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Shocking: Why Are Doctors Recommending This Toxic Drink?

I have been receiving emails from the #FoodBabeArmy about an alarming practice that happens at doctor’s offices around the country that needs to stop today.

First, however, I was thrilled by the news last week that Coke and Pepsi both announced that they’re (finally) removing Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO) from their products – which includes Mountain Dew and Powerade. Of course these products are still no good for your body, as they are loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners, preservatives, phosphates, and artificial colors. Once consumers find out about these questionable ingredients, food companies have nowhere left to hide, but some remain in denial, I’ll get to that in a minute.

This is a great win for my friend Sarah Kavanagh, an amazing teen food activist (seen below) who started the initial petition, and also for the #FoodBabeArmy because BVO is one of the most harmful ingredients that is still being used in the U.S., even though it’s banned in Europe and Japan. It’s patented for use as a flame retardant! 


It’s banned for good reason.

According to food chemist, Walter Vetter, PhD, “BVO can build up in the body and cause toxic effects”.  Most shockingly, there is a published report of a man who had to undergo dialysis after regularly consuming large amounts of Ruby Red Squirt containing BVO. There is another report here indicating that soda with BVO caused the same condition, deteriorating a man to the point that he couldn’t even walk. Of course, these people were drinking an insane amount of soda (up to 8 liters a day), and the cumulative effects on your body when you consume fewer BVO-containing drinks is largely unknown because the research is scarce. Charles Vorhees, a toxicologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center agrees by saying, “Compounds like these that are in widespread use probably should be reexamined periodically with newer technologies to ensure that there aren’t effects that would have been missed by prior methods…I think BVO is the kind of compound that probably warrants some reexamination.” Out of the research that has been done, it has been shown that BVO accumulates in your body and is linked to heart lesions. As reported in Scientific American, “After a few extreme soda binges—not too far from what many gamers regularly consume—a few patients have needed medical attention for skin lesions, memory loss and nerve disorders, all symptoms of overexposure to bromine”.  

Given this evidence pointing to the dangers of BVO consumption, can you believe that it has taken SO LONG for Coke and Pepsi to finally remove it from their products?  

There really is no excuse. Way back in the 1970s, the FDA began to question the safety of BVO and put the ingredient on “interim status”, which meant that food companies could use it in products until toxicology research was done. Well – guess what? Those studies have not been done in the last 40 years, so it has remained in our food –  and the FDA has done nothing about it.  

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 11.28.41 PM

With the FDA asleep at the wheel, you will still find BVO legally in these drinks by the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group:

  • Squirt
  • Diet Squirt
  • Ruby Red Squirt
  • Diet Ruby Red Squirt
  • Sunkist Fruit Punch Soda
  • Sunkist Peach Soda
  • Crush Orange Soda
  • Crush Peach Soda
  • Crush Pineapple Soda
  • Peñafiel Grapefruit Soda
  • Peñafiel Mandarin Soda
  • Sun Drop Citrus Soda
  • Diet Sun Drop Citrus Soda
  • Sun Drop Cherry Lemon Soda
  • Stewarts Orange ‘n Cream Soda
  • Diet Stewarts Orange ‘n Cream Soda
  • Stewarts Key Lime Soda

I found it incredibly disturbing that some of these sodas “comply with school beverage guidelines” and are being served nationwide in our schools. A member of my team contacted Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and was told they have no plans to remove BVO from any of these drinks because it’s “FDA approved” and has been diligently researched. At least we know the truth and will avoid these drinks at all costs. 

Also, many store brand citrus sodas still contain brominated oil, so watch out for those too.

And we aren’t done yet.

There is one place where BVO is lurking that is reprehensible – and I knew that I needed to bring light to it. A drink containing BVO is being prescribed by doctors to pregnant women everywhere when they get tested for gestational diabetes – a routine test given to nearly all pregnant women in the U.S.  

Check out the ingredients for the “Oral Glucose Tolerance Beverage” by AeroMed

Glucose Test Gestational Diabetes

These drinks (also known as “Glucola”) are essentially sugar water with hazardous artificial colors and preservatives with a VERY LONG shelf life. They are no better than most sodas on the market – and truly not something you’d want to consume while pregnant. Yet, doctors routinely prescribe this non-carbonated soda to their pregnant patients, without taking into consideration the dangerous ingredients they contain. While it’s certainly important to monitor your blood glucose during pregnancy, there are alternatives to drinking this toxic sugar water.

