Diabetics, both Type 1 and Type 2, like everyone else enjoy beverages while they eat. The problem comes in when they make the wrong choices and they find themselves consuming them outside of meals, as well.
There is a massive difference in having a beverage and sabotaging your eating plan. You first have to know what is acceptable to drink that won’t cause undue issues with blood sugar levels, and then you have to make the determination of when you can have it. Finally, you have to mentally stay on top of how much is okay and when it crosses the line into unhealthy.
Sodas are a common beverage for diabetics and, when consumed in moderation, the right beverage is fine… for a while. Of course, the better option would be to eliminate them altogether, but some people have a problem making that decision. Slowly weaning off of them will give a person the ability to one day put them down altogether.
Some may contend substituting diet sodas are the answer, but this is actually not the case. Giving your body an artificially sweetened drink may give it a sense of being tricked into thinking that it will gain a sugary treat, when in fact it is being fooled. The body will often respond by demanding it receive what was intended… sugar.
Another problem with diet drinks are that diabetics often use them as a way to justify overeating. While a diet drink does reduce calories, it is not a free pass to consume more calories. In the end, it is still overeating… no matter what you are drinking.
So what about fruit juice instead of soda? Since they are made from fruit they have to be healthier, right? Wrong! While fruit juices are often derived from fruit, they contain massive amounts of sugar… the problem is the fiber has been removed in the juicing process. Also one glass of juice contains at least three or four pieces of fruit; often sugar has also been added. Take a look at the label of your favorite fruit juice and you’ll see that downing one of these is like ringing the dinner bell for spiked blood sugar. Plus, it tends to crank up your sugar cravings, which leads to more sugar.
What to drink instead?
Any of the following is fine:
- The best choice for a diabetic is to drink lots of water. While this might not be appealing during meals, there are ways around it. Squeezing a little lemon or lime juice into water gives it taste and doesn’t add any of the bad stuff. There may also be powders that can be added to water, on occasion, when you just have to have a little more than plain water.
- Sparkling water (plain or calorie-free flavored)
- Unsweetened ice tea
- Coffee. Coffee can raise your blood sugar levels, so if you find this to be the case change to decaf.
Moderation will be the key.