this will be the drink for you.
LeCarb Dairy Drink
Many of us have come to be more used to half n half and creams, and if so, the whole might be better suited to you. I can tell you it's to die for on your favorite hot or cold low carb cereal. Cook with it, drink it, flavor it. Whatever you'd do with real milk.

Then there's the Chocolate. And it's some of the best chocolate milk we've ever had... low carb or not. It's thick and rich and decadently chocolatey. Nowhere does it have a "fake" taste, and is sweetened just right. There are no soy products or sugar alcohols in these milks, and I'd feel comfortable serving them to guests.

With carb counts for each 8 oz glass of 6 grams for Chocolate, 4.5 grams for 2%, and 4 grams for whole milk, you'll want to run, not walk, to your nearest WalMart Super Center, or Brookshire's Grocery and buy these innovative drinks. Kudos, Southwest Dairy. You have a Huge Hit with us!!

07-09-02 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Ready-to-Drink KETO SHAKES Chocolate has a long history, full of adventure and delight. The Spanish explorer Cortez brought chocolate from the Aztecs, in the form of cocoa beans, to King Charles V in 1528.

By mid-century, Spaniards were hooked on hot chocolate, mixed with honey and spices, or orange blossom water. As the Spanish royalty intermarried with other European Royalty, cocoa was given as a dowry.

Since that time, we feel no less passionate about chocolate. It's just expected. And the deluge of low carb chocolate-based products is further evidence that no dietary restrictions can stand in our way of the stuff.

Last month we reviewed Keto's new Ready to Drink vanilla shakes, but the Chocolate variety hadn't arrived yet, so we didn't get the chance to review it. Now, we have, and we want to report in that the
Ready-to-Drink KETO Chocolate Shakes® are quite a rich, chocolatey winner. A more "Old World" chocolate taste than the Atkins shakes, and like the Vanilla, very filling, and lactose free.

Still only 3 carbs each, and wonderful to take to work or school. They're in drink-box style packaging with a bendable straw attached to each box!

Available in three-shake paks, or by the case. You can get them from Life Services, The Low Carb Connoisseur, Greenbeanz, Synergy Diet, and The Low Carb Dieter's Page.

06-23-02 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Atkins RTD Shakes - Café au Lait
Last March, we reviewed the
Atkins Ready-To-Drink Shakes (see our review here) and have loved them ever since. But now, there's a new flavor to love -- Café au Lait.

Atkins RTD Shakes - Café au Lait This is definitely a flavor you won't want to miss! If you love coffee (especially Frappaccino), you'll really enjoy these. And when they're very, very cold, they are amazingly refreshing on a Summer day.

Like all Atkins Shakes, they come in at 2 grams of bioavailable carbs (after fiber subtraction), and are sweetened with Splenda. They come in a 4-pak and are available from The Low Carb Connoisseur.

06-14-02 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Ready-to-Drink KETO SHAKES This month, Keto gives Atkins a run for their money with the introduction of their new Ready-to-Drink KETO SHAKES®. Packaged in the familiar little "drink-box" type paks (aseptic packaging), these 8-oz "ready when you want 'em" shakes come in at only 2 carbs, and are really quite yummy. In fact, since our group meeting where I first tried these, I have personally had a shake each day. It's been a really hectic time for me, and these have been a big help.

We haven't had a chance to try the Chocolate flavor that will soon be available, rather it's the
Vanilla flavor we tried. Each shake is so packed wit protein and nutrients that it qualifies to be called a "meal replacement", since it can be just that. They're very filling, and a plus for me is that they are lactose free. The first one I tried was room temperature and my thoughts were that they "weren't bad". But when I had the next one chilled, it was tasty enough that I drank it rather quickly. Most of us agreed, though a couple of people actually preferred them warm. And yes, one of our members has taken to warming it with a packet of extra sweetener and nutmeg in a big mug before bed.

Ready-to-Drink KETO SHAKES Because it's the vanilla we tried, we also found that if you pour it into a chilled glass, it's great with flavored syrups too. Strawberry, Banana, and Orange were especially good.

Very handy, very tasty, very low carb, and very healthy... aren't those exactly what we're always looking for? One last thing, we're glad they chose the drink-box type packaging over heavy cans. They are much more portable this way for taking everywhere. And they come with a little bendable straw attached to each box.

Available in three-shake paks, or by the case. You can get them from Life Services, The Low Carb Connoisseur, Greenbeanz, and The Low Carb Dieter's Page.

04-09-02 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Connoisseur Cafe Mudslide Mix Several years ago in a trendy little bar & restaurant in Georgia, we had our first "Mudslide"... If you've never heard of such a thing, it's a luscious coffee-based drink. There are all kinds of variations too! Well, try and order one most anywhere and you'll find it's a sugar nightmare.

It was a delight to find that
Connoisseur Café is now offering a pre-mixed version of the Mudslide Mix they serve their patrons. And yes, it's sweetened with sucralose (Splenda) so there are no pesky carbs to worry about. Just those in whatever you add when getting creative with it.

Connoisseur Cafe Mudslide Mix A great mudslide can be made hot, cold, or frozen. Our very favorite (and we made it all three ways) was cold with a scoop of low carb vanilla ice cream. We mixed it with half & half and a bit of seltzer water, plus a tablespoon of Chocolate Fudge from Sauces de Jacqueline. For about
5 1/2 carbs, this is a drink to die for! And you can top it with a little sweetened whipped cream for even more richness. It's delish.

Great hot too! It's fast to make in the microwave - mix with half & half, a shot of your favorite DaVinci (try the white chocolate!) You can make a great cocktail from it too with a shot of vodka and low carb ice cream.

If you're a coffee or mocha lover, you'll go wild with this stuff! It's available to order online from The Low Carb Connoisseur.

03-13-02 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Coffee Were you a fan of General Foods International Coffees? You know.. those quaint little tins with the colorful flags that contained easy-mix coffee mixed with non-dairy creamer, and uh.. well.. lots of sugar? We were... before low carbing, of course. While tasty (and trendy), they were never a very good thing to be consuming.

At 12 grams of sugar (15 carbs) per serving, and filled with hydrogenated oils these were downright dangerous. In fact, I checked their label... sugar is the first ingredient. (They do offer a sugarfree version, but it contains the same hydrogenated oils, plus corn syrup, maltodextrin, and aspartame and comes in at 5 carbs per serving... and it's fat free, so it's not even rich tasting.) So for the most part, we gave up these little coffee treats.

Keto Coffees Then this week, we had the opportunity to try Keto Foods' latest drink offering --
Keto Coffees, with a distinctly international flair. At 2 carbs per serving, their first ingredient is coffee (Brazillian)... they include no nasty ingredients like trans fats (hydrogenated oils), but do contain dried cream for a very rich cup of coffee indeed.