Realize you have a choice – Simply ask your doctor what other options you have and if they don’t know, educate them!

The purpose of the drink is to ingest 50 to 100 grams of glucose, after which your doctor can test how your body handles influx of sugar. This woman was given the alternative of eating real food, such as bananas. This study showed that eating 28 jelly beans had the same effect on blood sugar in a 50 gram glucose test.  Of course, you’d want to choose a non-gmo variety, free of artificial colors and other nasties!   

An even better option that you can discuss with your doctor would be to avoid the test altogether and monitor your blood sugar with a glucometer throughout your pregnancy, as recommended here, here and here. This is the best alternative because you won’t create an extreme blood sugar spike, and can stick to your regular healthy diet. You will also avoid feeling like you are going to vomit and the dreaded “crash and burn” that women report after drinking glucola – including several Food Babe readers who have reached out to me personally.

As you can see, there is absolutely no reason that you need to consume these toxic glucola drinks. Now that you are informed, you can make a better choice for yourself and your baby.

Remember, I am not a doctor (take my advice at your own risk), however, in my opinion there is no way in hell any doctor could convince me to drink something with flame retardant, artificial dyes made from petroleum, controversial preservatives and GMOs, pregnant or not!

If you know someone who is pregnant or is still drinking BVO, please share this critical information with them and let them know they have a choice!

Wishing you the greatest health imaginable.



Update 12/6/2017: There is now a natural alternative, The Fresh Test, which is an exact equivalent to glucola – but without all the preservatives, dyes, and BVO.

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401 responses to “Shocking: Why Are Doctors Recommending This Toxic Drink?

  1. Saying that something is bad because it is used as a flame retardant is meaningless. Water is flame retardant.

    1. Flame retardants are compounds added to manufactured materials, such as plastics and textiles, and surface finishes and coatings that inhibit, suppress, or delay the production of flames to prevent the spread of fire.
      They are not talking about water, they are talking about a orange/cream colored chemical powered used by fire fighters to put out mass fires.
      There are different types of chemical Flame retardants as well, some are supposed to be horrible for people, others are supposed to be okay. How much truth there is on either side I do not personally know.

    2. Thanks FOOD BABE Vani for this very useful article. I have a big network of people in my life who are all super focused on the hazards of our food supply. I will spread the word. BVO needs TO GO!

  2. I wonder which of you would give a drink like this to their child. Americans are being poisoned daily by the food industry and the pharmacological industry. It is fantastic that we have at least someone looking into this and fighting for all of us. The Food Babe is a hero!

    1. Do the research on What People Started the Pharmacological companies and it will Explain everything. it was the scientist in experimented on the German Jews during WWII that started these companies in this country after the War.

    2. to Don Julio
      As a flight attendant for 20+ years, I witnessed parents giving this poison (in the form of diet soda) to their children all the time. So, parents seem to be ignorant to the dangers of all these artificial ingredients. Let’s continue to educate them, so we can turn over our country’s future to a healthier generation.

  3. I don’t understand why the nurses just can not mix sugar and water in the right proportion? When I was pregnant I got to dring sugarwater for the test, and that worked out fine. Still a nasty experience drinking all that sugar, but once was allright, getting to know I was ok.

  4. Thank you sooooo much FoodBabe!!! I am pregnant for the 3rd time and this is just something I never thought of! I make sure I am not consuming artificial flavors and colors and have turned to organic and “real food” for myself and my family thanks to you! I am for sure going to bring this up to my midwife, so they can give their patients an alternative to this nasty drink.

    Thank you again! You have changed so many lives! 🙂

    1. My doctor let me drink an alternative juice with the same amount of sugar (I had to explain my idea, show her the juice labels and get her okay). It wasn’t hard to find that amount of sugar in a drink at whole foods. I think it amounted to one whole plus a large part of a second container of those single serve Odwalla’s that are in the cold case. It really made me realize how easy it is to get that much sugar that quickly from something that seems so benign because those juices went down much easier than that test drink that I had in previous pregnancies.

    2. In addition to the damage a third child causes to the environment and the economic prospects of your earlier children, serial pregnancies are vastly more damaging to your body than any foods mentioned on this site, with a reduction in a woman’s life expectancy of an average of 2-3 years for each child after the first. Statistically you’d be better off smoking than having three pregnancies. There are many joys to parenthood, but like all selfish luxuries there are costs as well.

