When you have type 2 diabetes, monitoring your carb intake is extremely important. But many people find that, while adapting, over time, to altering the types of foods they eat (and how much of it they eat), they overlook what they’re drinking.
“Most people with diabetes know that regular soda should be avoided, but other beverages, even those marketed as ‘healthy’ choices, may not be any better for blood sugar control,” says Lanah J. Brennan, RD, CDE, a nutrition consultant at Reactive Nutrition in Lafayette, La.
Here are a few of the worst drinks for diabetics, as well as some recommended (and flavorful) alternatives:
Regular soda: Soda typically has about 150 calories (about 10 teaspoons of sugar).
Alternative: Instead of grabbing a can of soda, try calorie-free flavored seltzer water.
Fruit juice: 4 to 6 ounces of your favorite juice can contain around 15 grams of carbohydrates.
Alternative: It’s healthier to eat the actual piece of fruit. If you really want juice, try a cup of low-sodium V8.
Coffee: Coffee all by itself is actually just fine. However, many coffee drinks today, especially from your local cafe/coffee shop, can contain more than 300 calories and 10 – 15 teaspoons of sugar…or more.
Alternative: Sweeten your coffee with one teaspoon of sugar or with a packet of stevia. Add a dash of your favorite coffee flavoring, such as unsweetened cocoa powder, cinnamon or vanilla.
Whole Milk: A glass of whole milk has about 12 grams of carbs – and 11 of those grams are from sugar.
Alternative: Drink low-fat, fat-free, or skim milk. Or, if you’re lactose-intolerant, try light soy milk.
Alcohol: No, alcohol is not bad. In moderation, some types, such as wine, can have some heart-health benefits. But it’s best to avoid sugary options – this means fruit juice, cocktail mixers, such as sour mix, and “dessert” drinks.
Alternative: Opt for drinks mixed with seltzer water or club soda. Or, enjoy a glass of dry red wine, which tends to have less sugar.