They come in three classic international varieties:
French Vanilla, Italian Cappuccino, and Swiss Mocha. If you like flavored coffees, we believe you'll really, really like these. The group's all-round favorite was the Swiss Mocha (made with a rich cocoa), because it was the tastiest plain (but of course this is judged by a group of self-confessed chocoholics!) But the others also rated well. About half of us wanted extra sweetness in our cups and added a touch of extra Splenda, Stevia, or whatever you love in coffee.

Coffee Beans We also found that the French Vanilla (which offers a terrific hint of nutmeg) lends itself well to adding a little flavor. For instance, a drop of Orange Oil, and you have an almost Grand Marnier taste. Or you can make my husband's rather wacky favorite -- the "King Kong". If you haven't heard of it, it's made by adding a 1/2 teaspoon each of DaVinci's Sugarfree Banana and Coconut syrups to your cup.

Oh, they're great for your diet goals too... they've added blood sugar support nutrients (500 mg. glutamine, 100 mg. taurine, 50 mcg chromium and zinc) that can actually stave off cravings. So you can be healthy and yes, you can still be "trendy"!

All varieties are available from The Low Carb Connoisseur and from Life Services.

02-14-02 - Product Recommendation & Review:Keto Brand Shakes
Now that we're at the beginning of a year, holidays over, and Spring on the way, more and more of us are getting back to a regular "routine" of how we make this diet work for us, and how we work it around our schedules... To that end, we've begun having a morning or afternoon low carb shake and as we looked for variety and great flavor, we rediscovered the Keto Brand Shakes and their now myriad of flavor choices:
Keto Brand Shakes
  • Egg Nog
  • Banana Creme Pie
  • Peaches and Creme
  • Cappuccino
  • French Vanilla
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl
  • Strawberry Shortcake
  • Chocolate Fudge
  • Orange Creamsicle
Keto Brand Shakes It's not easy to pick favorites and everyone's tastes are different, but we are comfortable recommending all their flavors, as each is as unique as they are yummy. With some, more cream and crushed ice are best, and with others a little additional sweetener seems good. But these are great bases and you'll find what you like pretty quickly.

For example, I always add a handful of fresh or frozen strawberries to the Strawberry Shortcake Shakes and love to top 'em with whipped cream. One of our reviewers, Karen, loves the Cappuccino Shakes with Cinnamon and Nutmeg added. And to the Egg Nog, throw in some DaVinci Vanilla syrup, and a little nutmeg. If you like creating lots of original flavors for your shakes with syrups and extracts, you'll want to have the French Vanilla onhand. Richard mixes it with a Diet Lemon-Lime soda, a splash of key lime, and some additional Splenda.

Keto Brand Shakes All by itself, you'll love their Chocolate Fudge. But toss in a little malt flavoring if you like. Or some DaVinci Toasted Marshmallow syrup. At 1.5 to 3 grams of carbohydrates per serving, these shakes are a protein packed carb bargain that will fill you up and deliver great taste. The directions say to mix with cold water, but these are best with cream added as well, crushed ice in the blender, and perhaps some of the other add-ins we discussed. This is, of course, true with all shake mixes. So if you can afford an extra 2 or 3 carbs, dress 'em up. But every good shake needs to start with a terrific base that tastes good, and these deliver! Their regular shakes do not contain soy.

All varieties are available from The Low Carb Connoisseur, The Low Carb Dieter's Page, and from Life Services.

12-20-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:

Keto Hot Cocoa In December 1999, our group first reviewed Keto Hot Cocoa. While we liked it then, we pointed out the difficulty in getting it to mix well. So when I found out there was a new "version", I thought, "Great! They probably solved the mixing problem!" Well, they did do that -- it mixes beautifully now, but that's not all they did. It's very improved. It's creamy and super chocolate-y now. In fact, since trying it, I'm having a cup every evening. And it's so low in carbs, I can do that and not feel guilty.

Keto Hot Cocoa When I want to make it really special, here's my favorite way to make it: (For a 4-cup serving) Add 4 heaping scoops of Keto Hot Cocoa to a saucepan and add 1 cup no-sugar Almond Milk (I like the Diamond brand called Almond Breeze - it's not low-fat like some other [tasteless] brands), 1 cup heavy cream, 2 cups water, and 3 tablespoons DaVinci Sugarfree Vanilla Syrup. Heat until hot but not boiling, stirring often. Stir with a cinnamon stick if you like. This is just to die for!

Keto Hot Cocoa is available at Life Services and from The Low Carb Connoisseur, The Low Carb Dieter's Page, CarbSmart, and netrition.

11-17-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Carb Mate I'm one of those people that believes that things happen for a reason -- and at the time they are supposed to. So I find it appropriate that I happened upon a new line of low carb dieter's drinks called CarbMate just before the holidays. CarbMate - manufactured by Aloe Commodities of Dallas, Texas - is a delicious dietary supplement drink that comes in 16-oz bottles and is best had cold.

Each bottle contains only 1 gram of carbohydrate after fiber, but the good news is not just low carbs and great taste -- it's the drink's key ingredients that help with the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates in the meal you eat after drinking it, meaning more balanced blood sugars and less chance of harming your dietary success for the day.

Carb Mate No, this doesn't mean you can drink a bottle and then eat a super carb heavy meal or a box of donuts, but it does mean you can prevent insulin spikes from a meal that contains more carbs than you might otherwise indulge in (a bit of potato, a warm roll, a few bites of rice or pasta...) In other words, a rich Thanksgiving or other holiday meal. Does it work? In a word, yes. I found it hard to believe also, but our entire group tested it to find it increased our tolerance for a few more carbs in the meal that followed without interupting dietary ketosis.

You should drink CarbMate about 1/2 hour before your meal. Each serving of CarbMate contains 200 mcg. of Chromium Polynicotinate. Studies have shown that Chromium Polynicotinate provides the safest and most bioavailable nutritional source of chromium. (Chromium helps insulin do its job.)

It comes in
Lemonade, and Berry Punch flavors and is sweetened with Acesulfame Potassium (Ace K/Sunette)and Sucralose (Splenda).

CarbMate is available at nearly all 7-Eleven stores, and I understand the distributors are working on other outlets as well. Visit the CarbMate website to learn more.

