According to the National Diabetes Fact Sheet released in 2011, 8.3 percent of the U.S population has diabetes. Of this, about 18.8 million people are diagnosed while 7 million remain undiagnosed. In addition, a whopping 79 million Americans (20 years or older) are suffering from pre-diabetes.
After a diabetes diagnosis, food often takes the center stage. Adjusting your diet requires an adjustment to the foods you eat and in the types of beverages you drink daily. Staying hydrated is extremely important for patients with diabetes, who may lose excess water through urine when blood glucose levels are elevated. Therefore, choosing the right beverage is crucial as the sugar and carbohydrate levels remain an important factor.
In this article, we have narrowed downed some thirst quenchers and refreshers ideally suitable for the people suffering from diabetes.
Whether you are suffering from diabetes or not, water is the best beneficial beverage you can consume. Drinking optimal amount of water is essential as it ensures smooth functioning of the body’s functions. If you workout, consume 2-3 glasses of water before exercising to ensure hydration. Water is a zero calorie drink and has no carbohydrates and sugar.
- You can also add a squash of sour lime to your water. Lemonade always gets thumbs up on any day.
- If plain water is a bit too boring for your tastes, jazz it up by adding slices of lemon, lime, strawberries, peaches or cucumbers.
Tea & Coffee
Tea and coffee are an excellent choice for a calorie free beverage. Black and green teas are also rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, and other biologically active substances that are good for health. People suffering from diabetes can drink unsweetened tea with skimmed milk, to further cut down the fat. Avoid using cream or honey to sweeten the tea as they are as harmful as sugar.
- Consume tea and coffee without sugar. If it’s not your cup of tea, add a dash of artificial sweeteners.
Juices offer plentiful nutrients and are considered healthy for patients suffering from diabetes. You can create a variety when you consume juices, by having fruit and vegetable juice alternatively. Just remember to keep a note on the calories, sodium and carb intake. Whenever the option is available, try choosing whole fruits instead of juices as they offer the additional benefit of fiber, which is better for your health.
- Drink fresh juice over packaged juice as fresh juice is a better store house of nutrients that helps the body in several ways.
- Vegetable juice scores better than fruit juice in terms of carbs and calories.
To reduce the naturally occurring sugars by half you can dilute the juice with water in a one-to-one ratio. If necessary, add a non-caloric sweetener to boost the taste.
Milk is rich in calcium, vitamins, and carbohydrates, which are broken down to sugar quickly in the body. If you are suffering from diabetes, you can drink one or two glasses of skim or low-fat milk every day. Make sure that you count it in your meal plan (one cup of skim milk provides about 12 grams of carbohydrate and 80 calories).
- Almond and soy milk are good alternatives to full cream cow milk.
What to Avoid
Drinks like regular soda, cold drinks, fruit punches and other sugary drinks raise the blood glucose levels and increase several calories in just a single serving. Therefore, these should be avoided.
Alcohol consumption in patients suffering from diabetes can cause serious side effects. According to the American Diabetes Association, alcohol can cause blood sugar levels to drop for up to 12 hours after drinking. To be on a safer side, consume alcohol only after checking your blood glucose levels. If the levels are within the normal range, then you can consume alcohol and eat a few healthy snacks with it to prevent rapid shifts in the blood glucose levels. Men should not exceed two alcoholic beverages per day, while women should not exceed one.
For people suffering from diabetes, every food and drink has to be measured. Be cautious if you don’t want your sugar level tilting towards the red. Have a healthy and happy life.