Staying hydrated is important for everyone’s well being; but when you are diabetic, your choices feel limited and finding a drink that won’t harm your blood sugar is not always simple. Diet soda pop is not a good choice and will not be included in this list of Diabetic Safe Drinks. Hopefully we have all read the studies on how artificial sugar may spike your blood sugar just as much as regular sugar can.
I am not going to talk about commercial fruit juices or milk here. I am sure you already know the sugar content in commercial fruit juice is incredibly high, and dairy is a personal choice. I would rather just eat the piece of fruit, and I do not do dairy very often. I am going to stick with drinks I use myself. I don’t have diabetes personally, but I have loved ones that do. I do have hypoglycemia which causes me to be insulin conscious because my hypo can turn into hyper at any given time.
But first, I am not a doctor. Nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. Always consult your medical professional before making any dietary or lifestyle changes when you have a medical condition, such as diabetes. Your results and needs may vary from someone else’s, including mine.
6 Diabetic Safe Drinks
I can hear you muttering now as you read the word “water.” Everyone should be drinking water, not just diabetics.
According to a study in the Diabetes Care Journal, the researchers discovered that people who drink 16 oz or less water have a 30 percent chance of having high blood sugar compared to those who drink more water daily. When vasopressin (the hormone that helps the body regulate hydration) levels increase due to dehydration, the liver produces more blood sugar.
According to researchers, women should be drinking at least six to nine 8 oz glasses of water a day; men should be drinking more.
Not in the habit of drinking water?
“If you are not in the water habit, have a glass before each meal,” recommends Constance Brown-Riggs, MSEd, RD, CDE, CDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and author of The African American Guide to Living Well with Diabetes. “After a few weeks, add a glass at meals too.”
Make your water more fun by filling up a 66 oz (2 liter) pitcher with water, adding a cut lemon or lime to the pitcher without squeezing them. Cover the pitcher, allow the water to sit overnight 8 to 12 hours at room temperature. This method allows your water to become alkaline, consuming helps counter the high acidity of your blood and body which is usually an issue for people with diabetes.
My favorite fruity water recipe
Watermelon, berry, mint and lime
66 oz water (Can use mineral, seltzer, sparkling, or plain)
2 cups cubed watermelon, deseeded
1/2 cup mixed berries
1 lime, washed and sliced
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
Add the watermelon, berries and lime to the pitcher. Crush the mint leaves with your hand, and add them into the pitcher.
Pour in your water.
Allow to sit for at least 2 hours so the fruit and mint infuses with the water.
Store in the fridge and enjoy for up to 2 days.
You an either strain out the fruit, discard or eat it!
Hot tea or cold tea, black tea or herbal, tea is low carb, loaded with anti-oxidants, and tasty.
Studies about tea:
A Chinese study showed that black tea has the highest level of polysaccharides, causing sugar to absorb into the blood stream slower. (Citation 1)
A German study showed that sipping four cups a day could lower the risk of developing diabetes by 16 percent. (Citation 2)
Other studies have shown that drinking tea may reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease. (Citation 3)
NOTE: This does not include the sweetened, bottled ice teas that are loaded with sugar; granulated, artificial or otherwise.
Make your tea more fun:
Iced Tea: In a large saucepan, boil 10 cups of water. Turn off heat; add in 10 bags of tea, steep for 15 mins (more if you like your tea stronger). Toss in a handful of your favorite fruit; bring to room temperature. Strain fruit from tea, store in a pitcher. If the tea is not sweet enough for you add some stevia.
Hot Tea: Boil one and a half cups of water, remove from heat, add your teabag and 1/2 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger, 1/4 teaspoon of Ceylon Cinnamon. Allow to steep for 10 minutes. Strain into a mug, add stevia if you like sweet tea. Drink and enjoy. A squeeze of lemon juice is also good in this and is totally optional.
Coffee is safe in moderation as long as you do not overload it with sugary syrups, sugar, etc. Try almond milk in your coffee if you must use cream. Almond milk has fewer carbs than dairy and depending on brand less fat as well. Always look for sugar and carb content in whatever you are using in your coffee.
We know coffee contains Chlorogenic acid, which helps to delay the glucose absorption into the bloodstream and curb type 2 diabetes. However, during my research, I have found conflicting information about diabetes and coffee. Some studies say coffee consumption lowers fasting glucose levels; some studies say coffee raises post-meal blood sugar levels. (These studies were based on plain black coffee.) The conflicting studies make me think that drinking coffee away from mealtimes may be a better option. Another study found on the American Diabetes Association says that studies have shown that people with type 1 diabetes, drinking coffee without food may increase your blood sugar levels. Other studies show 2 to 5 cups a day can prevent diabetes.
Are you as confused as I am? In any case, check your blood sugar half hour after drinking your coffee, see how it reacts with your body.
Despite the conflicting information about coffee and diabetes, I decided the subject was necessary to include here because the experts cannot agree if it is safe or not. This issue troubles me. We are a few weeks away from 2018, medical science has grown by leaps and bounds, but none of the big orgs for this disease can figure anything definitive out.
