Having to be mindful of everything you eat and drink can be difficult. When exercising or doing outdoor activities, this takes some proper planning. Replacing essential electrolytes and minerals that your body loses after vigorous exercise or strenuous outdoor activity can be especially challenging for people with type 2 diabetes. This one reason diabetics often experience dehydration.
People with type 2 diabetes still produce insulin and rely more on dietary modifications and weight control to keep blood sugar levels in check. People with type 1 diabetes don’t produce insulin at all, so they rely on supplemental insulin in conjunction with their meals to control blood sugar levels.
Both types of diabetes require regular monitoring of blood sugar.
Many hydration sports drinks pack a hefty dose of added sugar and a lot of empty calories. It can be a challenge for people with diabetes to restore electrolytes without subjecting themselves to an abundance of sugar or artificial sweeteners.
Sending your blood sugar levels skyrocketing while trying to rehydrate is counter productive. However, sugar-free options have pitfalls of their own. Artificial sweeteners have been the subject of much debate and controversy over the years, and many studies have proven that they can be detrimental to your health.
Here is a list of the best and worst drinks for diabetics.
BEST HYDRATION DRINKS FOR DIABETICS
Water is readily available and gets the job done. Drinking water throughout the day is a great way to curb hunger and keep yourself hydrated before embarking on any activity. Many times our body reads being thirsty as a hunger pang. We grab something to eat to satisfy ourselves when what we really needed was water. The next time you get a hunger pang, drink a 12-ounce glass of water first. With zero calories, water can be a great ally in your fight against weight gain. The best choice is spring water which contains natural minerals and electrolytes.
Since our body is made up of 60% water, keeping your body hydrated with sufficient water intake is vital to good health.
The only downside is that water cannot replace the salt and minerals that we lose due to excessive sweating and vigorous exercise. Even spring water doesn’t have enough.
There are a few ways that you can naturally flavor water to give it a better taste. Adding berries, cucumber slices or citrus wedges to water is a great way to infuse it with some natural fruit flavor without adding a lot of sugar and calories. Some herbs such as basil and mint leaves provide a refreshing boost in taste as well.
A recent study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed that adding aloe vera pulp to water may be beneficial to people with diabetes and provide improved flavor.
Adding a splash of 100 percent fruit juice is also a good choice for improving the water’s flavor. Just be mindful that 100 percent fruit juice has a lot of sugar and must be used in moderation.
Coconut water is a naturally occurring electrolyte drink. Recent research has shown that coconut water may be just as adequate at replenishing electrolytes and rehydrating the body as traditional, artificially flavored sports drinks. I often don’t put much weight behind research because the people that fund the studies often have ulterior motives. Coconut Water exists in nature, and that is good enough for me. However… it is a 100% juice and not the best choice for anyone trying to limit sugar.
Unsweetened coconut contains 44 calories, 10.5 carbohydrates, and 9.5 grams of sugar. While coconut water is natural for rehydration for someone with diabetes, it should be consumed in moderation. It can also be consumed with food that is high in protein and fat to help the sugar not spike.
Electrolyte drinks come as premixed drinks or in electrolyte powder mix form that you can carry with you and add to a bottle of water. Bulk electrolyte powder mix is a great item to have because you can mix it on the go. Just carry a package in your vehicle or on a trip. You can mix it to your taste or your children’s individual taste. How to mix HYDRATE video.
HYDRATE, is a perfect electrolyte drink for diabetics for an electrolyte replacement solution, and only contains only six real ingredients: organic lemon juice, organic coconut water, organic stevia, magnesium sea minerals, Himalayan pink salt, and vitamin C. it has only 1 gram of sugar, naturally, with no added sugar. GOODONYA HYDRATE is one of the only certified organic electrolyte powders on the market. Organic, real food is important for anyone concerned about their health. Most electrolyte powders and drinks that market to people with diabetes use artificial sweeteners or stevia that is not organic!
But be aware, many popular electrolyte drinks have a lot of added sugar that will send the blood sugar soaring.
Low-fat or skim milk, whether it be cow milk, coconut milk, rice milk, or nut milk, is another good choice for hydration as they provide calories, vitamins, and minerals. Make sure to choose unsweetened varieties, which would give a more blood sugar friendly option for diabetics. It’s also critical to choose organic. The best option is to make your non-dairy milks at home. And if you choose cow milk to only buy raw, organic milk.
COFFEE AND TEA
With so many different ways of enjoying tea and so many kinds of tea, it is a very diverse drink with many proposed health benefits. Choose unsweetened, organic tea to avoid sugar and pesticides. One of my favorite iced tea is Rooibos, which is actually not even a tea but a leaf. It has no caffeine and is full of flavor.
Whether you choose to drink it iced or hot, it can be hydrating and healthy.
Green tea is reported to have positive effects on both blood pressure and LDL cholesterol. Some herbal teas are believed to have anti-inflammatory properties. In particular, licorice root can be boiled for tea and has been shown to lower glucose levels of rats in lab studies.
Black coffee is also a good choice for people with diabetes as it has no sugar and only 20 calories per serving with less than 5 carbohydrates. When you choose coffee, especially decaf, make sure it’s organic!
Patients with type 2 diabetes should monitor their caffeine intake as research has shown that consuming 500 mg of caffeine in a short period of time increased blood glucose levels.
WORST HYDRATION DRINKS FOR DIABETICS
When you are hot and thirsty, you may feel like reaching for a cold soda, but consider this. Drinking one regular-sized soft drink has the same sugar and calories as eating 10 teaspoons full of sugar. That doesn’t sound healthy at all! Soda pop is one of the worst drinks people with diabetes can drink.
If you crave bubbly drinks when you are thirsty, try adding a splash pure fruit juice to some sparkling mineral water or spring water. Your body will thank you.
PURE FRUIT JUICE
Downing pure fruit juice to quench your thirst is also a bad idea. While fruit is healthy and the FDA recommends 5 servings a day. When you drink fruit juice, all the good stuff has been taken out, and just the sugary liquid is left behind. It isn’t any better for you than soda.
It’s more nutritious to eat the whole fruit that contains the nutrients and fiber. Eating a juicy piece of fruit can be just as satisfying as drinking just the juice, and it’s more nutritious.
Most of these popular hydration drinks are often high in sugar and high in caffeine, which means high calories and high carbohydrates. These drinks not only cause a rapid rise in blood sugar; research has shown that they can cause insulin resistance over time. They increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
DRINKS WITH ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS
Be aware of popular hydration drinks and electrolyte drinks that claim to be healthy and say “sugarless”. In most cases “sugarless” simple means there are artificial sweeteners or bad sugar substitutes. Artificial sweeteners are made from chemicals and have been proven to be bad for the body and even cause cancer. Sugar substitutes like high-fructose corn syrup, which is another form of sugar but derived from corn, are not good for diabetics.
A FINAL WORD
If you have diabetes, it can seem like food and drink are the enemy. Making more natural (real food) choices with less sugar and more nutrients is something that everyone needs to do, not just people with diabetes.
There are plenty of low sugar drink options with fewer calories that can be every bit as satisfying, thirst-quenching, and energy-boosting as sugar and caffeine-laced energy drinks. Natural alternatives that won’t cause high blood sugar and then send your body crashing from low blood sugar.
Think of it as a challenge to find natural alternatives and sugar-free options that are good for your body and leave you feeling just as satiated as the drinks that are high in sugar, calories, and caffeine. Enjoy the satisfaction that comes from being your best healthy self by combating weight gain, high blood pressure, and fluctuating blood sugar levels. You can do it!