An important part of making up and following a diabetic diet includes looking after the liquids included in the same. What you drink can seriously affect how you deal with diabetes. Priscilla Benavides, a registered dietitian and health educator with Texas A&M Coastal Bend Health Education Center says, “Ideally, people with diabetes shouldn’t get sugars from beverages. This is because you can easily get more than a meal’s worth of sugar from one drink and not even know it.”
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends consuming zero-calorie or low-calorie drinks as part of a diabetic friendly diet.
Here, we have compiled a list of drinks that you can have with diabetes followed by some drinks that you should avoid so that you don’t have to fuss your brain over it every day!
The best drinks to have with Type 2 diabetes
Water undoubtedly tops the list of drinks you must have with Type 2 diabetes. Plain water is essential for maintaining optimal health- both physical and mental. Ideally, men should drink about 3 litres or 13 cups, whereas women should drink around 2 litres or 9 cups of water every day, as suggested by the Institute of Medicine (IOM).
Water is a fluid that has zero calories and carbs and doesn’t raise blood sugar levels. Plus, it helps in eliminating the excess glucose in the body through urine. If you’re bored and want to add some flavour to your plain water. You can simply add a few pieces of fresh-cut fruits to your water. If you don’t mash the fruit or eat the soaked piece of fruit, there is no risk of increased blood sugar levels. A glass of water with squeezed lemon also provides health and digestion benefits.
- Herbal tea
- Choose from a variety of herbal teas, like:
- Doesn’t contain any calories, carbs or sugar.
- It nourishes the body with antioxidants that help in fighting diseases:
- Phenolic acids
According to a study conducted in 2012, people who drank 2-3 cups of coffee per day, faced a lesser risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The results hold true for both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee. It can also serve as a flavorful part of your liquid diet that's diabetic friendly, given that it contains no added milk and sugar, in order to keep the calorie and sugar count to zero.
- Vegetable Juice
Fruit juices, which are loved by many, especially in summer, are generally heavily loaded with sugar content and aren’t recommended for people with diabetes.
If you wish to drink juices, opt for vegetable juices without added sugar, in moderation. Remember, juices can quickly escalate carbs, so choose non-starchy vegetables such as cucumber, broccoli, and celery and limit the amount you drink at one time.
Pairing vegetable juice with a meal is good practice to avoid any possible blood glucose spikes that might come from drinking juice alone. Some good vegetable juices to have are tomato juice, celery and cucumber juice.
Sabja (Basil) Seeds Lemonade
Also known as basil seeds, sabja seeds are instrumental in losing weight, as the rich fibre content in them helps to curb hunger considerably.
Since they are rich in fibre, they also help in regulating blood sugar levels and are beneficial for people with type-2 diabetes.
Best of all, it can easily be incorporated into different preparations. To enjoy sabja seeds in a drink, one of the easiest ways is to mix them into lemonade. They don’t add or change the dominant flavours of the drinks they are mixed with in any way.
Apart from these easily accessible and savoury drinks, some other options that you can go for include :
- Low-fat milk
- Unsweetened tea
- Sparkling water
- Artificially sweetened iced tea
Drinks you should avoid
While dealing with diabetes, advance with caution when it comes to these drinks. Sugary drinks, specifically, can wreak havoc on your sugar and calorie intake of the day. A list of what you should beware of drinking while on a diabetic friendly diet plan includes :
- Energy and Sports Drinks
- The high carb and sugar content can cause sugar spikes
- They contain only sugar content and no fibre.
- They supply too much caffeine, which can cause nervousness, sleeplessness and a spike in blood pressure.
- Fruit Juices and Beverages
- Packaged fruit juices and beverages almost always contain minimum to no quantities of real fruit in them.
- Sugar content and sweeteners used in these preparations can seriously affect your blood sugar level.
- Soda is one of the most harmful beverages for diabetics, as one serving might contain up to 40 g of sugar, as suggested by American Diabetes Association (ADA).
- It is also one of the leading causes of increasing weight and tooth decay.
The bottom line
A fluid diet makes up a large portion of the diet for diabetes and needs close monitoring, as keenly as a food diet. Sometimes, one drink can supply as much sugar content as an entire meal. It is best to include drinks with no or minimal sugar and carbs in our diets, such as water or flavoured water, unsweetened coffee, herbal tea, vegetable juices, etc.
Some drinks that should be avoided include soda, packaged fruit juices and beverages, and energy and sports drinks. Alcoholic beverages must also be consumed in moderation, especially when patients are dealing with complications other than diabetes as well.