05-30-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
EAS Ready to Drink Low Carb Shakes On March 6, 2001, our group reviewed the Atkins Ready to Drink Shakes and have not until now found another RTD Shake that we liked as much. This past weekend, we had the opportunity to try all three flavors of the new EAS Myoplex Low Carb Ready To Drink Shakes. They come in (as you might surmise) French Vanilla, Strawberry Cream, and Chocolate Fudge. Rich and abundant with a smooth true taste, we found these to be as good (but different) as the Atkins Shakes. And at 2 carbs per shake, and packaged in easy to stow aseptic containers, these can add taste, nutrition, AND convenience to your low-carb diet plan.

In typical retail markets (chains, discount stores, etc) they are labeled as "EAS AdvantEdge® Carb Control RTD Shakes". In health food, supplement stores, and most online outlets, they are labeled "EAS Myoplex Low Carb Ready To Drink Shakes", but they are the same product. That said, don't confuse them with the standard "EAS Myoplex Ready to Drink Shakes" that are more than 20 carbs each!

Of course these make great chilled-cold shakes, but we found that if you're dying for a light, sweet chocolate milk (which I adore with pizza [low-carb pizza, of course] ) you can make a very good one with 1/2 can of EAS Chocolate Fudge and mixing it one-to-one with ice water, a Tablespoon of cream, and a few drops of extra sweetener (we used liquid Splenda.) And to make it really special, mix it with 2-3 drops of Nature's Flavors Malt flavoring (we reviewed it April 4, 2001.)

All three flavors are available from netrition, and we highly recommend them!

05-21-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Fruit 2-0 Plus In February of this year, we reviewed the Fruit2O drinks from Very Fine. We liked them of course and since that time they've been our favorite fruit flavored waters -- until now. The same company has now bested themselves by introducing
Fruit2O Plus drinks with even more fruit flavor! There's nothing subtle about these heavily fruit infused refreshers. They're fortified too -- each contains a unique combination of antioxidants, vitamins, and herbs plus vitamins such as A, B3, B6, B12 and C.

water With Summer heat getting more intense, these might be just the thing to reach for! Still zero carb, sweetened with Splenda, and flavored with natural flavors, they come in three varieties:
Citrus Energy Boost, Berry Relaxing, and Tropical Immunity.

Grab a few bottles -- they're terrific!  We've found them at discount warehouses (Sam's, BJ's, etc), convenience stores, and drug stores. You can also get them online at The Low Carb Dieter's Page.

05-02-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Doctor's Diet Low Carb Smoothie At 2 grams of carbs per shake and a sweet sucralose-based smoothness, the newest shakes from Doctor's Diet are a welcome addition for a little more variety on our low carb shake mix shelf. The best thing about these new shakes is best expressed in their name... they're very smooth. No grittiness, and a clean true taste. They come in just the basics -- chocolate and vanilla. But the vanilla is a good mixer for multiple flavors of shakes with various DaVinci or Nature's Flavors syrups.

I like a cherry/strawberry mix in the vanilla, and many in our group were fond of adding fruit -- blueberries was a favorite. But don't think the chocolate has to be used plain either. Add a little malt flavoring (see our review of April 6, 2001), or add a splash of DaVinci Caramel to get a "Heath Bar" taste.

Both flavors are available from netrition.

04-02-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Crystal Light A couple of years ago, I used to be a fan of the Crystal Light bottled drinks. But when I found that their aspartame caused me to stall (as well as exacerbating my headaches - I am a migraine sufferer), I stopped drinking them. Then a few weeks ago, thanks to my daughter-in-law's keen eye, we discovered they have begun formulating them with sucralose (Splenda) instead of aspartame (NutraSweet.) Yeah! I was very pleased. I bought a couple of cases and brought them to our next group panel -- hoping they still tasted great.

We're giving them our LCL seal of approval, as we thought they were very good!

For our tests, we tried the following flavors:
Lemonade, Raspberry Ice, Iced Tea with Lemon, Strawberry Kiwi, and Peach Iced Tea. Our favorite was the lemonade, but we found all drinks enjoyable and refreshing, although we all felt the Raspberry Ice could do with more raspberry and less ice (it seemed a bit too watered down.) These drinks do contain citric acid in case that's a trigger for you, and while the label says 0 carbs, don't believe it. They work out to 2 carbs per bottle, so keep it to one or two a day. Remember to refrigerate any you don't drink in one sitting. They're perishable like real juice once opened. Lastly, remember that our recommendation is for the pre-bottled drinks only. The powders/mixes still contain aspartame as well as maltodextrin (we're hoping this will change!)

The Crystal Light line is available in most groceries. Sometimes you have to be creative to find them. We've located them: In the soda & carbonated beverage aisle; in the aisle with Kool-Aid (so they can keep both kinds of Crystal Light together we assume); in the aisle with nuts and chips; and in the aisle with bottled waters and/or wines. Some of these areas may be combined in your stores so scope 'em out!

03-27-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Diet Ice Botanicals Last year our group tried the line of Diet Ice Botanicals and were largely unimpressed. They didn't get a spot here because we felt the stevia in them left a strong aftertaste and actually masked what might have been a pleasant fruit flavor. But the folks at Talking Rain have reformulated their drinks to be Splenda based with pretty pleasing results.

They come in four varieties:
Kiwi Strawberry (Botanical Wellness - enhanced with echinacea to promote a healthy immune system and ginger to calm the digestive system), Key Lime (Botanical Contentment - enhanced with St. John's Wort to reduce anxiety, and red clover and dandelion to cleanse the body), Melon Berry (Botanical Energy - enhanced with guarana and siberian ginseng to promote vitality), and Cranberry Raspberry (Botanical Well-Being - enhanced with gingko biloba to sharpen the mind and kava kava to calm.)

Diet Ice Botanicals Now, that said, most of us weren't interested in the botanical (herbal) aspects of this product. What we cared about was the taste since it's already zero-carb. With the addition of Splenda to the mix, we now find the drinks to be quite refreshing. They do need to be very cold (so forget packing them in a bag for a hike!), but out of the fridge, they're really good. Less vibrant flavors than the So-Be drinks, but we found that made them all the more refreshing -- especially after exercise.

If you find them to be not sweet enough (a few of us did), a quick squirt of liquid sweetener (we used Splenda) added to the bottle made up for it no muss, no fuss. They also make good "mixers".   Diet Ice Botanicals are usually found with "sports" type drinks, and I often see them in the refrigerator cases at CVS and Walgreen's Pharmacies, as well as in convenience stores.

03-11-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Keto Chocolate Milk Hot on the heels of the introduction of Keto Milk (a low-carb milk substitute), the Keto folks answered the demand for a chocolate version. With a rich cocoa flavor, it answers your demand for chocolate while keeping carbs very low (less than 2 carbs for an 8-oz glass) and still maintaining the exact same calcium and vitamin/mineral ratio you'd get in real milk. If you liked the regular Keto Milk, you'll like the new Keto Chocolate Milk mix.

