Drink less: Soda and sugary fruit drinks
With ten teaspoons of sugar in every 12-ounce can or bottle, sweet drinks can send your blood sugar soaring—and boost your risk for weight gain, high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. One sugary drink a day adds 150 empty calories and 40 to 50 grams of blood-sugar-raising carbohydrates to your diet, and can lead to a weight gain of 15 pounds per year, say researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health. Research shows that sugar (whether table sugar or high-fructose corn syrup) can cause people to pack on belly fat and increases inflammation and insulin resistance, boosting the risk for diabetes and heart disease. Bottom line: They’re some of the worst drinks for diabetics.
“If you have diabetes, cutting out soda and other sugar-sweetened drinks is one of the most powerful ways to control blood sugar, lose weight and improve your health,” says Ginn. “Switching to healthier drinks can save hundreds of calories and a lot of carbohydrates. It’s often one of my first goals when I work with someone newly diagnosed with diabetes.” In a study from North Carolina, dieters who skipped soda were more likely to hit their weight-loss goals than those who didn’t.
How much: None, ideally. Or at least consider soda a treat, as you would a decadent dessert. If you have a soda habit, cut back by drinking a smaller size for a week or two, or mixing half regular soda with half diet soda or club soda to reduce your calorie and carb intake. Aim to go sugar-free: Water and club soda (including fruit-flavored types) are ideal, and diet soda is an option for diabetic drinks.
Drink less: Fruit juice
Your mom served up OJ every day with breakfast. The labels display tempting photos of colorful fruit. But are juices healthy diabetic drinks for blood sugar and weight control? A regular juice habit could be associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in Diabetes Care. And real fruit is often a better deal. A 4-ounce serving of 100 percent orange juice has 56 calories, 12 grams carbohydrates, and no fiber; compare that to a small fresh orange, which has 45 calories, 11 grams carbohydrates, and 2 grams of blood-sugar-controlling fiber. That said, diabetics can have a little 100 percent fruit juice, says Dawn Sherr, RD, CDE, a practice manager with the American Association of Diabetes Educators. “They should just know the amount of juice they are consuming and factor the amount of carbohydrates into their eating plan,” she says.
How much: Juice lovers, eat fruit or switch to a low-sodium veggie juice, which is much lower in calories and carbohydrates than fruit juice. If you’re really craving juice, try a 4-ounce serving with a meal. Test your blood sugar afterward, and then repeat with the same meal for the next three or four days. If your blood sugar doesn’t rise more than 35 to 50 points, a little juice could be fine. Next, check out the top 8 carbs for people living with diabetes.