No Sugar, No Caffeine Nowhere to be found.
July 24, 2009 12:30 PM   Subscribe

Where can I find sugar and caffeine free fountain drinks?

I crave the occasional fountain soda. It is an itch that just can't be scratched by bottled/canned or non-carbonated beverages. The problem is my doctor recently pulled me off caffeine, ending my twenty year love affair with that sweet stimulant, and I hate sugary sodas (ugh, so thick and sticky).

So now it is much harder to find a fountain drink that meets my needs (diet versions of clear sodas, grape/orange flavors or rootbeers tend to be good). The two places I've found are Panera Bread (diet-caffeine free coke) Sonic Drive through (Diet Sprite). Anyone else know of any others I may have missed here this part of the country (I'm in central Ohio) especially a convenience store-gas station chain open late?

Thanks much!
posted by Jezztek to Food & Drink (35 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried mineral water? It totally does the trick for me. I'm talking about Perrier, etc. Make sure you get "sparkling" / with bubbles. Yes, it's more expensive than water, but so what? So are fountain drinks / soda.

Note: it will not taste sweet or caffeinated - but that's OK. Just don't expect it to taste sweet. Bonus: no artificial sweeteners, artificial color, etc.
posted by amtho at 12:48 PM on July 24, 2009

There are a number of places that have Minute Maid Light Lemonade. I think it's about 5 calories per eight ounces, and it's no sugar or caffeine. I've gotten it at McDonald's and Subway, as well as a number of sit-down places to eat.

If you are near a Chcik-fil-A, they have a diet lemonade which is one of the best diet and caffeine free drinks I've ever had.
posted by SpacemanStix at 12:48 PM on July 24, 2009

Wawa if you got it.
posted by Pax at 12:50 PM on July 24, 2009

Best answer: Wendy's has Fresca.
posted by jmmpangaea at 12:51 PM on July 24, 2009

especially a convenience store-gas station chain open late?

Convenience store-gas station chains that ARE open late are open for the purpose of selling sugar, caffeine and cigarettes to the over worked/tired/drunk masses to get them through the night.

If you frequent one of these places, consider asking them to carry your beverage of choice. I have asked a local all night deli to carry white chocolate Kit Kat bars and they gladly complied. You never know until you ask the manager. Also, I drink a lot of seltzer. Everybody has that.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:54 PM on July 24, 2009

My Wendy's has the Minute Maid Lite Lemonade as well.
posted by cgg at 12:58 PM on July 24, 2009

Diet Barq's Root Beer.
posted by sharkfu at 1:01 PM on July 24, 2009

Sorry, strike that. I don't think Diet Barq's is available as a fountain drink. I apologize.
posted by sharkfu at 1:03 PM on July 24, 2009

At the mega-super-gas-station here in Savannah, caffeine free Diet Coke and Pepsi are sold at the fountain.

Does Central Ohio have a meg-super-gas-station?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:10 PM on July 24, 2009

In most markets, Barq's has caffeine (Utah is the only exception to this that I know of).

I don't drink any caffeine either, and I've never actually seen a caffeinated Barq's rootbeer. I live in PA right now, but this has also been true for me in NJ, NY, and IN. Sort of puzzling! Anyway, diet root beer and cream sodas are pretty good. Next time you're at a fountain, look to see if they have a little "soda" tab. They have this at Panera and Costco by us. The minute maid light lemonade is pretty prevalent too.
posted by theantikitty at 1:21 PM on July 24, 2009

Best answer: Noodles and Company has Fresca too. Watch out for orange and cream sodas... some of them have caffeine.
posted by Kimberly at 1:27 PM on July 24, 2009

I drink fruit juice diluted about 3 times as much soda water. (I think I picked up the idea from askme.) It's the perfect amount of sweet and still has the bite of carbonation. It also contains actual phytonutrients.

My favorite is grape-blueberry-pomegranate juice.
posted by 517 at 1:32 PM on July 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

It still has sugar though, sorry.
posted by 517 at 1:35 PM on July 24, 2009

In most markets, Barq's has caffeine (Utah is the only exception to this that I know of).