Keto Chocolate Milk Now, to the nitty gritty -- does it taste just like off-the-shelf chocolate milk? In a word -- No. To be realistic it's more in line with, "it's not bad..." That was pretty much the consensus here. So we decided to see why it stops at "not bad". Truth is, to keep the carbs down to only about a gram, you'll need to be happy with an "okay" product. But if you can afford a few extra carbs (about 3-4 per glass), you can make an okay product a very good product. The label instructions call for mixing with cold water. That's it. BUT -- if you mix it with cold water, a splash of heavy cream (perhaps 2 tablespoons per glass), and a bit of extra Splenda (we used liquid so we didn't raise the carb count), it gets quite tasty! But here's how it gets really, really good -- Mix it in a blender doubling or tripling the batch (this rids you of any unmixed "floaties" (you get those when you make REAL chocolate milk from a powder too). Add the cream as mentioned before, as well as the extra sweetener. Try to stick with liquid sweeteners as the carbs can build up fast from granulated. BUT, add about 1/2 again as much Keto Chocolate Milk mix as called for. Then pour it into a pitcher (we use the Rubbermaid easy-pour kind) and refrigerate to get VERY cold. It's ready when you want a glass, will last for several days, and is amazingly good.

Keto Chocolate Milk Get creative too. We added flavors to the batches we made. How does
"Mint Sensation" sound? A bit of spearmint or peppermint oil to the blender (and a drop of green color if you like) makes for a refreshing drink that's like a liquid Peppermint Patty! And we added a heaping spoonful of peanut butter to make "Choco-Nut Milk"!

Drop a scoop of Keto Vanilla ice cream into your chilled chocolate milk to make a
"Snow Float". Or add a scoop of chocolate to make what we call "Death By Chocolate". Or top with whipped cream and go for "Cinnamon Dusted". Have fun with this one! You can order online from The Low Carb Connoisseur and from The Low Carb Dieter's Page.

03-06-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Atkins Ready to Drink Shakes As more and more low carb products are introduced in a ready to eat or ready to drink formula, our lives just keep getting easier. Of course, while speed and nutrition are without a doubt important, we still insist on great taste! So it was with some measure of apprehension that I first made the decision to try the Atkins Ready to Drink Shakes.

You'll note that this is the first time we've ever recommended a ready-to-drink shake. It's not that we haven't evaluated any -- it's just that so far, they haven't made the grade. To our surprise, the Atkins shakes do make the grade. In fact, we think they make the head of the class. They are, in a word, simply delicious. They are available in
Chocolate Delight, Strawberry Supreme, and Creamy Vanilla. (Yes, the classics...)

Atkins Strawberry Shake Before you started low-carbing, did you ever taste a Nestlé Strawberry Quick? If you did, and if you liked it, we can tell you we feel pretty confident you'll adore the Atkins Strawberry Supreme. It was the 2 to 1 favorite here with our group. They should be served icy cold -- because all good shakes are at their best that way (not because it needs to be half-frozen to cover a poor taste.) Indeed, the flavor of all three flavors is quite remarkable when you consider that there's no sugar here and they're packed with nutrients.

The Vanilla was the second favorite in our tests, not just because of its rich vanilla bean flavor, but because everyone liked its versatility. Notice the reviews done earlier this week for the American Spice favored oils and the Watkins flavored extracts? A few drops of your favorite flavors added to the vanilla shake (and a drop or two of extra liquid Splenda, should you like) make for a shake in almost ANY flavor. The Eggnog and the Marshmallow flavors in American Spice brand were just fab in the Atkins Vanilla shake, and the Pineapple and Peach extracts from Watkins made for a frothy fruit shake.

Atkins RTD Shakes The Chocolate Delight came in last -- not because it's not good, but because SOME flavor had to be last. Yes, we were surprised chocolate didn't come out on top as our group are a bunch of chocoholics, but in this case, the Strawberry is so supreme (notice, they named it that?) that it sped to the top of the list. The chocolate is definitely worth trying, however, and you'll have to decide which you like most.

Each 11-oz. can has 2 grams of bioavailable carbs (after fiber subtraction), and is sweetened with Splenda.  They're available online from The Low Carb Connoisseur and The Low Carb Dieter's Page.

02-27-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Very Fine Fruit 2 O Drinks If you enjoy flavored waters -- those infused with a hint of fruit flavor -- then the refreshing new Fruit2O drinks from Very Fine are for you!

The drinks come in six fruit flavored varieties:  
Strawberry, Orange, Raspberry, Lime, Cherry, and Lemon. They're refreshing, they're just the right amount of "sweet" and that sweetness comes from Splenda. The hint of fruit is also from the best source -- fruit. The flavorings used are all natural and the Fruit2 O's are non-carbonated.
Our favorite flavor was definitely Raspberry (such a subtle splash of sweet raspberry flavor!), followed closely by Lime (light and very refreshing!) and then Lemon (just a twist!) The Cherry has a slight edge over the Strawberry and the Orange is the weakest of the flavors. With the better weather coming up, you might want to start having a few of these in the fridge!

Very Fine Fruit 2 O Drinks are available online from The Low Carb Dieter's Page (at the time of this review, they weren't carrying all flavors.) We found them in CVS pharmacy as well (strangely, only in the flavors we were unable to get from Low Carb Dieter's Page.)

02-25-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
SoBe Lean
I used to be a big fan of the Mystic drinks. I know... they're JAM PACKED with sugar... no wonder I was in such bad shape. But they, as well as the others like them (Fruitopia, Snapple, etc.) are popular for a reason -- a cold refreshing fruit-flavor-packed drink is just plain good.

A week or so ago, one of our visitors wrote in to tell me that we should check into the new
SoBe Lean bottled drinks. I followed her suggestion and was pleased to find them sweetened with Splenda and very low-carb. So I bought all I could get my hands on to present to our eval-group this weekend. What a hit! I feel like I did when I was able to have the Mystic drinks I loved. They are super-flavorful and not a soul disagreed, though everyone chose a favorite quickly. Here are the available flavors:
Cranberry Grapefruit, Tropical, Peach, Citrus, Orange Carrot, Peach Tea, and Green Tea.

My favorite is the Cranberry Grapefruit followed by the Peach, but others loved the teas more. They are not carb-free because they contain a tiny amount of natural flavors in addition to their sucralose (Splenda). They come in at 2 carbs per serving with a little over 2 servings per jar (they are 12 oz.) So I wouldn't recommend drinking them all day long, but even one a day should be fine for most of us. To make them even more attractive, consider this -- each of them contains three of nature's most effective metabolic enhancers -- Citrimax, Chromemate, and Carnitine. We highly recommend them. We've found them in several groceries locally, so I think they'll be popping up most everywhere. Look for them!

