Since water contains neither carbohydrates nor calories, it is the perfect drink for people with diabetes. Studies have also shown that drinking water can help control blood sugar levels. Can water lower blood sugar? We explain it below.
How does water lower blood sugar?
The body of diabetics needs more fluid when blood sugar levels are high. This can cause the kidneys to try to eliminate excess sugar through urine. So drinking water can flush more glucose out of the blood.
If blood sugar is above target, diabetes counselors often advise their patients to drink water. According to diabeteseveryday.com, the recommendation is to drink 1 glass of water (220 ml) over the course of an hour to re-hydrate the body after a blood sugar spike. In a way, this can help lower blood sugar in case of dehydration. When you are dehydrated , your blood sugar levels can rise .
We all know that drinking water is good for everyone, not just diabetics. Adequate water consumption:
- helps keep our body temperature in the normal range
- lubricates our joints
- helps eliminate waste through sweat and urine
- promotes regular bowel movements and also helps prevent constipation
- improves cognitive and motor skills
And since water contains no calories, it helps reduce caloric intake, especially if you drink water instead of a caloric beverage.
Lack of fluids and diabetes
High blood sugar levels can also increase the risk of dehydration, which is a health risk for people with diabetes mellitus.
People with diabetes insipidus also have an increased risk of dehydration, but it is not related to high blood sugar levels.
Drinking water helps thin the blood when the body is trying to excrete excess glucose through the urine. Otherwise, the body may turn to other available sources of water, such as saliva and tears. If access to water is limited, glucose may not be excreted through the urine, leading to further dehydration.
Diabetes insipidus is not associated with high blood glucose levels, but causes the body to produce a large amount of urine. This can cause sufferers to feel thirsty on a regular basis and put them at higher risk for dehydration. Drinking more water can help relieve these symptoms, and your doctor may advise you to drink a certain amount of water each day.
How much water should you drink each day if you have diabetes?
The Institute of Medicine has set the following guidelines:
- Men between 19 and 70 years need about 15.5 cups per day. According to the recommendations, men should drink about 12 cups of water (about 2.4 liters), with 3 cups coming from other foods and beverages.
- Women ages 19 to 70+ need about 11 cups of water per day, including 9 cups of water and 2 cups of fluid from foods and other beverages.
Other factors that affect your needs include physical activity, temperature (both hot and cold weather), and altitude.
A 2011 study suggests that increased water consumption may prevent or delay the onset of hyperglycemia and subsequent diabetes.
Participants who consumed more than one liter of water per day had a 28 percent lower risk of developing new-onset hyperglycemia than those who drank less than 500 ml of water per day.
The researchers also pointed to the hormone vasopressin, which increases with dehydration and is considered a possible risk factor for hyperglycemia and diabetes.
Although the study was limited, the authors concluded that increased water intake could reduce the likelihood of elevated vasopressin levels.
Alternatives to water
If you don’t like the taste of plain water, you can prepare a detox water with fruits and vegetables. For example, you can slice an orange, lemon or lime and store it in the freezer ready to use. Or add dried lavender flowers , fresh mint or ginger to a glass of ice water.
Be careful with “flavored waters” from the supermarket, however, as some are relatively high in sugar. Other flavored waters contain sweeteners, which are said to have a better effect on blood sugar levels than sweetened versions, but are still not as healthy as pure water.
Soda or sparkling water is usually fine, as it should only be carbonated and not sweetened. However, it pays to look at the ingredient list. Also, don’t make the mistake of accidentally asking for tonic water, as it is usually sweetened.