Diet Barq's according to Wikipedia and my recollections never has caffeine:

Diet Barq's, which contains no caffeine.
posted by chiefthe at 1:39 PM on July 24, 2009

Best answer: Barq's has caffeine - although most root beers don't.
Most of the Speedways near me have Diet/Caffeine Free Coke
posted by TuxHeDoh at 1:40 PM on July 24, 2009

If you're near a Sheetz, they usually have a large fountain selection. I don't know about central OH, but I've seen them farther east.
posted by BlooPen at 1:54 PM on July 24, 2009

The Burger Kings in my area all carry caffeine-free Diet Coke.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:56 PM on July 24, 2009

Some 7-elevens in my area (NYC) have Gatorade G2 on tap. It's not entirely sugar free, but it is very low in that and calories and is caffeine free.
posted by cmgonzalez at 2:08 PM on July 24, 2009

If there are QuikTrip stores in your neck of the woods, you'll find some options on their well-stocked fountains. QuikTrip is the best convenience store ever.
posted by Shohn at 2:08 PM on July 24, 2009

Might homemade work for you? (I don't have one of these, but some friends of mine love theirs.)
posted by Zed at 2:10 PM on July 24, 2009

The World Famous: "Diet Barq's Root Beer.

In most markets, Barq's has caffeine (Utah is the only exception to this that I know of).

Just to clarify: (regular) Barq's Root Beer has caffeine (15mg / 8 FL OZ) and Diet Barq's Root Beer has no caffeine, as confirmed by the Coca-Cola nutrition breakdown. (PDF link, has other Coca-Cola brand-owned soft drinks listed that are caffeine free).

Although I still haven't seen Diet Barq's available as a fountain option in my area. (Sorry, OP)
posted by sharkfu at 2:47 PM on July 24, 2009

Best answer: Steak 'n Shake has Caffeine Free Diet Coke on tap. It is my new favorite restaurant.
posted by cereselle at 2:56 PM on July 24, 2009

Best answer: Panera Bread often has diet caffeine free pepsi, and California Tortiilla has diet caffeine free coke, if you have those in your area. Those are the only sit-down fast-foodish places that I know of that have diet caffeine free stuff typically. I frequent them for similar reasons as you, nothing quite compares to a fountain soda with lots of ice and free refills.
posted by bluejayk at 3:04 PM on July 24, 2009

Basically what you're describing is carbonated juice. You can buy plain old carbonated water (most soda fountains have a little tab labeled "soda" that dispenses pure carbonated water) and mix it with any juice of your choice--you might also try mixing it with any other non-milky drinks, like teas. (I think I remember that Root Beer was originally just iced Root Tea with carbonation and extra sugar.)
posted by brenton at 3:09 PM on July 24, 2009

If you are ever on a trip through Utah, make a point to stop and get fountain soda as frequently as possible. It is the only place I have ever been where I can get Sprite Zero on tap almost everywhere.
posted by Sheppagus at 3:16 PM on July 24, 2009

Grocery store? Not from a fountain but the same thing and more selection.
posted by wongcorgi at 3:30 PM on July 24, 2009

Best answer: Boston Market often has CF Diet Coke.
posted by callmejay at 3:37 PM on July 24, 2009

Have you tried other drinks at Sonic? Their diet cherry limeade is fantastic. They have a lot of sugar free options and I believe they will mix and match some flavors for you as well.
posted by beandip at 3:41 PM on July 24, 2009

FWIW, the only difference between fountain soda and canned/bottled is the ice which dilutes it more. Just get a cup of ice and you're set.
posted by wongcorgi at 3:44 PM on July 24, 2009

OP specifically stated that soda from a bottle or a can wasn't what she wanted. Even if the difference is only psychological, it's different.
posted by bluejayk at 4:37 PM on July 24, 2009

You already know this, but orange soda ALWAYS (AFAIK) has caffeine. When I found this out it was the opposite of The World Famous's revelation.
posted by condour75 at 5:17 PM on July 24, 2009

but orange soda ALWAYS (AFAIK) has caffeine

Not true. Shasta orange doesn't.
posted by SpacemanStix at 6:47 PM on July 24, 2009

Or at least, Diet Shasta doesn't. Now Sunkist, it broke my heart.
posted by SpacemanStix at 6:47 PM on July 24, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks much a lot of good suggestions in here!
posted by Jezztek at 8:01 PM on July 24, 2009

Not sure if you're looking for places that carry diet caffiene free Coke/Pepsi, but if you are I can tell you that in my experience it's generally places that try to market themselves as somewhat healthy--think Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 7:15 AM on July 25, 2009

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