02-12-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Champion Lyte If you're one of the thousands of low carb dieters that has added exercise into their daily routine, you might be missing those quick-refreshing "sports drinks" that are off-limits now. You don't have to miss them anymore. I was pretty skeptical about these drinks as I couldn't figure how a sports drink could effectively be sugar free and still offer the rehydrating, replenishing effects expected of it. But we have to give a hearty nod to the new Champion Lyte! With not a single calorie or carb in sight, these isotonic refreshers taste terrific and allow you to reap the benefits of electrolyte replacement without blowing your diet. They come in four fruit-fresh flavors -- Grape, Orange, Lemon-Lime, and Fruit Punch.

Champion Lyte Even if you're not a fan of traditional sports drinks, you just might find these to be exceptional. Several members of our group, expecting a sweeter flavor (more like Crystal Light or Kool-Aid) enjoyed these over ice with a squirt of additional sweetener (we used a little liquid Splenda.) We also found when having them this way, that mixtures were good. Half orange and half lemon-lime netted us a refreshing citrus mix. Experiment and find what you like. Champion Lyte drinks are sweetened exclusively with Acesulfame Potassium (Ace-K.)

All varieties of Champion Lyte drinks are available online from The Low Carb Dieter's Page and contain no sugar, saccharin, aspartame or sugar alcohols.

12-07-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Interested in the health benefits of soy, but just don't like the taste? Or maybe you've read about the controversy Revival Soy Shakes over genetically-modified soy proteins. We've recently had the opportunity to try a line of products new to us called Revival Soy . All Revival soy products use only genetically-pure soy. And new food technologies have allowed them to eliminate the sometimes "questionable" (strong) taste of soy. They claim that taste tests showed people preferred the taste of their Chocolate Daydream drink mix to Nestlé Quik, so we did our own tests. Four of us did indeed like it better for a richer chocolate taste! The fifth preferred the Quick, but admitted they are not a chocolate fan, so we guess this is a pretty strong statement.

My personal favorite is their
Vanilla Pleasure. I felt as though I could taste the vanilla bean. It was a "comfort food" for me! The chocolate contains 5 grams per serving (after fiber reduction) and Revival Soy the vanilla contains 6 grams for the unsweetened and artificially sweetened versions. They come sweetened with aspartame at this time, but a new non-aspartame formula is in the works. Or just buy the unsweetned versions and add your own sweetener - Splenda works great here. We found a Splenda/Ace-K mix to be superb in the vanilla.

Also of note is their
plain unflavored soy protein. Use it wherever you currently use soy protein, and you'll see a big improvement in taste. We used it in a couple of muffin recipes and in a breading mix and we loved the results (it browns quickly, though, so avoid over-baking!)

For an excellent way to get the benefits of a very high quality soy protein, check out Revival Soy. They even have a regular shipping plan if you find you are using a standard amount from month-to-month.

12-04-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Diet V-8 Splash!
We're often asked about drinks suitable for low-carb dieting that aren't carbonated, aren't tea, and don't contain aspartame. Well, we've found that the new
Diet V8 Splash Drinks are just the ticket.

They come in three varieties (not as many as the non-diet version, but good choices):
Tropical Blend, Strawberry Kiwi, and Berry Blend, and are available in 16- and 32-ounce sizes. They are sweetened with a sucralose (Splenda) Ace-K mix, and are quite a carb-bargain. A full 8-oz glass is only 3 grams of carbs, but these drinks are packed with flavor! And the ingredients (which include fresh fruit and vegetable juices) are amazingly good for you as well.

But don't stop at just having them over ice. Add them to your arsenal of cooking ingredients. The Tropical Blend poured over Chicken breasts and baked slowly make for a fabulous and very simple meal. We also boiled down the Berry Blend to 1/2 its volume, added 2 Tablespoons of Jok n Al low carb Red Raspberry preserves and a little not/Starch to make a sauce for baked ham that was to die for! Diet V-8 Splash!

Want another idea? Make a batch of Keto Vanilla Ice Cream and add any of the flavors in place of water. It's like a frozen smoothie ice cream.

Lastly, we used them as mixes for a few festive alcoholic beverages. Mixed with Diet 7-Up or Diet Ginger Ale, these proved to be great cocktail starters.

We've found them in most major grocery stores. If your store doesn't have them, ask your grocer to order them. They're a product of the Campbell Soup Company.

11-29-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Baja Bob's Drink Mixes
If you want to add a little alcohol to your holiday festivities, there's no more fun, delicious, and low-carb way to do it than with the sweet/sour kick of the
Baja Bob's Sugarfree Drink Mixes. And I might add that keeping them "virgin" (using no alcohol) made for excellent drinks as well, so it's your choice. And speaking of choices, you have a lot to chose from here. The Baja Bob's mixes come in three flavors and 2 forms: First, the flavors! Enjoy the Original Margarita Mix, the fruity Strawberry Margarita/Daiquiri mix, or the kicky new Sweet-n-Sour ! You can choose between Pre-mixed 1-liter plastic bottles (8 servings per bottle) or you can get the powdered mixes (60-gram air-tight foil packets) that make 1/2 gallon.

Baja Bob's Drink Mixes Don't stop at Margaritas -- use these mixes to make Whiskey Sours, Tom Collins, Pink Ladies, and more! With a good blender and a lot of ice, let your imagination run. Try using some of the flavored Diet Rites or flavored sparkling waters in the mix.

We made a great Cranberry Twist by mixing a teaspoon of Keto Cranberry Kooler into the Strawberry mix and tossing it with Tequilla and sparkling water. Add 2 Tablespoons Heavy Cream to the Sweet-n-Sour mixed with Vodka and water for a Citrus Creme! Mixed with Whiskey, Gin, Vodka or Tequilla, you can play quite the bartender at your next party!

All of the Baja Bob's Sugar Free Mixes contain less than 1g of carbohydrates and contain less than 10 calories per 4 oz. serving. The pre-made bottles are Splenda sweetened, but at the time of this writing, the packets still contain aspartame.

Baja Bob's is available from The Low Carb Connoisseur.

09-29-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Keto Peaches and Cream Shake Recently on a warm Indian-Summer day, we had the pleasant opportunity to try the new Keto Brand Peaches and Cream shakes !   I really, really love peaches and this was a sentiment echoed by most of the review panel. So I was looking forward to this shake mix ever since I heard it would be coming soon.

