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What should you drink and not drink if you have diabetes?

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Last Updated: May 13th, 2024

Diabetes is a chronic medical condition characterized by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. It can be managed effectively through diet and lifestyle choices, making it crucial to understand the importance of making informed decisions, particularly about the beverages we consume.

Many drinks have added sugars, making them high in carbohydrates. They’ll quickly raise blood glucose levels. And, because they’re also high in calories with few or no nutrients, they aren’t the best choice.

When dealing with diabetes, the impact of drinks on blood sugar levels cannot be underestimated. This is why choosing the right beverages is essential for maintaining stable blood sugar levels. Opting for sugar-free drinks like unsweetened tea and other hot beverages or flavored water can be a refreshing and healthy alternative. These options offer a variety of flavors without the added sugar, making them suitable for individuals looking to manage their diabetes effectively

What to Drink

What to Drink for Diabetes

For individuals managing diabetes, making wise choices about what to drink is crucial. Opting for diabetic-friendly beverages can significantly contribute to maintaining blood sugar levels and overall health.

  • Reading food labels and counting carbs can help. No-sugar, low-sugar, and sugar-free drinks are the best choice for people with diabetes. When selecting beverages, it’s important to read labels carefully to ensure they are truly sugar-free and not just labeled as “low sugar.” Additionally, monitoring portion sizes and being mindful of overall carbohydrate intake is essential for effective diabetes management.
  • Water is a top recommendation for diabetics as it is free of calories, sugar, and carbohydrates. Adequate hydration is essential for proper bodily functions and can help control blood glucose levels. Remember, staying hydrated with water, enjoying unsweetened teas, and incorporating sugar-free drinks into your routine can support your diabetes management efforts while keeping you refreshed and satisfied
  • Unsweetened tea, whether black, green, or herbal beverages are another excellent option. These teas offer a refreshing choice without adding unnecessary sugars. Green tea, in particular, is known for its antioxidant properties, which can benefit those with diabetes.
    Sugar-free drinks, such as artificially sweetened beverages and diet sodas, can satisfy cravings for a sweet taste without the negative impact of added sugars. However, moderation is key as excessive consumption of artificial sweeteners may have other health implications.
  • Homemade fruit-infused water. By simply adding slices of fruits like berries, citrus, or cucumbers to a pitcher of water, creates a flavorful and hydrating drink that keeps you energized throughout the day. It’s a fun way to experiment with different flavor combinations and stay hydrated without any added sugars.

What to Avoid

What to Avoid in Diabetes

Drinks with added sugars have extra calories and zero nutrients. And they can cause a surge in blood sugar. They’re not a good option for anyone. But you should take extra care to avoid them if you have diabetes. Many drinks you see on store shelves have added sugars.

  • Fruit juice (unless treating low blood sugar) although perceived as healthy, often contain high amounts of natural sugars, which can still affect blood glucose levels
  • Sweetened coffee or tea beverages, such as flavored lattes and mochas, can also be packed with added sugars, as they all contain sugar syrups.
  • Sweetened sports drinks and energy drinks
  • Regular soda, typically loaded with sugar, can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, leading to potential health risks for individuals with diabetes.
  • Alcohol and diabetes is a tricky subject. There’s no “best” alcohol for people with diabetes, but there are alcoholic drinks that you’ll want to avoid, like sugar mixers and sweet wines. Moderation is key.

Regular consumption of high-sugar beverages can significantly impact blood sugar levels and overall health, especially for individuals managing diabetes. It is crucial to be aware of which drinks to avoid to maintain stable blood glucose levels and prevent complications related to diabetes.

What ingredients should you check for in your drinks

checking the ingredients in your drinks

When checking the ingredients in your drinks, it’s essential to be mindful of added sugars. The trick is that added sugars go with a variety of names on the food labels. When reading labels avoid drinking the following added sugars:

  • Raw sugar, cane sugar/juice, brown sugar
  • Date sugar, beet sugar, coconut sugar
  • Honey, agave, molasses, maple syrup
  • Fructose, glucose, maltose, sucrose
  • Corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, malt syrup
  • Invert sugar (a liquid sweetener that’s half glucose and half fructose)
    When initially embarking on the management of their diabetes, one of the primary challenges encountered is identifying palatable substitutes for sugary beverages. Fortunately, there are a variety of nutritious and delectable choices available. Carbonated water or fizzy drinks is one such option that has no additional sugars or calories.

Choosing the Right Drinks for Diabetes

Managing diabetes effectively involves making informed choices about what we drink. Opting for beverages that are low in sugar or sugar-free can greatly impact our overall health and well-being. By prioritizing our drink choices, we can take a significant step towards controlling our blood sugar levels and enhancing our quality of life.

It is crucial to be mindful of the impact that drinks can have on our blood sugar levels. Consuming high-sugar beverages like regular soda, fruit juice, and sweetened coffee drinks can lead to spikes in blood sugar, which can be detrimental for individuals with diabetes. Instead, focusing on hydrating options such as water, unsweetened tea, and sugar-free drinks can be beneficial for managing diabetes.

By being conscious of our drink choices and opting for diabetic-friendly options, we can proactively contribute to our well-being and effectively manage diabetes. Making smart decisions about what we drink is a simple yet impactful way to support our overall health goals.

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