Originally published October 17, 2011. Although I don’t drink any carbonated drinks anymore, if I did, it would be Dr. Pepper TEN. Because we have a history. And The Doctor emailed me. And it is tasty.
On our trip to Atlanta last weekend, Chris and I were introduced, via the ripe discovery grounds of a Quickie Mart, to Dr Pepper TEN.
Being an avid Diet Drink Hater up until this year, I’m still trying to discover ones that I can stomach, and possibly even enjoy. And Dr Pepper TEN was delicious – it tasted exactly like real Dr Pepper – at least to my diet-ravaged taste buds, anyway.
But I immediately found an irreconcilable problem.
You see, I’m a continuity geek.
So when I saw this diametrically opposed mathematical claim on the front of the bottle,
Dr Pepper is a DOCTOR!! And he can’t do simple addition?? How could this be?
This confirms my suspicions that calorie counts on foods are all ridiculously erroneous and not to be trusted.
It probably has some random calorie count of 18.65 but they didn’t want to name the drink Dr Pepper EIGHTEEN POINT SIX FIVE. The marketing department is just using calories as a manipulative ploy to sell drinks. How dare they exploit our beloved dieting tool in that manner?!?!
Now obviously, it matters not whether the calorie count is 10 or 20 or 2.5 – it’s not enough to even bother counting. But as I mentioned previously, I’m a continuity geek.
My crisis was exponentially heightened when I bought my first 12 ounce can of the aforementioned drink:
So, let’s summarize. Between two packaged products, Dr Pepper TEN has made three agonizingly conflicting claims:
1. Dr Pepper TEN has 10 calories per 8 fluid ounces,
2. Dr Pepper TEN has 20 calories per 20 fluid ounces (which would be 10 calories per 10 fluid ounces), and
3. Dr Pepper TEN has 10 calories per 12 fluid ounces.
Obviously, I could not continue live my life burdened by the weight of this illogical inequality.
So I emailed The Doctor Himself.
Here was my inquiry:
Dear Dr Pepper,
I have been highly enjoying your new Dr Pepper TEN this week. It really does taste like original Dr Pepper – something a diet-drink avoider like myself can intensely appreciate.
However, I am very confused by your product, and I always find myself having an unavoidable need to get to the bottom of a good mystery.
Here is my question:
The first Dr Pepper TEN that I got was a 20 ounce bottle. It stated that it had 10 calories per 8 ounce serving, or 20 calories a bottle.
Obviously, I was perplexed. How could this be? Where did those extra 5 calories go? Were 4 ounces of the bottle completely calorie free? And if so, which 4 ounces – top, bottom, or middle? Unless of course you shake the bottle, at which point it would be all hopelessly mixed together.
Despite my confusion, I wanted more. So then I proceeded to buy a can of Dr Pepper TEN. A 12 ounce can. Which informed me that there were 10 calories in the 12 ounce can.
Which led to more questioning. Exactly where are these 10 calories and how can there be 10 calories in 8 ounces, 10 calories in 12 ounces, and 20 calories in 20 ounces? Is there a magical system that always equates out to 10 calories? Perhaps at the end of the assembly line, there’s a squirt bottle that squirts 10 calories in every previously zero calorie drink?
At any rate, my curiosity is making my soul burn within me. Can you help me understand this troubling life issue?
And thank you, again, for coming out with such a delicious product.
Within minutes, I received the obligatory computer-generated response.
Thank you for giving a crap about our products. We will respond to what is probably your petty consumer complaint within 72 hours. Unless, of course, you found a Chinese Cockroach or Taiwanese Mouse in our product, in which case you can expect our lawyers to appear promptly at your doorstep to offer a generous amount of hush money.
(Worded slightly more subtly professional, of course.)
I considered the fact that I wrote my email at 4:30 pm on Friday afternoon, and assumed that I would probably be receiving my follow-up after those 72 hours had expired – certainly not until Monday morning.
But I was wrong. Because, apparently, the Doctor has to work on Friday nights.
Here was the Doctor’s response, all grammar left in its genuine state:
Dear Mrs. Rachel,
Thank you for contacting us about Dr Pepper TEN. Your comments and inquiries are appreciated because they provide valuable feedback about our brands.
The 10 calories come from High Fructose Corn Syrup. When it comes to counting the calories for our Dr Pepper TEN, each serving are rounded according to FDA’s rounding rules. Under 50 calories you round to the nearest 5 calories. Hence, the reason the 8 fl oz serving and the 12 fl oz serving of Dr Pepper TEN are both 10 calories is because when they are rounded to the nearest 5 calories and the result is 10 for both.
Thank you for taking the time to contact us. We hope that you will continue to purchase and enjoy our products.
Also known as sin to an accountant.
To fully understand The Doctor’s equation, I enlisted my Engineer Husband and his four levels of Calculus and two attempts at Differential Equations (one of which was successful) to help me work this issue out.
Here is his equation, which is so thorough that perhaps The Doctor needs to send this out to future inquisitive consumers:
So for all future intents and purposes, I shall refer to this drink as “Dr Pepper POINT NINE NINE”.