Getting the Right Diabetes Treatment

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Healthy Beverages for People with Diabetes

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Amy McGorry on January 16, 2021
  • women-at-restaurant-laughing-with-drinks
    Enjoy refreshing beverages — and keep your diabetes under control.
    When living with diabetes, it's important to watch not only what you eat, but also what you drink. Beverages can sneak in extra sugars and carbohydrates that you need to monitor when adhering to a diabetic diet. Try these great, diabetes-friendly drinks when you are looking to quench your thirst.
  • man-holding-out-pitcher-of-milk
    Low-Fat Milk
    Low-fat or skim milk can provide you with important vitamins and minerals and is a source of protein. However, pay attention to your serving size! Milk contains carbohydrates and calories, so be sure to stay in your allotted carbohydrate and daily caloric intake range. Lactose intolerant? Try alternatives like rice, almond or soy milk instead.
  • grouping of fruit juices in glasses on table
    Fruit Juice (in Moderation)
    If you like to start your day with a glass of juice, be sure the label says 100% juice with no sugar added. An added benefit of fruit juice is the fiber in the pulp. Juice packs a lot of carbohydrates in one punch, so keep an eye on your portions. Four ounces of fruit juice (half a cup) typically contains 15 grams of carbohydrates. As an alternative, try low-sodium vegetable juices. They tend to have fewer carbs (approximately 10 grams in an 8-ounce or one-cup serving) compared with fruit juices. This allows you an even bigger serving size to enjoy.
  • jars-of-infused-water
    Flavor-Infused Water
    Add cucumbers, strawberries, fresh ginger or mint to your water to give it some taste. Water plays a vital role in your health, and it is naturally sugar-free. Recently the American Diabetes Association announced a "smart bottle" called the IQhydr8 that keeps track of how much water you drink throughout the day. It also signals reminders of when to grab that glass of water to keep you hydrated. Experts suggest drinking at least 8 eight-ounce glasses of fluid daily.
  • soda in glass with ice cubes on table
    Diet Soda (in Moderation)
    A regular 12-ounce soda contains 150 calories and is packed with sugar, ranging from 30 to 40 grams per serving. Experts suggest replacing your regular soda with diet soda. However, diet soft drinks do not provide nutritional value, and research is conflicted on the long-term effects of artificial sweeteners. People with diabetes should drink them in moderation.
  • Beer pour
    Alcohol (in Moderation)
    According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), alcohol can be consumed in moderation, but talk to your physician first. Also, the ADA suggests checking your blood glucose before imbibing. Consider wearing a medical alert ID bracelet in the event you become hypoglycemic. Hypoglycemia can be mistaken for drunken behavior. 

    If you do choose to drink, consider a light beer or wine spritzer. And be sure cocktails use calorie-free and sugar-free mixers. Alcohol can also cause hypoglycemia up to 24 hours AFTER drinking, so be sure to check your blood sugar levels before you go to bed, as well as the following day.
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  • glass of tomato juice on table next to tomatoes
    Tomato Juice
    Grab tomato juice for a refreshing and healthy drink. An added bonus? Tomatoes contain lycopene, a substance research shows may be associated with helping reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. Some studies even show it helps with platelet aggregation, which may help reduce the risk of atherosclerosis in those with type 2 diabetes. Look for a low-sodium version for an even healthier choice.
  • seltzer water with mint and lime on table
    Seltzer can provide that bubbly experience you're craving without the added sugar and calories of soda. Look for low-sodium seltzers to avoid increasing your salt intake. Sparkling waters are another option. If you're looking for a fancier drink, add a splash of cranberry juice to your seltzer or sparkling water. Don't forget to add it to your carbohydrate count for the day.
  • woman-holding-smoothie-in-glass
    Smoothies are a refreshing drink option. Choose fruits that are low on the glycemic index like berries. Blend them with skim milk or Greek yogurt, which will provide you with protein and calcium while giving your drink a creamy consistency. Sprinkle some flaxseed in with the other ingredients in your blender to give this healthy snack added fiber.
  • Green Tea
    Hot or cold, decaffeinated or caffeinated, tea offers you a variety of flavors and choices. Tea also has other benefits. Research shows teas such as black tea and green tea contain polyphenols, which can help protect against inflammation and carcinogens. Studies also show green tea may help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk for heart disease, something experts say people with diabetes are at high risk of developing. Some studies suggest polyphenols in green tea may also play a role in regulating glucose in the body. Adding milk or honey, however, can add extra sugar, so use them sparingly.
  • man-reading-book-at-table
    Sugar-Free Coffee
    Hitting that mid-day slump? You can grab that cup of java; just avoid adding sugar or cream. Experts recommend drinking coffee black for those who have diabetes. If you add milk, remember you are also adding carbohydrates. Although some research says coffee may spike glucose levels after a meal, other studies suggest coffee may actually help lower the risk of developing diabetes. To be safe, check your blood sugar levels to see how it affects your specific body type.
Healthy Beverages for People with Diabetes

About The Author

  1. Sheryl A. Lazarus, BS; Kerry Bowen, PhD, FRACP; Manohar L. Garg, PhD, APD. Tomato Juice and Platelet Aggregation in Type 2 Diabetes JAMA. 2004;292(7):805-6. (
  2. Sanjiv Agarwal, Akkinappally Venketeshwer Rao. Tomato lycopene and its role in human health and chronic diseases. CMAJ 2000 Sept 19;163(6). (
  3. Alcohol, American Diabetes Association (
  4. What’s Your Hydration IQ? New “Smart Bottle” Helps Consumers Track Daily Water Consumption (
  5. Kirtida R. Tandel. Sugar substitutes: Health controversy over perceived benefits. J Pharmacol Pharmacother. 2011 Oct-Dec; 2(4): 236–43. (
  6. Hyun Min Kim and Jaetaek Kim. The Effects of Green Tea on Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Metab J. Jun 2013;37(3):173–5. (
  7. Greenberg JA1, Boozer CN, Geliebter A. Coffee, diabetes, and weight control. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Oct;84(4):682-93. (\Whitehouse CR1, Boullata J, McCauley LA.The potential toxicity of artificial sweeteners. AAOHN J. 2008 Jun;56(6):251-9; quiz 260-1. (
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Last Review Date: 2021 Jan 16
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