      1. Inconvenience Truths, can you tell me where to find the study that shows women losing 2-3 years of their life expectancy for each child after the first? And why doesn’t the first have such an affect?

      2. @ Inconvenience Truths: I was floored by your comment. People have the right to have as many children as they like. To look at children only from an economical or environmental standpoint is not only extremely narrow minded, but, honestly, is just really unhealthy emotionally. Would you have counseled Beethoven’s mother to not have him. He was the last in a long series of “serial pregnancies”. She had syphilis and they were poor. Aren’t you glad that he was born, though? Which inconvenient little child is going to grow up and invent a cure for cancer?

        The environmental impact of a child is up to his parents, not the baby. It depends on choices the parent makes. In my opinion, elevating the environment over human beings is wrong.

        You can have as few children as you like. It’s your prerogative. But it’s also others’ prerogative to have as many children as they like. You shouldn’t be shamed for the amount of children you choose to have, but neither should someone else.

      3. I guess I should be dead, then, since I had 8 wonderful children. I’ve always had a “natural” bent, and despite consuming foods that I once thought healthy for years, I am relatively healthy. Most people think I look younger than 56, probably partly genetics, but I’m sure that clean eating is helping as I age. And I’m certain that raising 8 kids , rather than wearing me out, kept me active and mentally engaged! People were designed to be parents! A woman’s body is designed for pregnancy and breast feeding. I f you are worried about the environment, and women’s health, fight the food companies or pharmaceutical companies that are destroying our environment and our health.

      4. Gail is right…it’s easier to attack women for having too many children than fight the real fight against things like, oh, say, certain birth control pills that disrupt your endocrine system and chemicals in our food.

      5. How can you even compare having children to smoking a cigarette? Smoking will cause heart disease, lung disease, throat cancer, liver cancer, and pretty much any other type of cancer out there, emphysema, increased risk of having a stroke or heart attack. Now tell me that comes close to having children. Besides, I would love to see the citations on those references. Here’s mine
        Not only that but children create longterm happiness and satisfaction with short term stress. Smoking creates short term happiness and satisfaction with long term stress and disabilities.

    3. I hope you will ignore any comments made by ignorant and judgemental people! Having 3, 4 or even 8 children is admirable! Especially when you are a health-conscious momma. Congrats on the new baby!

  5. I just recently had a baby and when my doctor gave me the “glucola” I was upset. There are ingredients that are known for causing miscarriages! I infromed my doc and he reply with “you’re far along enough that it won’t matter besides it’s really the only way to test.” Who freakin’ cares if I’m “far enough” I’m wasn’t going to put my baby at risk! I even offered to drink sugar honey water but no. I ended up just getting blood drawn every time I was in. I must confess I feel bad for my doc fir not knowing. I just hope I left a seed for him to think about. I was always telling him about natural things I was doing instead of the “normal way”.

    1. Hello!
      I’m pregnant with my first and will be doing the glucose test in 4 weeks. I read this article the day after I scheduled the appt. I’m outraged at dr. offices thinking this is ok to put into our bodies in general and then it’s also going to our babies!!! I”m in the process of dealing with my provider. I feel bullied and outcasted. It’s very frustrating! They told me there are no alternatives and that if I didn’t want to do it I would be considered gestational diabetic and have to go to the diabetic center to learn to test my blood 4x a day! UNREAL!!!! I”m in the process of looking for another provider. I”m incredibly angry at healthcare and their lack of knowledge about what’ s good for people outside of their prescriptions and medications!!!!

      1. Don’t let them bully you! and there are some semi alternative – get a random glucose blood test every time you go in, get a test meter for home (there some semi-cheap ones), and watch how much sugar you eat. It is sad that they don’t know; and just another reminder to do your homework and not trust doctors automatically.

      2. I refused. 80% of women on the first test are positive. How effective is a test where 80% of the patients of positive?

        My doctor was not happy with me, but I didn’t care. I asked her point-blank what she would do IF i took the test and it was positive. She said she would make diet recommendations (cutting carbs, eating more protein). So I said I would do that and NOT take the test, and pointed out that healthy eating should be done regardless of any test. She really didn’t have any response.


  6. i am pregnant and recently requested an alternative to the glucola. although my health care provider was not delighted, she found a work around for me by with the at home test strips. medicine is like any other product we purchase, and being an informed consumer is key.

  7. For my glucose test, my midwife asked me to bring a turkey sandwich to my appointment! It was easy, healthy, and I was able to prepare it myself! I don’t understand why our medical community standardized drinking a harmful substance when there are so many alternatives available.

