Smart beverage choices for diabetics
Both foods and beverages can affect blood sugar levels, so people living with diabetes must be careful not only of what they eat but what they drink as well. It can be easy to overlook the sugars and carbs found in drinks, but diabetics are smart to balance both food and drinks with their insulin, oral medications, and exercise to prevent complications, feel their best, and watch their weight.
People with diabetes may be tempted to drink less because they’re tired of water, but doing so can be dangerous. Adequate hydration is necessary for managing blood sugar levels, since the body uses fluids to flush out excess glucose.
Just like planning meals and snacks, diabetics must also plan their drinks. This doesn’t mean always limiting the choice to water or tea (though they are the best options). With the right plan, you can enjoy small amounts of other beverages as well.
Diabetes & Water
Water helps control your blood sugar. Zero calories and naturally sugar-free, water is good for your health whether you’re diabetic or not. Studies show people who drink only two cups of water a day have a 30 percent greater chance of high blood sugar than people who drink more. This may be because your liver produces more blood sugar when you’re dehydrated. Aim to drink at least eight eight-ounce glasses of water each day. Try sparkling water or infuse your water with a sprig of fresh mint or a slice of lemon or lime to add flavor.
Diabetes Meets Milk
High in protein, calcium, vitamins, and minerals, skim or one-percent milk can be a healthy option for those living with diabetes. However, since it contains calories and carbohydrates, milk must be worked into the meal plan and drank in moderation.
Juice & Diabetes
Skip the fruit-flavored, sugar-filled fruit beverages and drink small amounts of 100 percent juice varieties that have no added sugars. Low-sodium vegetable juice is another healthy option. Remember that juice is high in carbohydrates and natural sugars, so it must be included in your diet plan and limited to four-ounce servings.
Tea for Diabetes
Diabetics would do well to drink more tea, as it can actually be helpful in managing diabetes. Black tea slows the rate at which sugar is absorbed in the blood and those who regularly drink tea have a lower risk of developing diabetes altogether. With zero calories included and being high in antioxidants, unsweetened tea can be drank to the diabetic’s heart is content.
Mixing Diabetes with Coffee
Like tea, coffee slows the rate sugar is absorbed in the bloodstream, and a couple cups a day seems to be a safe option for most with diabetes—as long as cream and sugar are kept in check. Some people’s blood sugar responds differently to coffee, so if you’re unable to control your blood sugar, consider cutting back on coffee.
Diabetes & Diet Sodas (No Thanks)
The health benefits of diet sodas are nonexistent. Sweetened with artificial sweeteners, diet drinks contain no carbohydrates and little to no calories, but research shows people who regularly drink diet sodas gain more weight than those who drink regular soda and are more at risk for diabetes than those who avoid soda altogether. It’s better to be on the safe side and limit your consumption of diet drinks.
Alcohol with Diabetes
Moderate amounts of alcoholic beverages are generally safe for diabetics when drank as part of a meal plan. As for all adults, women should limit alcohol to one drink a day and men should consume no more than two drinks a day. Before diabetics drink alcohol they must make sure their blood glucose levels are under control. Low blood sugar mixed with alcohol can be a dangerous combination. When it’s safe to drink, diabetics should always sip their beverage at meal times.