Having diabetes means that you have to be aware of everything you eat or drink. Knowing the number of carbohydrates that you ingest and how they may affect your blood sugar is crucial.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends zero-calorie or low-calorie drinks. The main reason is to prevent a spike in blood sugar.
Choosing the right drinks can help you:
avoid unpleasant side effects like blood sugar spikes
manage your symptoms
maintain a healthy weight
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Zero- or low-calorie drinks are typically your best bet when choosing something to quench your thirst. Squeeze some fresh lemon or lime juice into your drink for a refreshing, low-calorie kick.
Keep in mind that even low sugar options, such as vegetable juice, should be consumed in moderation.
Reduced fat dairy contains the naturally occurring milk sugar, lactose, so this beverage must be considered in your total carbohydrate allowance for the day.
Dairy options are also not considered a low-sugar beverage.
Whether you’re at home or at a restaurant, here are the most diabetes-friendly beverage options.
When it comes to hydration, water is the best option for people with diabetes. That’s because it won’t raise your blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels can cause dehydration.
Drinking enough water can help your body eliminate excess glucose through urine. The Institute of Medicine recommends adult men drink about 13 cups (3.08 liters) of day and women drink about 9 cups (2.13 liters).
If plain water doesn’t appeal to you, create some variety by:
adding slices of lemon, lime, or orange
adding sprigs of flavorful herbs, such as mint, basil, or lemon balm
crushing a couple of fresh or frozen raspberries into your drink
2. Seltzer water
Seltzer water is a great fizzy, sugar-free alternative to other carbonated beverages, such as soda.
Like regular water, seltzer water is free of calories, carbs, and sugar. Carbonated water is a great way to stay hydrated and support healthy blood sugar levels.
There are many different flavors and varieties to choose from, or you can try adding some fresh fruit and herbs to give your drink a delicious twist.
ResearchTrusted Source has shown that green tea has a positive effect on your general health.
A large 2021 cohort study of more than a half million people suggestsTrusted Source that daily consumption of green tea may lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. However, more research is needed.
Whether you choose green, black, white, or oolong tea, avoid those with added sugars. For a refreshing taste, make your own iced tea and add a few slices of lemon.
4. Herbal tea
Herbal tea varieties like chamomile, hibiscus, ginger, and peppermint tea are all excellent options for people with diabetes.
Not only is herbal tea free of carbs, calories, and sugar, but it’s also rich in disease-fighting antioxidant compounds, including carotenoids, flavonoids, and phenolic acids.
5. Unsweetened coffee
Drinking coffee might help lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by improving sugar metabolism, according to a 2019 review of studiesTrusted Source.
As with tea, it’s important that your coffee remain unsweetened. Adding milk, cream, or sugar to your coffee increases the overall calorie count and may affect your blood sugar levels.
Many no- or low-calorie sweeteners are available if you choose to use them.
6. Vegetable juice
While most 100 percent fruit juice is 100 percent sugar, you can try tomato juice or a vegetable juice alternative.
Make your own blend of green leafy vegetables, celery, or cucumbers with a handful of berries for a flavorful supply of vitamins and minerals. Remember to count the berries as part of your carbohydrate total for the day.
7. Low fat milk
Milk contains important vitamins and minerals, but it does add carbohydrates to your diet. Always choose unsweetened, low fat, or skim versions of your preferred milk and stick to no more than two to three 8-ounce glasses a day.
8. Milk alternatives
Milk alternatives like almond, oat, rice, soy, rice, or coconut milk are dairy-free and low in carbs.
They are also sometimes fortified with important nutrients like calcium and vitamin D, both of which play a key role in bone health.
Be aware that soy and rice milk contain carbohydrates, and many nut milks contain a minimal amount of protein, so check the packaging carefully to pick the right product for you.
9. Green smoothie
Green smoothies can be an excellent way to squeeze some extra fiber and nutrients into your diet while staying hydrated.
Try making your own using green vegetables like spinach, kale, or celery and pair with some protein powder and a bit of fruit for a healthy, homemade smoothie.
Keep in mind that fruits contain carbohydrates, so remember to count them toward your daily carb intake.
10. Sugar-free lemonade
You can easily whip up your own sugar-free lemonade at home using just a few simple ingredients for a refreshing and delicious low carb beverage.
To get started, combine sparkling water with a bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Top it off with some ice and your choice of sugar-free sweetener, such as stevia.
Kombucha is a fermented beverage typically made from black or green tea.
It’s a great source of probiotics, which are a type of beneficial bacteria found in the gut that have been well studied for their ability to improve blood sugar controlTrusted Source for people with type 2 diabetes.
Although the exact nutritional content can vary depending on the specific type, brand, and flavor, a 1-cup serving of kombucha typically contains about 7 grams of carbs, making it a great choice on a low carb diet.