  8. Brominated vegetable oil has been used by the soft drink industry since 1931, generally at a level of about 8 ppm.[1][2] BVO is not used as a flame retardant in any application; BVO should not be confused with Brominated Flame Retardants which are chemically different than BVO.

  9. This explains why my sister, who is still addicted to soda but is trying to overcome it, has days where she can barely walk. She’ll quit drinking diet soda for a day and the next day she’s fine. …immoral companies!

    1. Shawn, have your sister switch to a soda with stevia. Many regular grocery stores now carry it in the organic aisle. Low/no carb or sugar and although water is better, at least she won’t be getting a lot of other gross ingredients.

  10. If you think about it, we are bombarded with chemicals in our food, we put them on our bodies, we breathe them in the air, drink them in the water. I don’t need research to tell me that all these chemicals we (especially children) are ingesting, inhaling , and absorbing through our skin over the years will not do us harm. Just watch TV to see how many lawsuits are made against pharmaceutical companies and other manufacturers for approved substances that were ultimately proved to be harmful after all. You can’t trust our governmental agencies to protect us. Keep sounding the alarm Food Babe. We need you to.

    1. There must be some chemicals we breathe, eat, etc. that are beneficial or at least innocuous (?)

  11. I love your site. Do you have a salad dressing I can make that has little oil.?


  12. Let me just say this. No one should be consuming soft drinks on a regular basis. Not daily; not weekly. Maybe on occasion but for the most part they should be avoided. What was intended to be a treat has turned into, for the vast majority of people, the main source of hydration. The effects are easy to see. It is shameful. As far as foods go unprocessed as close to raw as possible and produced as near to your home as possible. Preferably grown local, if not, then regional. The nearer the farm the fresher the food and the less likely of contamination in transit. Children should not be allowed to drink sugary beverages and for Gods sake why would a glucose test require anything other than a mixture of sugar and water. Oh wait! Yeah I got it; they probably pay two dollars a bottle and charge about thirty dollars for that toxic crap.

  13. I must confess that I had this glucose drink for a pregnancy routine test recently, and read the ingredients while I was taking it. Did not know about the BVO, I was mostly concerned about the artificial colors. I always wonder why they put it everywhere… But now I see that was the least problem on that drink. I did not know I had options to avoid that! Thank you!

    1. Paula, I fell into the same trap you did. I also read the label while consuming this extremely sweet orange substance, but did not feel I had a choice 🙁 Then further bad luck, apparently it was “too early” for my Pregnancy Glucose Test, and it has been re scheduled for my next appointment! I do not drink any sodas, and felt bad while I guzzled it down.
      So I am very upset! I am now waiting for a return call to find out what my alternative is, but I don’t believe my OB is going to give me any other options.

  14. First let me say thank you for all of your hard work! I enjoy your site immensely. I shared this article yesterday and someone left this comment. Is there any truth to this?
    “”Brominated vegetable oil (BVO) is a complex mixture of plant-derived triglycerides that have been reacted to contain atoms of the element bromine bonded to the molecules. Brominated vegetable oil is used primarily to help emulsify citrus-flavored soft drinks, preventing them from separating during distribution. Brominated vegetable oil has been used by the soft drink industry since 1931, generally at a level of about 8 ppm.[1][2] BVO is not used as a flame retardant in any application; BVO should not be confused with Brominated Flame Retardants which are chemically different than BVO.” A simple google search will show you that BVOs are not.flame retardants dispute sharing the.word brominated in them. They are chemically different, this.article is incorrect.”

    1. It would be nice if you link to the source of that information. Cause there is a lot of different info out there. Wikipedia for instance says that BVO has been removed from the US “save” list in 1970 and requierd more testing to be sure of the reactions on the health. If that study isnt done, or the results arnt shared for any reason by now by the users of this stuff maybe its time to take the stuff of the ” maybe” list and just ban the stuff.

    2. has that exact quote on it. More proof doesn’t know everything!

  15. So, a few people drink insane amounts of soda, and all of a sudden bvo is a big deal. Has everyone forgot about moderation!!! Anything is ok for you as long as you take it in moderation!! Food companies are not out to poison people!!!

    1. Jimmysteve, food companies are out to make money. If they kill people, cause diabetes and any number if other health nightmares in the process, it is considered an inconvenience to them at most. If we do not hold companies responsible for the safety of the ingredients they use, then they will not change. Restricting toxins through legislation is one way to improve our nation’s health. Educating ourselves and others about the dangers of factory food is another. Let’s not neglect any way of making people safer and healthier, especially those with limited access to real food for any variety of reasons.