Each study I have found stated to drink in moderation because of the other health benefits coffee has on the body. Some of these benefits include staving off Parkinson’s disease, prevention of liver and heart disease, and as I can personally attest to, alleviates the relapses of Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis.
4. Coconut Water
Coconut water is safe if you are properly managing your blood sugar levels. Coconut water has 15% fructose, 50% Glucose and 35% Sucrose in it. With that said, you may wonder why I am listing coconut water on this list. Simply put, if you are managing your diabetes well, you can enjoy coconut water in moderation. There are so many health benefits of coconut water, the inclusion is justified.
Coconut water benefits
High in potassium; good for nerve function, unless you have kidney issues.
High in magnesium, good for controlling blood sugar
Despite the sugar content, coconut water has a glycemic index and glycemic load of 3, which is lower than artificial sweeteners.
Improved blood circulation by widening the vessels for smooth blood circulation; a need for diabetics with neuropathy.
Low in calories, but keeps you full longer.
It boosts your metabolism
Contains Lauric acid, meaning it can help you fight off the flu and the common cold.
It is rich in antioxidants: Vitamin C, Folate, Copper, Iron, Selenium, Thiamin (Vitamin B1), Manganese, Phosphorous
It is low carb and low calorie.
Contains high amounts of electrolytes, aiding in stomach ailments like nausea and diarrhea.
Always remember to check labels. You do not want to buy a brand of coconut water that contains more sugar, and some brands add corn syrup on top of the natural sugars.
Diabetic Safe Drinks for when you must have fizzies
5. Kevita Sparkling Probiotic drinks
Kevita Sparkling Probiotic drinks are all Certified Organic, Project Verified Non-GMO, Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Kosher. To top it all off, this beverage contains 4 Billion CFU’s of beneficial Live Probiotics. Probiotics are super important to everyone’s health, and for people with diabetes, studies show that probiotics and prebiotics “appear to help maintain insulin sensitivity, control inflammation and affect hunger control mechanisms and liver function.” Read the rest of the article here at the Diabetes Council.
The Sparkling Probiotic drink is sweetened with stevia leaf. Here is the ingredient list of the Mango Coconut flavor.
Purified Water, KeVita Probiotic Culture (Bacillus coagulans GBI-30 6086, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus plantarum)*, Coconut Water Concentrate*, Mango Puree*, Apple Cider Vinegar*, Mango Flavor*, Fruit & Vegetable Juice (for color), Coconut Flavor*, Reb A (Stevia Leaf Extract)*, Lactic Acid (Fermented).
The little * are certified organic ingredients
According to the bottle of the Mango Coconut, each serving (There are two servings per container) has 20 calories, 0 total fat, 35 mg of sodium, Total Carbs 4 g, Sugars 3 g, Protein 0 g.
Other flavors include Lemon Cayenne, Mojita Lime Mint Coconut, Lemon Ginger, Strawberry Acai Coconut, Tangerine and more.
Now, I am not telling you to drink this daily or all day long. You should always follow your medical practitioner’s total carbs, proteins and sugar allowance for the day. What I am saying is if you really need a fizzy drink that will help chase away your soda pop cravings, this is a good choice. Any way you can get probiotics into your body is a plus.
Their apple cider vinegar drinks are a good choice, with stevia as a sweetener, and ample probiotics. Please talk to your medical practitioner before using apple cider vinegar if you have any heart issues or high blood pressure as some people with these ailments cannot handle the consumption of ACV.
Unfortunately while analyzing the labels of Kevita Kombucha, it was noted that those products contain cane sugar. The rest of their ingredients are beautiful, but with 7 g of sugar per serving, it is your choice to risk it or not.
6. Sparkling water
Sparkling water is fizzy water that is made by dissolving carbon dioxide in water, a process that creates carbonic acid. Bubbles are added, but sugar, calories, and caffeine are not. Sparkling water will hydrate you as well as regular water, but for people who are pop addicted, the fizz may help break that habit. When buying sparkling water, it is important to read the label on the bottle or can; some manufacturers may add sugar and other things.
Make your own ginger ale by adding a spoonful of grated ginger and stevia to a glass of sparkling water.
Make your own sparkling vanilla water by adding stevia and a splash of pure vanilla extract to a glass of sparkling water.
Make your own fruity sparkling water by adding a few pieces of your favorite fruit to a glass, muddling in the bottom of your glass, and pouring sparkling water over the top. Stevia is optional.
Add a splash of cranberry or pomegranet juice for a treat.
What are your favorite diabetic safe drinks? Did they make this list? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
- Institute of Food Technologists. “Black Tea May Fight Diabetes.” ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090728172604.htm
- The InterAct Consortium (2012) Tea Consumption and Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes in Europe: The EPIC-InterAct Case-Cohort Study. PLoS ONE 7(5): e36910. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0036910
- Harvard Health Publishing – Harvard Medical School (2012) Green tea may lower heart disease risk. www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/green-tea-may-lower-heart-disease-risk