Diabetes: What Can I Drink?

Diabetes is a complicated disease currently affecting 30.3 million Americans (9.4% of the U.S population).

These numbers are set to rise, contributing to a growing epidemic in diabetes, most significantly in type 2 diabetes.

The lifestyle and diet you have become accustomed may drastically change and even choices, such as what you drink, could have a significant impact on your health.

Being aware of the effect that your diet can have on your blood sugar levels is essential and will play an important role in safeguarding your health.

Tired of having to think ‘I’m diabetic…what can I drink’? Then check out our list of diabetic-friendly drinks!

What to drink when you have diabetes?

1) Water

It might not be the most exciting of beverages, but you cannot beat a hydrating glass of H20. Water contains no carbohydrates or calories, and so it a great choice for those who have diabetes.

One of the symptoms of diabetes is dehydration; therefore by drinking water, you rehydrate the blood when the body attempts to remove excess glucose through urine.

If you fail to keep hydrated, glucose may not be passed out of the urine, which could ultimately lead to further dehydration.

A further symptom of diabetes is frequent urination, which can leave people feeling regularly thirsty and consequently, at a higher risk of dehydration.

By increasing the amount of water, you drink, not only will you feel rehydrated, but it could possibly help regulate your blood glucose levels.

Although more studies are needed to confirm this effect, dehydration may eventually lead to high blood glucose, which according to a study published in “Diabetes Care”, may suggest diabetes.

The study followed 3,615 adults over nine years and found that those who drank the greatest amount of water were the least likely to develop hyperglycemia, whereas those who drank the least amount of water were the most likely to develop hyperglycemia.

2) Seltzer water

If you find plain water a boring option, you can always add a squirt of lemon or lime juice to add a burst of flavor. Drinking lemon water in the morning is a great way to kickstart your day.

Another option is seltzer water. Seltzer water is regular water to which carbon dioxide gas has been added. It is usually flavored with natural extracts that don’t add any carbs or calories, so it might be a good option for people with diabetes, as long as it is not sweetened.

2) Almond milk

When it comes to almonds, they are often viewed as the ultimate health food.

Fortified with essential vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, zinc, riboflavin and vitamins A, D, B-12 and E, almond milk is very low in carbohydrates, so is a good option for those struggling to control blood sugar levels.

It is also low in calories and fat, and so is an effective means of managing your weight. Whereas 1 cup of skimmed milk contains e around 85 units of calories and about 12 grams of carbohydrates, one cup of almond milk has only 30 units of calories.

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3) Herbal tea

After a stressful day, many of us enjoy sitting back and relaxing with a steaming cup of herbal tea.

Renowned for their health benefits, herbal teas contain natural herbs and minerals that can alleviate numerous health problems. If you are struggling with diabetes, this is even more so.

A research review published in the Diabetes and Metabolism Journal outlined the potential benefits of tea when it comes to diabetes.

It referred to a Japanese study that found that people who drank 6 or more cups of green tea a day were 33% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than were people who drank less than a cup of green tea a week.

Green tea, in particular, was also found to help regulate blood glucose levels. This is as it contains polyphenols, which help to reduce oxidative stress, decreases blood pressure and can help to prevent or control diabetes.

4) Black coffee

When it comes to coffee, there have been conflicting reports as to whether it helps or hinders diabetes.

Recent research has suggested that drinking coffee could decrease your risk of developing type diabetes, with one study, consisting of 40,000 participants noting that consuming 3 cups of tea or coffee a day, led to a 40% lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

Other studies have even suggested that coffee can help to regulate blood glucose levels, as it contains polyphenols, a molecule that contains anti-oxidant properties which are widely believed to help prevent inflammatory illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes.

However, don’t go downing cups of coffee just yet! It should be noted that this relates to black coffee, which has no sugar and virtually no calories.

Milky, creamy, sugary coffees, such as those purchased from coffee shops, will in no way benefit your health and could cause your blood sugar levels to rise.

What drinks should be avoided?

Now that you know which drinks can be beneficial for diabetics, here is an outline of drinks that you should avoid. They tend to be high in sugar and can affect blood sugar control.

  • Alcoholic beverages– alcohol can have a dangerous effect on your blood sugar levels and result in a number of complications to your health. Mixed drinks, such as cocktails are especially high in sugar and should be passed.
  • Soft drinkssoft drinks are a favorite for many people, but their sugar and calorie content is very high.
  • Low-calorie drinks– even diet soft drinks can be deceptive and will add extra sugar for taste.
  • Sugar-free drinks– sugar-free doesn’t always mean sugar-free. Sugar comes by many different names, and many ‘sugar-free drinks’ are artificially sweetened.


When first diagnosed with diabetes, making changes to your lifestyle can be overwhelming and searching for information on the net can often leave you feeling even more confused.

Many sites will have conflicting information, so conducting research and consulting the right sources is important. Controlling blood sugar levels is vital for everyone, though even more so for that battling diabetes.

Failure to do so can result in long term complications, including loss of vision, kidney damage and cardiovascular disease.

By monitoring your blood sugar levels regularly and maintaining a healthy, diabetic diet, you can successfully control and maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

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  1. Roussel, R, Fezeu, L, Bouby,N, et al. (2011). Low Water Intake and Risk for New-Onset Hyperglycemia. American Diabetes Association. 34 (12), p2551-2554.
  2. Mousavi A, Vafa M, Neyestani T, Khamseh M, Hoseini F. The effects of green tea consumption on metabolic and anthropometric indices in patients with Type 2 diabetes. J Res Med Sci. 2013;18(12):1080–1086.
  3. Jing Y, Han G, Hu Y, Bi Y, Li L, Zhu D. Tea consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of cohort studies. J Gen Intern Med. 2009;24(5):557–562. doi:10.1007/s11606-009-0929-5
  4. van Dieren S1, Uiterwaal CS, van der Schouw YT, van der A DL, Boer JM, Spijkerman A, Grobbee DE, Beulens JW.. (2009). Coffee and tea consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes.. Diabetologia. 52 (12), p2561-9.

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