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The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with diabetes avoid drinking sugar-containing beverages such as soda because it will raise blood glucose quickly and add several hundreds of calories in one serving. If you feel the need to drink soda, they recommend diet soda because it contains zero carbohydrates and will not raise blood glucose levels. They also recommend drinking calorie-free or very low-calorie beverages. This includes water, unsweetened teas, coffee, and diet soda. There are other options too, such as low-calorie drinks and drink mixes which can be found in most grocery stores. You can also try flavoring your water with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice for a refreshing drink with some flavor.
Soda, fruit punch, sports drinks, energy drinks, and other sugary beverages are bad enough for the general population, but theyre even more damaging if you have diabetes or prediabetes. For starters, they load you up on calories, the kind of sneaky calories that don't make you feel full the way the equivalent calories would from vegetables, chicken or other solid foods. So it's easy to sip your way to calorie overload; the last thing you need when you're trying to combat prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, as both conditions are triggered by excess body fat.
And then there are all the carbs -- a cup of cola or fruit punch runs about 30 grams of carbs -- that's nearly a meal's worth! These carbs are pure sugar, which can quickly send your blood sugar soaring. And they're devoid of antioxidants and other healthy compounds which are important to helping you counter complications of diabetes such as heart disease. It doesn't matter whether the drink is sweetened with sugar, fruit juice sweetener, high fructose corn syrup or other calorie-containing sweeteners. They all contain about the same number of carbs and calories -- nutritionally empty calories. Despite what you may have heard, the research is not showing that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is any worse for you than other sweeteners. It's 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose, which is nearly identical to white sugar's 50/50 split. The reason you see so much HFCS in foods is because it's cheaper than sugar If you're in the habit of downing sweetened drinks, try stopping today and instead drink water or any of the suggested beverages below. If you’re feeling too deprived, have one calorie-free, artificially-sweetened drink a day. But eventually, try to wean yourself off of these, too. Diet drinks are so sweet that they make it hard to appreciate less sweet foods and drinks, perpetuating sweet cravings. Ironically, this may actually make it harder for you to stay away from sweets, and could make it more difficult to lose weight or stick to a healthy weight.
- Sparkling water (plain or calorie-free, flavored)
- Unsweetened iced tea
- Hot tea*
* The caffeine in these beverages may raise blood sugar; if it happens to you, switch to decaf.
In addition to the beverages listed above, you should also be drinking fat-free or one percent milk, or calcium-enriched soymilk.
This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.