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Diabetes Expert Shares the Best Drinks for Diabetics

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Type 2 diabetes prevention week is taking place from Monday 20th May to Sunday 26th May, in a bid to spread awareness about the life-threatening disease and ways in which it can be prevented.

To commemorate this important awareness week, flavoured sparkling water brand DASH Water has teamed up with a diabetes expert to give important advice on the best drinks for diabetics and highlight how difficult it can be to choose a drink when you suffer from the condition.

Despite potentially wanting to pick up the nearest fizzy drink, diabetic people have to put a lot more thought into their drink choices, opting for something that is low in calories, sugar and sweetener so that their blood sugars do not spike. Many people believe the misconception that sugar-free fizzy drinks are better, however, experts have revealed that sweeteners can have the same effect.

Pharmacist and diabetes expert Abbas Kanani has shared his advice on choosing the best drinks for diabetics and has helped to put together a list of drinks that are not only delicious, but diabetic safe too.

Simple, natural drinks are best for diabetics because they have additional health benefits in conjunction to regulating blood sugar levels. Here are some of the best and safest drinks to drink when you have diabetes:

Water

We know this one seems obvious, but water is the most important drink for people with diabetes, so we had to put it at the top of the list.

“Water neither raises nor lowers your blood sugar so it works well for keeping the body hydrated and healthy,” says Abbas. He also recommends adding a fresh slice of fruit, such as lemon or lime, to water for added flavour.

Unsweetened teas and coffees 

Teas and coffees are fine for diabetics, just as long as they’re free from sugar and sweeteners. If you take milk, it’s best to choose skimmed or semi-skimmed and be mindful of how much you use, as this can add to your carb total.

Abbas recommends herbal teas, especially. “Herbal tea varieties, such as green tea, are rich in disease-fighting antioxidant compounds.” They’re also great to drink throughout the day in place of normal tea if you do need to cut out your milk consumption.

Green juice and smoothies 

If you’re craving juice, diabetics should try to opt for vegetable-based juices over fruit. “Fruit juices tend to contain sugar, so a 100% vegetable juice using spinach, celery or kale can be good alternatives for diabetics,” suggests Abbas. They’re also great antioxidant and are packed with nutrients; we suggest adding root ginger for extra flavour.

Kombucha 

Kombucha is a fermented drink made from tea, yeast, bacteria and sugar. Because the bacteria feeds off the sugar in the fermentation process, the end sugar content is extremely low. It’s also super low in calories, making it safe for diabetics to drink.

Milk 

Skimmed or semi-skimmed milk is safe for people with diabetes to drink; however, its high carbohydrate content means that it should be consumed consciously, explains Abbas. He also recommends alternative kinds of milk, such as almond, oat, soy and coconut, which are dairy-free and low in carbs.

DASH Water 

Infused sparkling water like our very own DASH is one of the best soft drinks for diabetics because it doesn’t contain any sugars, sweeteners or calories. It’s also a great alternative for those craving fizzy drinks, as it’s full of flavour and is still deliciously sparkling.

Speaking on diabetes safety, Abbas states that “excess sugar can cause a problem for a person with diabetes because high glucose levels can lead to hyperglycemia, which can be serious if not treated. Sometimes low-sugar or low-alcohol alternatives can have more sugar than regular drinks.

Instead, he claims that diabetics should stay away from sugary or sweetened drinks altogether, stating “any sugary or sweetened drink should be avoided,” says Abbas. “They can be absorbed into your bloodstream too quickly and cause a spike in blood glucose levels.” These include alcohol, sweetened and low-sugar fizzy drinks, and fruit juices, as they can contain large amounts of sugar.

Stay safe this type 2 diabetes awareness week by being mindful of the amount of sugar you drink, and opting for healthy, sugar-free drinks where possible.

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