  16. Thank you so much for posting this! I’m at the dr office now for this very exact same gestational diabetes test. I am sooo horrified that they made me drink this and said I had no other choice. I wish I would have researched ahead of time. I never dreamed a dr’s office would give me something so toxic to drink as a pregnant woman! Something MUST be done about this to inform other women and save them from this drink! I didn’t think to read the label till I had already drank it but the flame red color should have been a dead giveaway. Why why why does the USA allow these harmful ingredients in our foods & drinks when other countries have banned them. Soooo disheartening. My poor baby! Worse ever is it is given to pregnant women who are trying to do what’s best for baby!

  17. Went to Kaiser today for my 6 month appointment and was told I am due for the gestational diabetes test. When I asked for an alternative to the beverage they provide I was ultimately told I had no other choice. Surprised that a health care provider will not provide a healthy option to their patients. I wrote the below complaint today and I am awaiting a response. Wish me luck!

    Dear Kaiser,

    I am due for a gestational diabetes test and requested an alternative to ingesting the required Oral Glucose Tolerance Beverage. My doctor explained she has requested jellybeans in the past but that the lab refuses any alternative other than the drink. In addition I would have to use their jellybeans (if option would even be available versus organic jellybeans) I live an organic, non-gmo lifestyle. This drink contains harmful BVO’s, artificial dyes made from petroleum, controversial preservatives and GMO’s. I provided alternatives such as orange juice and bananas (much healthier) and was told lab will only accept the beverage listed above. My doctor advised by refusing this test the risk my baby faces. I am not refusing this test but refusing a drink laden with chemicals. Kaiser is refusing me this test by not providing a healthy alternative, not the other way around. As a health care provider, who is supposedly concerned about our health, how can you not provide an alternative? I am simple asking for a healthy alternative. I am not opposed to sugar just the controversial chemicals in this drink. Please provide a solution. Your current system has provided no alternatives and has left this patient feeling frustrated and bullied.

    1. Ask your provider to use a different Lab that will help you with a healthier glucose option. Just because the doctor belongs to a group doesn’t mean they have the ONLY lab that does this test. You might also gather the information about how toxic the ingredients are and send it to your Public Health Department. Don’t assume they know everything that goes on in the doctors offices.

      1. Thank you for the above response. If my complaint to Kaiser leads me no where I will defiantly look into going else where. I didn’t even think of going to another lab and appreciate your response.

      1. Update….it took a lot of persistence. I was at the point of filing a complaint with the state department as Kaiser would not budge and the lab I could go to outside of Kaiser wasn’t returning my calls about the glucose tolerance test. Finally, Doctor Hogue (who was not my doctor) got a hold of my complaint and was able to reach out to the supervisor of the Lab and together they provided me with the jellybean test. I took the test on June 17th…almost 2 months after my initial request. Although I could not get “organic” jellybeans I felt this was a fair compromise for the moment as I was running out of time to take the test. Dr. Hogue assured me that Kaiser is changing their procedure and within a few months all pregnant women will have the jellybean option. Small victory!

  18. I had this glucose test in the beginning of my pregnancy. When I saw the ingredients, I already knew something was wrong. I expressed my concerns and truly did not want to take it. They said I had to anyway and that there was no other alternative.

    Well, I am 23 weeks and due for the second glucose test. This time I mentioned the facts stated here in Food Babe as well as other sources that state a risk for diabetes is only 5% of all pregnancies. Armed with new information and sources, they still said I should take the test, but understand for me to opt out.

    I would rather not take a diabetes test than take this junk 🙂

    1. I refused the test. There is really no reason to take it. All they do is make diet recommendations if you are positive.
      IMO it is a moneymaker that has nothing to do with health.

      1. While dietary recommendations are the first step, blood glucose monitoring becomes part of your prenatal care as well. Most of us real food advocates would do fine with this, but I decided to take the blood glucose test just in case. The potential complications for you and the baby are serious with GD. Opting out of the test (and the nasty drink) are understandable, but don’t forget to find some other way to monitor your blood sugar and manage it if necessary.

