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What Are the Best Drinks for a Diabetic and What Drinks Should Diabetics Avoid?

What Are the Best Drinks for a Diabetic and What Drinks Should Diabetics Avoid?

  By: Editors at DiabetesIQ  |  Published: February 25, 2021   
Published: February 25, 2021   

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Having diabetes means being aware of every single calorie (and more specifically, carbohydrate) you put into your body. These calories and carbs will affect your blood sugar in different ways, and in order to prevent spikes or crashes, there are a few things to consider when it comes to choosing the best drinks for a diabetic. Choosing drinks that are zero or low-calorie, is your safest option and the best way to avoid any potential side effects due to fluctuations in blood sugar while also managing your symptoms and maintaining a healthy weight.

 

The reason low or no calorie beverages are recommended is due to the potentially high concentration in sugars/carbohydrates that are present in many sweetened or naturally sweet fruit beverages. These types of drinks can cause blood sugar spikes and unpleasant side effects to diabetics.


 


So you are probably wondering, what are the best drinks for someone with diabetes?

 

Of course, water is the perfect drink, containing no calories and providing additional benefits such as hydration and beautiful skin. However, if you are looking for a better-tasting option, we’ve got you covered here:


 

  1. Chocolate milk

 

Now, we’re not talking 2% full sugar school-lunch chocolate milk, no. You can make your own with nonfat or 1% milk, 3 tsp cocoa powder, 2 tbsp zero-cal sweetener, and you’ll have a low carb, low calorie, and protein-rich tasty treat. Plus, cocoa powder is rich in theobromine (helps reduce inflammation and can protect from heart disease, cancer, and diabetes)!


 

  1. Tea or coffee

 

Take your tea or coffee with a zero-calorie sweetener like stevia, splenda, or monk fruit sweetener and with a low fat milk product or dairy alternative and you have a very safe drink to enjoy at any time! Go for decaf if you are sensitive to caffeine or having these in the afternoon. Teas containing vanilla can have a sweet taste without the sugars/carbs, too!


 

  1. Tomato juice

 

Love Bloody Mary? You are in luck - tomato juice or juice blends containing green leafy vegetables, celery, or cucumbers are low in carbohydrates and full of fiber to keep you feeling full! If you add any fruit (like berries or granny smith apples), remember to count that towards your daily carbs.


 

  1. Hot chocolate

 

This is a great drink to make at home instead of indulging in dessert. And it’s super easy to make! You can use a cup of low fat or nonfat milk, a few squares of dark chocolate (70% and up), a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and some cinnamon or cayenne (for a spicy hot chocolate). This drink has just ~23g of carbs but remember to measure to be sure!


 

  1. Sugar-free drinks

 

And of course, sugar-free drinks are always a safe option. You want to make sure there is no sugar or carbohydrates in the beverage, so check the ingredients, but safe bets are usually: sugar-free sports drinks or sugar-free fizzy drinks like flavored sparkling water or energy drinks (just watch the caffeine).

 

These drinks will all help you to maintain a healthy blood glucose level and prevent sugar spikes and crashes, plus their unpleasant side effects to those with diabetes.




Want to know what drinks to avoid? Here are some of the worst drinks for people with diabetes:


 

  1. Soda/Pop/Coke

 

Whatever you call this fizzy, sugar-heavy drink, I don’t think we need to go into much detail on the reasons sodas are bad for those with diabetes. Nevertheless, just so we’re all on the same page, these drinks have so many carbs that they usually cause a sugar spike and crash even in non-diabetics. Instead of soda all together, try a flavored fizzy water (sugar-free).


 

  1. Regular energy drinks

 

If you enjoy the fizzy sensation and taste of energy drinks, grab a sugar-free option. Practically every energy drink brand makes a sugar-free option, and you will be avoiding >40g carbs and >150 calories per drink.


 

  1. Fruit juice

 

Whether it's from concentrate or freshly pressed, fruit juice has A LOT of carbs and barely any of the fiber that comes from simply eating a piece of fruit. In moderation, not-from-concentrate unsweetened fruit juice can be fine, but it’s still best to avoid it most days. Consider taking a small amount of juice (<4oz) and adding some sparkling water for a delicious and low carb alternative.



Let’s face facts. If you’re not looking at labels or a label is not available to check, it’s probably safe to assume that what you’re about to consume has too much carbs/sugar. And unless you are able to check on those carbs to monitor your blood sugar, opt for a sugar-free option like tea, coffee, or water.


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