The package directions call for 2 scoops of shake mix blended with 8 ounces of cold water. This is a pretty common direction for nearly all shake mixes -- of all the brands. And indeed this method makes for the highest protein, least carb shakes you'll find. But to be honest, it doesn't make for the tastiest or creamiest of shakes. By starting with crushed ice, then adding 5-6 ounces of water (I use a good spring water) and 3 ounces of light cream or half and half, you get a much better (and more authentic) shake for only a couple of extra carb grams. With some varieties I also add a little extra sweetener (usually a liquid so we don't up the carb count.) We did that here, and got a really refreshing, frothy and tasty shake. But were we done? Oh, you know us... we experiment.

We made a batch of shakes by adding 3 Tablespoons Peach DaVinci syrup and skimping the shake mix a bit (we used about 1 1/2 scoops instead of 2) and it was peachier than ever and really delicious.

Then we decided that since peaches are pretty low carb (about 7 grams for a small peach), we'd try dicing one up and adding it Peach ice cream to the shake. Wow. Now it was a delectable treat not to be missed!

Okay, still not done. We made a batch of peaches and cream ice cream! We added 1 scoop of the mix to the regular recipe for Keto Vanilla Ice Cream along with an extra Tablespoon of Diabetisweet and 1/4 cup diced peaches. We mixed it up in the Cuisinart, and as I expected, it was like I used to get at our local Dairy Bar when I was growing up. Some of us poured a little of the DaVinci Peach syrup over it as well. I really recommend this treat!

Keto Brand products are available from Low Carb Connoisseur, and Life Services.

09-04-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Diet Cheerwine Soda If you happen to hail from the South - especially the Carolinas - you already know what Cheerwine is. And you won't need this review to explain "what it is" or how good it is. The news for you in this category is that it's now made with Splenda and is absolutely better than ever!

But let's say you're not from the South... And you've never seen or heard of such a thing. Okay, this will take a bit of explaining. It's sort of a cherry soda... but not really. Well, maybe more of a soda-fountain style cherry cola... No, that's not right either. Kind of what Dr. Pepper would be if it had a distinctive southern cherry flavor? Ummmm.. not exactly. Okay, this soda defies explanation or correlation because it's really not like anything else.

Cheerwine Logo Cheerwine is a burgundy-red soft drink. This bubbly cherry concoction was named for its appearance as well as its taste. It's the signature beverage of the
Carolina Beverage Company, and is distributed in North and South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia (though only the Carolinas have blanket coverage.) Cheerwine was invented and bottled in 1917 -- the diet version coming decades later -- and is a Southern tradition.

Besides being completely delicious, it lends itself to mixing with everything from a shot-o-whiskey to mixing into an Atkins Chocolate Shake! And because it's Splenda sweetened, you can cook with it too. It makes a mean BBQ sauce (mix it with sugar-free ketchup or tomato sauce, Brown Sugar Twin, onion powder or diced onions, and your favorite flavors and spices from there.)

Diet Cheerwine is both light and refreshing and we recommend this as a great change-of-pace drink. If you can't find it where you live, you can order it online from The Low Carb Connoisseur.

09-04-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Swiss Miss Diet Hot Cocoa Mix Yes, I know it's summer. And I know that most people equate hot cocoa with warming up on a cold wintery day. But, as it happens, last winter Swiss Miss was not yet making their current formula of Diet Hot Cocoa Mix.

First, let's make sure we're clear on which of their myriad of cocoa mixes we're reviewing here. In addition to their "regular" variety, they make a Fat Free, a Fat Free with Marshmallows, a Fat Free French Vanilla, a No Sugar Added, and finally, the one we're reviewing here, the
Swiss Miss Diet Hot Cocoa Mix.

The original version of this product contained NutraSweet and was twice the carbs. It wasn't a great option for most of us, and it bothered me that Hot Cocoa should be...well... hot. And aspartame and heat are not the best of friends. I hoped they'd switch to Splenda and they have.

The current formula comes in at 25 calories per serving (1 envelope) and 3 effective grams of carbohydrate (4 carbs minus 1 gram fiber.) That's a great carb bargain. And it contains no hydrogenation or artificial colors.

But is it good?  Well, it's by far our favorite of the envelope-style cocoas we tried. And the envelopes surely make it easy to travel with. Some of us preferred it with a splash of cream after mixing with hot water, and some of us added a few drops of liquid sweetener to make it sweeter. I personally think it's sweet enough. And the cocoa flavor is really rich and satisfying. Our best "recipe" for it? We added sweetened whipped cream on top and added cinnamon stick stirers. On some we sprinkled grated cinnamon stick and nutmeg and on some we shaved a bit of frozen low-carb chocolate bar over the whipped cream. Both ways are fabulous. So decadent for a few mere carbs! Look for it in most major groceries.

09-04-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Keto Kooler Cranberry flavor We've reviewed other flavors of the Keto Koolers , but when I heard they were making a Cranberry flavor, I decided to reserve judgement. You see, I'm one of those people who's "on the fence" about the taste of Cranberry. I love Cranberry sauce and I always liked the Ocean Spray "mixtures" (CranGrape, CranRaspberry, CranApple, etc.) But plain cranberry juice made me whince. My main use for cranberry juice was when I was suffering from a little bladder or urinary tract infection. But commercial cranberry juices are packed with carbs and sugar, so they were out of the picture if I felt I had a health need.

Well, as fate would have it, shortly after
Keto Brand debuted their Keto Cranberry Kooler (shouldn't that be "Kranberry"?)  I had "need" of it. Color me surprised to determine that I actually like the taste of it. It's very refreshing! I will admit I add a packet of Splenda to each serving I make because I like it sweeter. I make it up in the 17 oz water bottles from Mountain Valley or Dannon and take it with me when I work. It's a nice change from carbonated drinks and the glutamine and taurine plus chromium, B-6 and zinc help fend off carb cravings and offer up some powerful nutrition.

I think I'll start working with some recipes to use it in also. The taste is so unique and delicious I can see it flavoring everything from marinades to desserts!

Keto Brand products are available from The Low Carb Connoisseur, The Low Carb Dieter's Page, and Life Services.

08-20-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Tree Star Drinks Okay -- let's say you want to find a drink that's sugarfree, extremely low in carbs, is non-carbonated, is sweetened with Splenda, and comes in powder form so you can take it with you anywhere. Oh yeah, and while you're at it, make it delicious! There aren't a whole lot of choices, are there? We found a great product line from Tree Star Minerals that not only fit the bill for taste and convenience, they also offer a healthy way to get your calcium! Tree Star drinks come in Hot Apple Cider, Hot Chai Spiced Tea, and Pineapple Orange Guava, (a cool and very refreshing drink!) Each 7 1/4 oz can makes 60 servings and you just add water (either hot or cold) for a great drink. And best of all, each serving provides 333mg of Calcium and 133mg of Magnesium (the proper ratio for maximum absorption!) At $18.95 per can, these work out to about 30¢ per serving.

