how do spiked selzters not contain any sugar if some of their main ingredients are cane sugar?


how do spiked selzters not contain any sugar if some of their main ingredients are cane sugar?

In: Other


Are you talking about total sugar or added sugar? They’re different.

Before fermentation, a drink can contain, say for example 13g of sugar per serving. After fermentation, yeast will have converted most of that sugar into alcohol and CO^2 . If the amount of remaining sugar is less than 0.5g per serving, the FDA considers it “sugar-free”. According to [this website](, any sugar added *after* fermentation will need to be specifically labeled as “added sugar”.

TL;DR sugar in the drink before fermentation is gone from the final drink.

Without knowing the exact product(s) you’re referring to, I can’t comment on them specifically. However, lay close attention to when products say “no *added* sugar”. The “added” is a slippery term often used to fool the customer into thinking the product is low in sugar. It means that the ingredients have whatever sugar they normally have, and they just didn’t throw in some extra on top of that. A product can have “no added sugar” but still have quite a lot of sugar in it. For instance, juice or juice concentrate that is high in sugar can be used to sweeten it, but technically they’re not adding sugar, as such.


Short answer: The sugars have been eaten already.

Alcohol is produced by fermentation. Fermentation is a fancy word to describe the process of bacteria eating sugar and pooping out alcohols. You can ferment anything with sugar and get different results.

Ferment pure sugar cane and add extra carbonation to the resultant liquid, you’ve created a spiked seltzer. Ferment grapes, you get wine. Ferment fruit, you get fruit wine (blueberry wine, strawberry wine, peach wine, etc.). Ferment a grain like barely, wheat, or rice and you get beer. Ferment barley and hops together to get an IPA. Ferment honey and you get mead.

You can also further refine the fermented product through distillation to get hard alcohol. For example, if you ferment corn and distil the results you get whiskey. Ferment something high in sugar like potatoes and distil it to get vodka. You can even ferment and distil cacti to get tequila. If instead of adding carbonation you distilled your fermented sugar cane you’d have rum.

That said, the bacteria don’t necessarily eat *all* the sugars. This is easily seen in wine: the difference between a dry wine and a sweet wine is how much fermentation took place. If the bacteria ate all the sugar in the grapes it will be a dry wine, but if they leave some behind it’s a sweet wine. This gets into the “no added sugar” thing discussed in other comments, since the sugar in the drink is leftover from fermentation as opposed to added later on.

Ingredients are not the only thing that goes in. Process is also very important, because certain processes *change* the basic nature of the ingredients.

The most obvious such process is fermentation. Sugar is eaten by yeast, which produces alcohol.

Ah, now we get in to the nuances of “labeling”. Here in the US, we’ve actually changed the definition of a calorie from the true definition. 1 US calorie is actually 1000 calories or 1 kilocalorie. If there is less than 1 calorie in a serving you can say “No Calories” or “calorie free” so essentially if a serving of food in the US has less than 1000 calories (1 kcal) you get to say it has no calories. These spiked sparkling waters contain less than 1000 real calories or 1 US calorie and that’s how they get away with it. If you travel to Europe, they list calories in kcals so they can’t say “calorie free” thay can just say “low calorie”.