My favorite ice cream float as a kid was strawberry ice cream doused with 7-Up.
It’s been decades since I had this treat, so this past week I bought 1.75 quarts of Breyer’s All Natural Real Strawberry Ice Cream and a six-pack of 7-Up.
The results were nothing like what I remembered. The ice cream made the soda taste medicinal—like Alka-Seltzer. At first, I thought the difference was due to changes in my taste buds … or my taste preferences.
Then looking over the listed ingredients, I hit upon my current theory—the high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in the 7-Up might clash with the cane sugar in the ice cream.
Most U.S. manufacturers replaced the natural sugar in soda pop with HFCS between 1975 and 1985. Mexican soft drinks still contain pure cane sugar, which studies indicate is more flavorful and surprisingly less fattening than HFCS. Moreover, even though HFCS has the same calorie count as sugar, it’s less satisfying: that is, you still crave more to drink or eat after supposedly having your fill.
Most packaged ice creams, including Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen-Dazs, use HFCS instead of cane or beet sugar. Although Breyer’s has recently introduced tara gum and whey to its recipes, it’s still using real sugar in its “All Natural” brand ice creams.
So the lesson to take home, I think, is that the next time I try to make this treat, I need to use 7-Up imported from Mexico or else Jones Pure Cane Lemon Lime Soda, instead--just to put my theory to the test