Monday, September 29, 2008

Soda Pop Fermentation & Carbs

I am experimenting with making my own old fashioned diet soda pop. I have not tried my first batch yet. So, if you duplicate my experiment, I can't be held responsible if it bombs. I'm sharing the experimental recipe in hopes of getting help calculating the net carbs.

Old fashioned soda pop is carbonated naturally via fermenting sugars rather than carbon infusion. To cause carbonation, my experimental base recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of white granular sugar (about 24 carbohydrates), just enough to allow the yeast to work. Carbonation happens as the yeast breaks down the sugars. So, I can't help but wonder, how many of the carbohydrates will be consumed by the fermenting yeast? Any science buffs out there want to tackle this for me?

Here the recipe I am going to try:

1/2 gallon water (zero carbs)
1/2 teaspoon concentrated liquid sucralose (equiv. to 2 cups sugar, zero carbs)
2 tablespoons white granulated sugar (24 carbs from sugar, needed for fermentation)
4 tablespoons ginger (4 carbs from sugar)
Juice from 1/2 a lemon (2 carbs from sugar)

Boil the ingredients above. Then mix in the following:

1/2 gallon water, room temp. (zero carbs)
1/8 t. active dry yeast (0.1 carbs from sugar)

Bottle (in plastic) and let sit at room temperature for one week.

The total recipe has about 30 carbs from sugar. But after fermenting, the carb count should be much lower. I suspect it may be near zero but am not sure how to verify this hypothesis. Is there any one out there who is good at chemistry and wouldn't mind tackling this question for me?

Of course, I could get my pop down to nearly zero carbs by forgetting about fermenting yeast and going out to buy an expensive soda siphon with expensive carbon chargers. But where's the fun and money savings in that?

Note added Oct. 11, 2008: The experiment failed. Read the results by clicking this link.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A year off track...

In August of 2006, I started doing the low-carb thing. And, I was quite successful. I stuck with it for a year and lost 85 pounds. However, the longer I was on the diet, the slower the progress seemed. For a while, I tried carb cycling. It too worked well at first but then my metabolism adjusted and progress slowed to a halt again. I wasn't gaining weight, but I wasn't losing any either. Being that I felt pretty good physically, it was oh-so easy to slide farther and farther away from a healthy lifestyle. It has been about a year since I basically gave up low-carb.


On 08/13/2006, I weighed: 336
On 07/08/2007 my weight was: 251
In 329 days, I lost: 85
My goal is to weigh: 236 (top of healthy % body fat range)
At a low weight, I was 15 pounds from my goal weight.

During the first few months off of the diet, I gained a whopping 20 pounds. However, I then began working 50% of my time in Paris, France. In Paris, I ate everything that looked good but I was forced to walk 4 to 10 miles a day. Each 2 week trip, I'd lose 5 to 10 pounds. Then, I'd come back home to Kentucky for a couple of weeks and gain it all back. As of July, my business travel to France has ended. And, I have since been gaining at an alarming rate. I'm now up to 288 pounds, 37 more pounds than I weighed a year ago.

My feet are now starting to hurt sometimes. Yesterday, I realized that the clothing purchased this year is starting to get snug. I'm horrified by the idea of pulling a box of my "fat clothes" out of the attic. It'd almost be easier to just buy more clothes. Buying new clothes would be a form of denial. I could do so due to things wearing out and lie to myself about getting fat again.

It sounds so simple to just go back on the diet. But, why is it so hard? I can think of a hundred pathetic reasons to wait before getting back on a diet. For example:

  1. I should wait until after the holidays.
  2. I should eat all of the carby foods in my house so that they don't go to waste.
  3. I need my wife to go on the diet with me or else I'll be too tempted to cheat.
  4. I like sweet things.
  5. I like baking breads and preparing carby foods.
  6. Carby foods are so much easier to make.
  7. Carby foods are so much cheaper.
  8. ....

I could keep going but the reasons get more pathetic as the list grows. I realize that I have a problem. I know that I am addicted to carbs. The more carbs I eat, the more I crave. The more I crave, the more I eat. It's a vicious cycle. The irony is that I know when I remove virtually all carbs from my diet that the cravings mostly go away. So, why is it so hard to make the leap?