Our recipe for Mock Apple Crisp can be adapted well to use the Hot Apple Cider mix so you can avoid using the Aspartame sweetened apple cider mixes most often found in the grocery (and that lose their sweetness when heated.)

Our favorite? The Pineapple Orange Guava over ice. The citrus-y kick was nice! All varieties are zero-carb and Splenda sweetened.

You can order Tree Star Drinks online at the Tree Star website.

08-08-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Diet Clearly Canadian Are you a fan of sparkling, flavored waters? If so, the new Clearly Canadian diet flavors are some of the best you'll find anywhere. Dressed in spiffy new packaging for 2000, the diet flavors (sadly, only two) can be quickly identified from the sugared varieties as the label design is mirror imaged (reversed.) These new drinks are now sweetened with the growing in popularity mix of sucralose (Splenda) and ace-K (acesulfame potassium.) The current flavors are Blackberry and Cherry.

We found the Blackberry had a true berry flavor (though to us it tasted more like a mixed berry), but was really refreshing. The Cherry flavor was more tart than a cherry soda, but also carried a true-fruit taste and has a very clean finish. We understand the Cherry and Blackberry flavors are their top sellers in the non-diet variety, so we suppose this is why they are the two flavors offered sugarfree. However, we'd sure love it if they'd release their Strawberry Melon and Raspberry Cream in diet versions.

Here's a look at the ingredients list (same for both): Natural water from Canada, carbon dioxide, citric acid, natural flavour, sucralose, sodium benzoate (to preserve freshness), acesulfame potassium.

They are widely available in the US and Canada, but if you can't find them locally, ask your grocer to carry them, or visit the Clearly Canadian website and contact them for availability information.

07-17-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Root Beers Since I was a little kid, I always loved Root Beer. My first exposure to it was a little stand my family would go to in a little town up from my grandmother's farm. It was a small local joint that served up both frosty mugs, and the best Root Beer floats I ever had. To this day, I'd still order root beer in a restaurant over a cola drink. But try to find one served in a restaurant that's diet.

Even at home finding a root beer that's sugar-free and still delicious has proved a challenge. I discovered several weeks ago at a panel group that there were others there that felt that way too, so we decided to find - and report - some really good
Root Beer.

We all gathered all the root beer flavors we could find in local stores and specialty pop places. The brands we tried: Hanks, Boylans, Dog-N-Suds, Hires, Stewart's, Berghoff, Frosty, Canfield's, Fitz's, A&W, Barq's, Kroger's Brand, and IBC. While many of these we remember as being great in their sugared counterparts, creating a delicious sugar-free version seems to prove difficult for most of these companies. Most suffer from flatness, aftertaste or both. But we were delighted to find some exceptions. The runners up were
Hanks, Stewart's, and IBC. But the winners were (in order) Berghoff, Fitz's, and Barq's. The Berghoff Root Beer (a local Chicago brew available throughout Illinois and Indiana) managed to pull off sweetness, smoothness, and just enough bite all at the same time. The Fitz's (from a St. Louis micro-brewery, but available to order online) lacked some of the bite, but offered a true root beer flavor with a hint of vanilla. You can't tell either the Berghoff's or the Fitz's from the sugared variety. And surprisingly, the very commercial Barq's came in very tasty indeed. It was less smooth than the others with more bite, but tasted very true to its sugared counterpart with no aftertaste. Sadly, we were unable to locate any root beer using sucralose (Splenda) for sweetening. We wish Jones Soda company would make a Diet Root Beer since they do use Splenda for all their diet drinks. So how did we end our root beer tasting session? By making scrumptious Root Beer Floats with the three winners of course. (Keto Vanilla ice cream makes a fabulous float!)

07-04-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Diet Rite Sodas Are you old enough to remember when Faygo used to make a myriad of diet sodas? In fact, in those days, it was all they made - they were known for sugar free. Since then, they've become a company that makes more sugared sodas than diet. So being able to experience lots of new and fun flavors of zero-calorie/zero-carb sodas was really limited. And if you wanted to cook with them (you can do some amazing things with a flavored soda), the aspartame sweetened ones were out of the question. Now, thanks to Diet Rite, we have a wide assortment of great new flavors to choose from. And they're all aspartame free. Sweetened with a Splenda/Ace-K mix, they offer variety and great taste!

In addition to the Diet Rite Cola, they now offer
Red Raspberry, White Grape, Tangerine, Pink Grapefruit, Black Cherry, Lemonade, Mango Melon, Strawberry Kiwi, Iced Mocha, Fruit Punch, and Golden Peach!

Most are lightly carbonated and lightly sweetened (the Black Cherry is the sweetest), they make a refreshing splash cold over ice or very well-chilled. The one drawback is that some flavors are regional only, so look for them in your area and see if you can locate them. Between all my travels, I've been able to locate them all, with the highest concentration being in Chicago (they had all flavors.) They're worth the time it takes to track these down. My favorites? The Peach, then Mango Melon (tastes like a Mai Tai), and the Black Cherry, but it's hard to beat the Lemonade on a hot summer day!

The 6-Pack Aluminum Cans of regular and some of the flavors can be ordered online from The Low Carb Connoisseur.

05-24-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
(Review written by Richard):
Most of us grew up drinking "healthy" orange juice -- at least a glass at breakfast. Giving that up has been difficult... it had become a mix of tradition, habit, and comfort. But of course "real" orange juice is nearly pure carbohydrate and will send your insulin through the roof. There are a lot of low-carb/low-sugar alternatives (from Kool-Aid to Tang to Crystal Light.) Some aren't bad, but they just weren't filling that comforting fresh-sqeezed taste I was missing. Then I tried
Ket-O.J., a zero-carb, natural tasting orange drink from Keto Brand. Wow. A big glass of Ket-OJ really is refreshing! No longer relegated to breakfast only, this has become one of my favorite non-carbonated drinks. I must confess, I always liked my "real" OJ a bit sweetened, so I do add a touch of Splenda to the mix. It's very easy to make, just add water, (and any additional sweetener if you're like me!) and you've got great orange juice. We keep a pitcher on hand at all times. And I bring it to keep at work as well. Ket-O.J. contains 500mg of glutamine also, which helps keep carb cravings at bay. And if you're concerned about vitamin C, it contains twice that of a glass of orange juice!

Keto Brand products are available from Low Carb Connoisseur, The Low Carb Dieter's Page, and Life Services.