      2. To Britta:
        Monitoring blood glucose is unnecessary, as is most of the testing done to pregnant women. Where are the statistics showing that hundreds and thousands of babies and women were harmed BEFORE testing for GD? I haven’t found any. And if you are eating so poorly that your blood sugar is high while pregnant, most likely it was high before you were pregnant, you just didn’t know. BEsides the fact that bigger babies are healthier than smaller babies. IT’s as though the OBs want all babies to weigh 6.5 lb. If your baby weights more, you did something wrong. It’s fear-based mongering that doesn’t have anything to do with health.

        Instead of the test, pregnant women should be counseled on healthy eating, fruits/vegs/healthy fats (butter, olive and coconut) and healthy hormone/steroid/antibiotic free protein. They should take a class that explains this. But of course it is easier for the docs and cheaper than actually educating people to take responsibility for their own health.

  19. Thankfully due to HG I was able to escape three of the glucose test when I was pregnant. However in my last pregnancy the dr was not nice about my refusal to take the test. I asked for an alternative but non was offered. Despite my attempts to explain that I would do the test it was just the drink I was refusing the dr and staff harassed me. Every appt they would tell me how much I was endangering my child. I felt the harassment was ridiculous and as a nurse I know my facts. I just wish that instead of fighting with me that they would have worked with me.

  20. Thank you for pointing this out. I’ve long told pregnant women about this, as well as the near uselessness of this test. It is highly inaccurate, and is just as accurate as a fasting blood sugar test done with a finger prick on a home glucose meter. My midwife was just fine with my refusing this test, especially due to the fact that I had no risk factors for GD. In 99% of tests that do come back as abnormal, the pregnant woman is counseled simply to stay away from refined sugars and grains, which she should be doing anyway!! So there is no point in doing the test if you are already following a high protein and fat, low carb/sugar diet, as is best for pregnant women. Lastly, Pepsi and Coke are replacing BVO with a different dangerous and toxic chemical, so there’s really no improvement there. I’d really like to see this article point that out.

  21. Many doctors also offer the choice of having a breakfast with maple syrup (I can’t remember the amount). For each of my three children I chose a pancake breakfast with pure maple syrup. That would be a great natural alternative to offer your readers too. Thanks for all you do!

  22. I couldn’t keep that horrible drink down! After explaining (several times and to several people) that my body just won’t tolerate that much concentrated sugar – EVER – my doctor gave me a menu that outlined exact portions and foods to eat so that I could then come in for the test. Even that was hard since my body also doesn’t tolerate pancakes and syrup well, either. She was shocked to find that, after eating all that crap, my blood sugar was very low in response . . . like I’d been telling her and her staff for days.
    Despite what they’d like to think, M.D. does *NOT* stand for minor deity!

  23. Thanks for your post Vani. I remember taking glucola when I was pregnant as a test prescribed by my doctor and I broke into a sweat and thought I was going to pass out and feeling as if I had to vomit. I wondered why I was taking such a test to make me feel so sick while I was pregnant. That was nearly 30 years ago and the impact was so intense I remember it as if it were yesterday. Suzanne

    1. I had the same reaction a few hr maybe not even that long I got really dizzy nauseous felt like I was going to pass out even after eatting nothing went away I felt so bad, I wish I would have known what I know now I would have not drank that and to top it all off I had to do the test twice once in the early stage of my pregnancy and once in the later stage of my pregnancy

  24. never mind the flame retardant aspects of this whole thing. never mind the high fructose content in powerade etc.. never mind the fact that orange crush tastes just plain disgusting.. please mind the fact that this BVO comes from soybean oil.. anything derived from soybean as of yet is not deadly to me… it just makes me wish I was dead when I ingest even the tiniest of amounts….so it is nice to have what BVO is explained here.. it gives me and my family one more leg up in the fight to avoid products that use soy in any form…as far as the medical mixture used in glucose tolerance tests… thank you so much !!! this explains so very much about the horrible after effects I have had every single time I have been forced to drink that crap and then have to live with the results for up to one week after ingestion.. when I had made clear the after affects to various doctors over the years I have been made to feel as if I were just a chronic complainer and a big baby and to learn to live with the “definitely not harmful” effects that I have experienced. of course if I am just imagining the effects then how can it be necessary to ignore them? at any rate.. I will no longer allow myself to be used this way. nor will I allow my family to be put in danger when simple sugar produces that will not make me ill can be used instead.. for those who have never been forced to drink this junk, I suggest you try to get this swill down your throat without vomiting and then keep it down before you think it is no big deal.. believe me it is a big deal.. but the effects afterward are much worse..

