. Hydration Hacks for Diabetes: Refreshing and Blood Sugar-Friendly Beverage Options

Hydration Hacks for Diabetes: Refreshing and Blood Sugar-Friendly Beverage Options

Staying hydrated and avoiding beverage boredom while managing diabetes can be a challenge.  Many people get sick of drinking plain old water but don’t know what other options to turn to and may wonder about questions such as:

  • How much water is enough?
  • Does water actually lower blood sugar? 
  • Are sugar-free energy drinks okay to drink?
  • What about diet soda?

This blog post answers all of these questions and more and is a comprehensive guide to navigating different blood sugar-friendly beverage options to help you achieve optimal variety and hydration. Let’s dive in to learn more.

Water Reigns Supreme

Although there are many beverage options available, remember that water truly is the gold standard for hydration and it is important to always include plenty of water intake daily.

Water helps flush out excess sugar through the urine, helping to prevent high blood sugar levels. Staying hydrated also keeps the kidneys healthy, which can be susceptible to damage in diabetes.  Water also helps manage thirst, aids in digestion, and supports circulation making it crucial for managing diabetes and feeling your best. 

If you are trying to increase your water intake, here are a few tips:

  • Try infusing your water with some fruit, veggies, or fresh herbs such as strawberries and lemons or cucumber and mint.
  • Get a water bottle that brings you joy and keep it with you, refill it several times throughout the day.
  • Use a water tracking app such as WaterMinder, Waterllama, or Plant Nanny to help ensure you are getting enough water every day.
  • Change up the temperature of your H2O.  If it is cold outside, a nice cup of hot water with some lemon might be comforting.  If it is a blistering hot summer day, treat yourself to a large glass of ice water.

How Much Water Do I Need?

While the classic “eight glasses a day” rule is a typical starting point that you may have heard, your ideal water intake is actually individualized based off of several factors like your weight, activity level, and even the climate you’re in.

A simple way to estimate your baseline water needs is to multiply your body weight in pounds by 0.67. This gives you the number of ounces of water you should aim for daily. You will need to increase this futher if you are doing intense exercise or in a hot climate and sweating a lot.

Does Water Lower Blood Sugar?


You have probably heard that if your blood sugar is elevated, you should drink water to help it come down. While water itself doesn’t directly lower blood sugar, it can play a role in influencing blood sugar levels by preventing dehydration, flushing out extra sugar through the urine, and keeping the kidneys healthy.

When you’re dehydrated, your blood volume decreases, making the concentration of glucose in your blood appear higher. Drinking water helps prevent this, maintaining a healthy blood volume and diluting the concentration of glucose.

So, while water isn’t exactly a magic bullet for lowering blood sugar, its crucial role in hydration and kidney function makes it an important part of managing blood sugar levels, especially for individuals with diabetes.

Exploring Sugar-Free Alternatives

Even for those who love water, it can still get boring from time to time.  Below are some other beverage options that have very little, if any, impact on blood sugar.

Non-Caffeinated Drink Ideas

  • Flavored sparkling water (unsweetened): Many flavor varieties are available including fruit, floral, and herbal flavors (e.g. LaCroix, Topo Chico, Bubly)
  • Flavored still water (unsweetened): If bubbles aren’t your thing, you may enjoy a flavored water like Hint Water
  • Coffee (decaf): Coffee naturally does not have any added sugar or carbs
  • Herbal tea: Herbal tea comes in many flavor varieties and does not contain any sugar or carbs
  • Electrolyte water beverages and electrolyte-infused sports drinks: If you exercise frequently or you are outside in a hot climate, beverages that replace electrolytes can help keep you hydrated (e.g Propel, Gatorade Zero, or Powerade Zero) 

Caffeinated drink ideas

Need a little pick-me up? Give these caffeinated drink options a try.

  • Tea and coffee: This post has some great ideas for low-carb options to order at Starbucks
  • Antioxidant Infusion Drinks: Sweetened with natural sweeteners such as Stevia (e.g Bai)
  • Sparkling water with added caffeine (unsweetened): Refreshing and bubbly with a light energy kick (e.g. Bubly Bounce)
  • Sugar-free energy drinks: Zero calories and come in various flavor choices (e.g Zevia Energy Drink, Celcius, ZOA Energy Drink)

Are Sugar-Free Energy Drinks Safe to Drink?


While it is important to stick to recommended caffeine intake guidelines and prioritize water for hydration, there are some potential pros to moderate consumption of sugar-free energy drinks in specific situations:

  • Blood sugar control: Compared to regular energy drinks with sugar, sugar-free options won’t cause a spike in blood sugar levels when consumed.
  • Hydration: Certain sugar-free energy drinks contain electrolytes, which can be helpful for staying hydrated, especially during intense exercise or in hot weather. 
  • Improved exercise performance: For people with diabetes who engage in regular exercise, the moderate caffeine content in sugar-free energy drinks might offer some benefits like delaying fatigue and enhancing focus, leading to better workouts.
  • Flavor variety: Sugar-free energy drinks come in a wide range of flavors, providing a refreshing alternative to plain water, especially for those who find it challenging to stay hydrated throughout the day.
  • Lower calorie option: For people with diabetes looking for weight management options, sugar-free energy drinks can be a lower calorie alternative to sugary beverages.

However, it’s crucial to also keep in mind the following:

  • Caffeine sensitivity: Limiting caffeine intake is important to avoid adverse reactions like anxiety or sleep disturbances.
  • Artificial sweeteners: The long-term effects of artificial sweeteners on overall health are still being studied and should be consumed in moderation.
  • Hidden sugars: Some sugar-free energy drinks might still contain small amounts of added sugars, so carefully check labels.
  • Nutritional void: These drinks should not be used as a source of essential nutrients. Make sure to aim for a balanced diet, water, and other healthier beverage options for adequate hydration and nutrition.

Overall, moderation is key. If you are unsure whether sugar-free energy drinks are safe for you, always consult with your health care provider and consider healthier alternatives for sustained energy throughout the day.

Diabetes and Diet Soda

While diet soda has long been seen as a diabetes-friendly alternative, the jury is still out on whether diet soda is truly a healthy option. Studies suggest there may be a link between diet soda consumption and increased risk of type 2 diabetes. In addition, some artificial sweeteners may trigger insulin spikes and disrupt gut bacteria, while others raise concerns about overall long-term metabolic effects.

Moderation of diet soda is key, and some of the other beverages mentioned above are likely better choices for supporting diabetes management and overall health.

Conclusion

While there are many sugar-free beverage options available, staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water every day is crucial for optimal health, hydration, and blood sugar control.

If you want to learn more about how ways to stay improve your hydration and ensure you are reaching your goals, reach out to Lindsay at [email protected] to discuss setting up a consultation.

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