What to Drink With Diabetes

Lots of focus is put on the food you eat, but what about the drinks? Beverages also affect your blood sugar levels, weight and ultimately your health. Of course, pure, clean water is always the best choice. You can never go wrong with water. You stay hydrated, there are no calories, and it doesn’t change your blood sugar levels! So, when you can, stick to water.

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What Beverages to Avoid

The American Diabetes Association suggests diabetics avoid soda or any sugary beverage. This is because they raise your blood sugar levels very quickly. For an occasional soda pop, ADA recommends diet soda without carbohydrates.

Sugary drinks such as fruit punch, regular sodas, fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweet tea, all raise blood sugar. Also, they are often hundreds of calories in one glass! For example:

  • 8 ounces of a fruit punch or other fruit drink has around 100 calories and 30g of carbohydrates.

  • 12 ounces of a regular soda provides around 150 calories, 40g of carbohydrates. That’s the same as 10 tsps of straight sugar!

What to Choose Instead

While it is always best to choose water, sometimes variety is a good thing. Here’s a few options for those days when you want something a bit different.

Unsweetened Tea – There is an incredible amount of variety in teas. Manufactured tea bags, or loose teas, hot or cold, give you a world of choices. See if there is a tea store in your area, or online, where you can try a sample pack. You might just find a new favorite.

Infused Water – This is just a fancy term for putting fruits or vegetables, and sometimes herbs or spices, into water. The flavors infuse themselves into the water, like a mild juice or tea. Search for recipe combinations. Cucumber and mint is a favorite at many spas. Treat yourself.

Coffee – Regular coffee doesn’t have any calories so it can be healthy. It’s the things we add to the coffee like cream and sugar, or sweeteners, and non-dairy creamers that add the calories and the carbohydrates. So, use small amounts or take your coffee black to have the smallest impact on your blood sugar.

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Milk and Alternatives

Count any milk you drink in your daily meal plan. An 8 ounce cup of skim milk has around 12g of carbohydrates, and 80 calories. Consider the other options of soy, rice, or almond milks.

Pure Fruit Juice

Juice is packed with carbohydrates. 4 ounces can contain 15g of carbohydrates and 50+ calories. Check the label and only drink 100% juice. Be sure there is not any added sugar.

Deciding on a beverage can be difficult when you are out eating in a restaurant. Be sure to plan your choice before arriving so you are not faced with the stress of making the decision on the spot. The more deliberate your food choices, the more likely you are to get control of your blood sugar levels. When you have your levels under control, you are more likely to have extra testing supplies. Once you have extra supplies you can get cash for test strips. Reward yourself.