  25. Thanks Food Babe,
    I appreciate all that you do. I am an avid clean food advocate and I constantly try to get my family on board. So what if some of your investigations were not scientifically correct, it overwhelmingly makes people aware of the dangers of processed foods. Keep doing what you’re doing Food Babe!

  26. Drinking that once for my gestational diabetes test caused my baby to be born at 7lb 14 oz. 7+1+4 = 13. Unlucky!

  27. I was given an orange drink like this and didn’t even think about it until I got home and looked at the back. I called my doctor and asked if they had anything that didn’t contain artificial dyes since I have been staying away from them. They offered a clear alternative, but come to think of it I bet it still had some other additives in it. I drank the clear version this time but will certainly look into other alternatives when I’m ready for my second child.
    Thank you Food Babe for the work that you do. Thanks to you and a few other blogs I follow I have managed to change the way me and my family eat and treat ourselves. My 7 week old son thanks you too! I even managed to introduce you to my mom and aunt and they send me your links now! Keep up the good work.

  28. This stuff is really bad. But so is the stuff that they want you to drink for a colonoscopy: Gatorade. I really scolded the doctors about that, and then went out and found a non-toxic substitute. I stated to the doctor in no uncertain terms, “First do no harm!”

  29. I had to take that test three times when I was pregnant. They kept showing glucose intolerance but not gestational diabetes. Not surprising that my body couldn’t process the junk! Thanks for the article, I’ll share with my readers.

  30. My midwife had me drink fruit juice with the same grams of sugar for the test. Still had that sugar crash afterwards though!

  31. When I was pregnant 15 years ago I refused to glucose test. When I have blood drawn, my blood pressure drops and I go into psychosomatic shock. I was not putting myself or my baby through that. I was able to go in after fasting for 4 hours, had a stick test for sugar level, ate a meal, had it drawn right after and again after 2 hours. It took a while, but showed no sugar level abnormalities. I knew my body and knew that I did not have a sugar problem. Blood pressure was an issue, though. Luckily, I had a great OB who listened to my concerns. That is the greatest and most important thing.

  32. My sister sent me this article the day you published it. I am pregnant and would have to do my glucose test soon. My last appointment, a couple of weeks ago, she brought up the test. I asked her if there was another way around it, something else I could drink or something, but she said unfortunately no. Thankfully, she is willing to work with me and put in a prescription for a home glucose monitoring test. I just have to test 4 times a day for a week and call them with the results.

    What I found pretty funny is that she had no idea what was in it. I have another appointment in a couple of weeks and will be printing this out for her to look at. I doubt it will change what she suggests, but at least she will know.

  33. I am a physician. They make glucose tablets that are dye and color free. They also make glucose gels with natural flavorings. These are both acceptable options because they are glucose which is what the test is standardized for. Google natural glucose tablets, read the ingedients and find one acceptable and ask your doctor if you can use that. You do not need a prescription to buy or order them. You will just need enough for 50 or 100 mg of glucose depending on the test.

  34. Most women who fail the initial test do so because they eat healthy. Their bodies are not used to handling such a load of sugar at once. If you are prone to failing the test increase your simple carbs dramatically for three days before the test. We have women who fail the first time do this and most pass the second. The ones who do not pass usually end up being diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

  35. Thanks, FoodBabe! Great that this issue is getting some attention.

    I have Kaiser Permanente health insurance and unfortunately they refuse to allow their patients to substitute any other food/drink in place of the glucola concoction. I can’t speak for their national policies but in Southern California, the only alternative that Kaiser offers is for patients to needle prick their fingers 4x per day for 1 month with a glucometer kit, so that’s the route I’ll be going. I spoke with a prenatal diabetes specialist who claimed that substituting food for the glucola drink is inaccurate. She also admitted that the glucola test often has to be repeated when women consume anything beforehand that has a high sugar content (potentially even fruit, yogurt, milk, grains) – so be warned that you may have to take the test more than once!

    In addition, Kaiser doesn’t consider the glucometer kit to be part of prenatal care, so my refusal to consume food dyes and preservatives while pregnant is costing me several hundred dollars out of pocket, in addition to my regular copays, deductibles, etc.

    I had a healthy BMI of 19.4 before pregnancy, have gained the recommended amount of weight to date, and have no risk factors for GD whatsoever. Why would they ask a healthy pregnant women to consume so many toxic ingredients?!