05-23-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
(Review written by Richard):
Diet RC Cola A dedicated Pepsi fan for many years before my awakening to sugarfree/low carbing, I was surprised to find a diet cola that I'd not only like, but would totally love. But I have!
Diet RC has rapidly become my favorite diet cola drink. It has the best "pure cola" taste of any diet soda -- easily beating out the "big guys"! Unfortunately, unlike Diet Rite (which is distributed nationally), Diet RC is only available to limited markets -- primarily in the southern states. It's a shame because while we applaud Diet Rite's switch to a Splenda mix (it's sweetened with a mix of sucralose and acesulfame k,) it's just not nearly as good as Diet RC (made with all sucralose) yielding a cleaner finish and better refreshment.

If you live in an area where stores don't carry Diet RC, you can order the 6-pack of cans online from Pop Soda. The 6-Pack Aluminum Cans can be ordered from The Low Carb Connoisseur.

05-09-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
DaVinci Chai If you are already familiar with -- and love -- Chai, a rich and spicy tea, you'll be happy to know you have a zero carb option now! And if you aren't familiar with Chai, this is just the product to help you get to know it. DaVinci, the people who have been making all those great Splenda sweetened syrups in a myriad of flavors, now offer Chai.

Spiced Chai is a soothing combination of black tea, honey, and rich spices including cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, clove and cardamom. It is a perfect blend of flavors that isn't too sweet or too spicy. Spiced Chai can be used to create a variety of hot or cold beverages including creamy lattes, refreshing iced drinks, and delicious smoothies. To make a delicious Spiced Chai Latte, just adding 3/4 oz. of Spiced Chai to 1/2 cup cream and 1/2 cup water mixture, steamed. Enjoy.

If you can't find it at your local coffee house or grocery, it's available online from The Low Carb Connoisseur.

05-08-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Pink Lemonade Keto Kooler Summer time conjurs up memories of big, cool pitchers of lemonade served up over ice to quench a thirst like nothing else... My favorite was always my Mom's pink lemonade. Well... I'm not missing it so much now -- Those talented folks at Keto Brand have done it again! Their new Keto Kooler Pink Lemonade is amazingly refreshing and unlike the grocery store lemonade powders, isn't overpowered with a fake citric acid taste. We plan to keep a quart made up in the fridge all through the summer now. It's zero carb and pre-sweetened.

Keto Brand products are available from The Low Carb Connoisseur, The Low Carb Dieter's Page, and Life Services.

12-23-99 - Product Recommendation & Review:
The folks at Keto Brand have debuted two new drinks that will definitely make winter feel a lot friendlier. First, there's Keto Egg Keto Egg Nog Nog Shake! If you like your egg nog thick and ice-cream rich, this is a fast, very low carb way to get that decadent taste and feel. Thickness can be adjusted up or down by adding all cold water, some half-n-half, or several tbsp of heavy cream. It's also great with a dollop of real whipped cream (I make mine with Splenda and vanilla) on top and sprinkled with nutmeg.

Keto Hot Cocoa Next, there's a rich (and I mean "rich"!) Hot Cocoa mix called
Keto Hot Cocoa! They call for mixing with hot water, but I've found that mixing it well (about one teaspoon) with a tiny bit of hot water to make a syrupy paste first (so it's totally mixed) and then adding your favorite mix of half-n-half, or heavy cream with water to taste works best. When I get the mixture the way I want, I zap it in the microwave for 20 seconds or so and enjoy. For a sweeter chocolate, I add an extra pkt of Splenda or Sweet-N-Low. This is 1 gram per cup made with water and approx 3 grams made with the cream mixture. It's wonderful.

Keto Brand products are available from Low Carb Connoisseur,
The Low Carb Dieter's Page, and Life Services.

10-07-99 - Product Recommendation & Review:
BIG Egg Cream I just have to let you all know about the Diet (Sugar Free) Egg Cream Sodas I've recently received! The B.I.G. Brooklyn Egg Cream Soda (chocolate flavor) is a highly satisfying chocolate beverage. Its smooth, bubbly consistency definitely made me feel like I was drinking an egg cream that was fresh from the soda shop. The chocolate flavor is strong, but not overdone. I appreciate the lack of chocolate syrup sitting at the bottom of the bottle. The classic chocolate taste of this beverage makes B.I.G. Brooklyn Egg Cream a top-notch beverage. While it does use aspartame as its sweetener, (we'd like to talk them into using Splenda!) the beverage does not suffer from it.

Don't know what an Egg Cream is? Some West Coast and Southern folk are not familiar with New York style Egg Creams. Here's a page to give you the low-down.

If these are not available in your area (they're not in mine), they can be ordered by mail. I just received a case of 24 via UPS. Contact Jeff at 516-505-5927 for information on mail ordering these great sodas!

Seaman's Sodas 8-31-99 - Product Recommendation & Review:
I've just discovered that Seaman's Beverages now offer a great tasting Splenda sweetened soda in their diet versions. Seaman's are gourmet premium, olde fashioned sodas, from Prince Edward Island. They can currently be found at LOEB Stores, Green Gables Stores, and COSTCO/Price Club -- primarily in Canada, but they plan to expand U.S. Distribution soon. Cool, refreshing, super-flavorful! And they have that great flavor you can only still get in long-neck glass bottles.

8-17-99 - Product Recommendation & Review:
For as long as there has been Jones Soda, People have been asking for a Diet Jones. Jones Soda worked hard to find a zero-calorie, zero-carb sweetener with no aftertaste. Using Splenda® brand sweetener (Sucralose), Slim Jones is a zero-calorie, zero-aftertaste soda that is so good, you'll swear that you are drinking Slim Jones the regular version!

Diet Lime Cola - Rather than make a diet version of Jones Vanilla Cola, Jones decided to mix things up a bit and create a Diet Lime Cola. A most unique flavor! Diet Cola with a twist of lime!
Diet Black Cherry - Here's cherry soda that has a nice old-fashioned flavor to it. It's sweet, refreshing, and full of cherry flavor!
Diet Cream Soda - This one is for those who live the "candy" in cotton candy, but want to axe the sugar. An awesome diet soda with no aftertaste!
Diet Orange Soda - We always loved creamsicles as kids... this is a soda version! A Diet Orange Soda that doesn't feel like someone left glue in your mouth. Very 'crisp' flavor, but sweet.
Diet FuFu Berry - They put the Fufu back into Fufu Berry with this one. It's not just a girly drink anymore, it's a girl friendly drink! Medium carbonation with a clean finish.

If you can't find the Diet versions at your local store, they can be ordered online from Pop Soda, Beverages Direct, and other merchants in our Shopping Guide.

UPDATE June 2001: This product is no longer available in Diet Lime Cola, Diet FuFu Berry, or Diet Orange Soda.

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