Even if you have a perfect diet, what you drink can wreak havoc on your diabetes management. Beverages can be a hidden source of calories, carbohydrates, and added sugars. Oftentimes, what people drink is overlooked as a reason for their high blood sugars.
Beverages attribute more added sugars to our diet than any other source. Over 43% of our sugar intake is from soft drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, and fruit drinks! These types of drinks can lead to various health problems, including:
- Elevated blood glucose due to excess fast-acting sugar. A 20 oz. Gatorade contains 36 grams of sugar, a 12 oz. sweet tea contains 34 grams of sugar, and a 20 oz. regular soda contains 64 grams of sugar.
- Weight gain due to excess calories. Studies suggest that drinking too many calories is even more likely to cause weight gain than eating too many calories.
- Increased hunger because beverages leave the stomach quickly leading to feeling hungry sooner. Calories in liquid form also do little to curb your appetite.
The American Diabetes Association recommends zero-calorie or low-calorie drinks to help prevent blood sugar spikes. The 4 best beverage choices for people with diabetes are:
1.Water. For hydration and good blood sugar control, water is your best option. If you want some flavor, try infusing your water with cucumber slices, lemon or lime. High blood glucose can cause dehydration, so drinking more water can help you feel your best.
2.Low sodium vegetable juice. 100% vegetable juice provides 2 servings of vegetables per serving and is an excellent source of potassium. Diets low in sodium and high in potassium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke, which people with diabetes are increased risk of. These drinks do contain carbohydrates, about 9g per serving, which should be included in your carbohydrate limits for your meals or snacks.
3.Seltzer water. You can make a zero-carb and zero-sugar ginger ale by adding a spoonful of finely grated ginger to a glass of seltzer water, add a bit of stevia and enjoy! Or try adding lemon juice and stevia for a refreshing drink. Canned seltzer drinks like La Croix or Bubly are also good options.
4.Unsweetened coffee or tea. The antioxidants in tea and coffee have been proven to have health benefits. Avoid adding sugar, honey, or sweetened creamers as they will affect your blood sugars. Unsweetened almond milk and a dash of cinnamon is a good option for adding some flavor with minimal sugar and calories.