    1. I had a similar issue with Kaiser in MD. See posting on this site from May. It took two months of complaints to them and I final notice that I was filing a complaint with the state of MD against their practice before anyone acknowledged my concerns. A doctor worked with the supervisor of the lab to accommodate the jellybean test as my alternative and assured me that in the monthsto come

    2. I had a similar issue with Kaiser in the state of MD. See comment thread from May. I filed complaint after complaint and was virtually ignored. Finally I advised Kaiser I was filing a complaint with the state of MD and a doctor stepped in and worked with the supervisor of the Lab. Together they allowed me to do the jellybean test. It took longer than it should have and a lot of persistence but it paid off. They assured me that they were looking to change this procedure over the next several months moving forward. Be persistent, get the state of CA involved and ask what other lab you can go to that can accommodate your very reasonable request. Good luck!

  36. I am pregnant and will eventually have to drink Glucola. I did with my first pregnancy no knowing about this stuff. But I don’t think it is a simple fix for me. My doctors send us to a lab which administers the test and sends the results back to the doc. I seriously doubt the doctors have looked at what we drink to be tested and I’m not sure the lab techs have much of a say either… So what do I do in this case? I don’t think I need the test at all because of my diet and exercise regime, but I don’t know what would happen (would the doc refuse to see me?) if I refused to be tested. It is discouraging to feel like I don’t even have a healthy choice.

  37. I just saw a commercial where Pepsi is now boasting about the fact that their products contain 100% real sugar….like that’s really something to brag about? Sure, it’s better than chemicals, but sugar does so much damage! Their priorities are so screwed up!

  38. My former doctor told me to use some drug to keep my HIV in check. I couldn’t pronounce the name of it so I knew it was just something that big pharmacy grew to keep me sick. I know follow all the advice of my local Ancient Chinese Secret Tea Shop old man for all my medical needs. Sure I get a cold or flu once a week and the former doctor says its my fault for not taking my medicine. But the old man says its my body cleansing itself, and he practices ancient secrets not used in western civilization. So it’s just more proof that western medicine can’t be trusted.

  39. I’m pregnant with my 3rd baby and have never showed symptoms of diabetes. When I asked my doctor what other alternatives I could do instead of the drink they threatened to dismiss me as a patient! They said that maybe they could keep me on and just treat me as if I am diabetic and then treat my baby the same. No thanks! I found a midwife I like instead and will be doing a natural home birth (maybe not the solution for everyone though). She monitors my blood sugar with a glucometer, as you suggested also, and I’ve always been in the clear. So fight for your health it’s worth it!

  40. Amen, Food Babe! Another great report. Your work to educate consumers to read labels and to speak out against chemical additives in foods and medicines is extremely valuable. Thank you!

  41. I am so glad you reported on this topic. With my first child I had to take glycola and I passed out. I don’t ever drink garbage like that and I was concerned about what to do because I’m pregnant again. It’s disturbing the things we are made to do for “health”. I’m glad I’m informed now about different options!!!

  42. Hi Vani,

    Thank you for bringing attention to the Glucola drink. I called my husband after having to take the drink at my doctor’s office and told him that practically every ingredient I was avoiding while pregnant, I had to take for the glucose tolerance testing. The nurse was not aware of anything else I could take without the chemicals. I hope this topic gets a lot of attention so safer alternatives are available for others.


  43. I actually checked with the lab where I’ll be taking the glucose test and there isn’t any BVO in the glucose drink they use. I guess it isn’t in all of the glucose drinks. Not saying it’s exactly healthy, but good to know it doesn’t have the BVO….

  44. The reason doctors are prescribing this, Vani, is that they actually do not know any better. They don’t really teach nutrition at allopathic medical schools.

  45. Interesting that someone is doing research as opposed to no-one. I ingested this drink when I went for the glucose test expecting my twins. I fainted shortly after and collapsed to the ground– probably because my blood-sugars were too low since I was fasting…The doctor was not concerned about the fainting enough and I’m upset that I didn’t think twice about doing the test. Many of us follow instructions of healthcare professionals without thinking because we trust them.

  46. The Birth and Women’s Center in my town (Topeka, KS) just gave me 3 choices to make at home for breakfast the day of the test. I’m surprised this isn’t done more! It is a free-standing birth center, but still is under the direction of a dr. and uses hospital labs.

  47. Here in Guate, the doctors have you come in to the office in the morning fasting. They draw blood, tell you to go eat and return two hours after you have finished eating. Then they draw more blood and compare the results. Why can’t that be done in the States??

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