These days I’m drinking lots of lemonade for you. I’m testing all the brands of lemon juice that I can find.
Actually, drinking lemonade on the job is one of the best things that I do for myself. It’s both the healthiest and tastiest drink I know.
Using acidic foods, like lemon and vinegar, is an excellent way for those of us with diabetes to control our blood glucose. And lemonade tastes a lot better than vinegar.
If you make your lemonade with Splenda or stevia, this lemonade has essentially no carbohydrates and no calories. Every sweetener - natural or artificial - has its friends and foes, and I won’t argue the case for any particular sweetener here. Just use the sweetener of your choice.
My research on lemonade started more than half a year ago, when Grand Brands LLC in Baltimore sent me that company’s first product, packets of TrueLemon. I liked it so much that I wrote an item about it in my "Diabetes Update" newsletter.
A few days ago Grand Brands Vice President Heidi Carney told me that they had so much response from my newsletter that they were sending me more. This time they sent not only more TrueLemon packets but also three new products: TrueLime packets and shaker bottles of each.
None of the other lemon (or lime) juice products are as convenient, particularly in comparison with the new shaker bottles. For one thing, the other brands of lemon juices all require refrigeration after opening. TrueLemon products have all natural ingredients, although they do contain a small amount of maltodextrin, a bulking agent that I would prefer to avoid.
And I like the taste of two other brands better.
I don’t mean ReaLemon, the pioneer brand in this field, now owned by Cadbury Schweppes and marketed by its American subsidiary, Motts. ReaLemon has been available longer than I have, since 1934 in fact. I remember it well enough from the old days not to include it in my new taste tests.
Both ReaLemon and store brands like Kroger Lemon Juice are made from concentrate. Squeez-Eez from Concord Foods, is reconstituted lemon juice. This doesn’t do anything positive for its flavor.
But, there are two great products. I can’t decide which one I like better.
Santa Cruz Organic lemon juice is a brand of Smucker Quality Beverages Inc. This lemon juice is generally sold in natural food stores, rather than in supermarkets.
It would make Linus in the Peanuts comic strip happy. He decided not to drink something when he saw what it said on the side of the package. "It’s full of ingredients" he exclaimed.
There is just one ingredient in Santa Cruz Organic lemon juice. It is "organic lemon juice" and it is not from concentrate.
The other lemon juice I like the taste of is Volcano Lemon Burst from Dream Foods International. I don’t like the packaging - a plastic lemon - but nobody’s perfect.
Volcano Lemon Burst isn’t made from concentrate either. It does have a couple more ingredients than Santa Cruz Organic’s juice - lemon oil and citric acid.
Both Santa Cruz Organic and Volcano Lemon Burst have store locators on their websites. Both of them offer lime juice too.
Making lemonade from these great products is only one of many things you can to with them. I sprinkle some on salads, fish, meat, chicken. Mixed with olive oil there is no better salad dressing.
Especially now that warm weather is coming we all need to drink more water. Adding some lemon juice to it is the best incentive to do this that I know.
David Mendosa is a journalist who learned in 1994 that he has type 2 diabetes, which he now writes about exclusively. He has written thousands of diabetes articles, two books about it, created one of the first diabetes websites, and publishes the monthly newsletter, “Diabetes Update.” His very low-carbohydrate diet, current A1C level of 5.3, and BMI of 19.8 keep his diabetes in remission without any drugs. He can be found on Twitter @davidmendosa and on Facebook at David Mendosa.