An advertisement caught my eye yesterday while I was looking for something to read on the airplane… In the seat pocket in front of me, I found a little pamphlet for the new USAirways menu – it had Seagram’s new Ginger Ale blasted all over it. The ad said “made with real ginger” and now “25% fewer calories.” I have to admit, this got me a little excited – I thought “holy smokes, there might just be a ginger ale on the market that won’t kill you.” But then I looked up the ingredients and found out the truth. I should have known it was too good to be true – the marketing on the flyer was complete BS.
AND THEN… this afternoon I saw 2 little girls about 4 years old sipping double Seagram’s Ginger Ales while out with their mom… I wanted to say something SO BADLY… it BROKE MY HEART. Surely this mom has no clue what’s really in this stuff, right? Needless to say – these encounters inspired me to write this post.
How Much Ginger Does Typical Ginger Ale Really Have?
First of all – I don’t even see REAL ginger on the label – do you? They might be talking about the “natural flavors” that could contain some real ginger, but also probably a bunch of other nasties that you’ll never be able to find out because the formula is proprietary. If you don’t see the word “ginger” on the label – the amount is negligible. Using natural flavors as opposed to real ginger allows companies to use a much cheaper ingredient that usually has ZERO health benefits.
Artificial Color Is Added To Trick You
Seagram’s (Coca Cola is the parent company) adds caramel coloring to make this drink look more golden than it actually is – mimicking the REAL color of ginger. This type of caramel isn’t the stuff you make at home by cooking sugar. This caramel color is manufactured by heating ammonia and sulfites under high pressure, which creates carcinogenic compounds. Getting a dose of this known carcinogen is proven to cause liver tumors, lung tumors, and thyroid tumors in rats and mice.
It’s amazing this stuff is even on the FDA’s approved list of additives considering it is only added for cosmetic reasons and serves no real purpose (other than to trick consumers!).
A Preservative Linked To Hyperactivity & Aging
The Mayo Clinic reported that the preservative sodium benzoate (an ingredient found in many different brands of Ginger Ales) may increase hyperactivity in children. Also, when sodium benzoate combines with ascorbic acid (vitamin C) benzene can form a carcinogen and kill DNA cells, accelerating aging.
Hidden Artificial Sweeteners
The artificial sweetener “Sucralose” (a.k.a. Splenda) is added to keep the calories down (hence the “25% fewer calories” label), make it unnaturally sweet and get you addicted. Seagram’s recently did a rebranding campaign and snuck this ingredient in without telling anyone officially that they were changing their formula to include artificial sweeteners. Recent research out of Europe showed rats developed leukemia after consuming Sucralose. This is obviously an ingredient no one should be consuming… especially if you are trying to lose weight and save calories.
And if you think other brands are better – that use this same “made with real ginger” (like Canada Dry) promise on their packaging, you got another thing coming – they just use straight up high fructose corn syrup that is one of the worst sugars you could ever put in your body, linked to obesity and is likely make from GMO corn.
Investigating Seagrams inspired me to order a homemade ginger ale from my favorite organic cafe (Luna’s Living Kitchen) when I got off the plane last night. Knowing that not all of you have access to this amazing gem that is here in Charlotte – I decided to recreate the recipe just for you. I know you are going to love this! It’s so refreshing…here are all the details:
- 2 inch piece of ginger juiced (or more if you like it really spicy!)
- 12 ounces of sparkling or carbonated water
- squeeze of lemon
- 2 tbsp coconut nectar, honey or maple syrup (more if you like it really sweet)
- Combine all ingredients and enjoy!
- Tip: If you don't have a juicer, you can blend the ginger with the lemon juice and squeeze the juice out of a cheese cloth
Cheers to getting some Real Ginger Ale with real ginger!
P.S. Please share this post with anyone you still know drinking Ginger Ale thinking it’s better than Coke – because it’s obviously not! I can only hope that by some act of sharing that the mother I saw today with her 2 children will get clued in about this horrible drink and have an alternative to share with her family.