Q: What are the best drinks for diabetics?

A: From Lauren Schmittle, RD, LDN, clinical dietitian at Washington Adventist Hospital:

This is a great question, and one we get often in our Diabetes Support Groups. For those with diabetes or pre-diabetes, what you drink is just as important as what you eat when managing your blood glucose levels. Follow these simple steps to cut out harmful ingredients and choose the drinks that are best for your health!

Rule #1: Stick to the Basics

  • Water
  • Unsweetened teas
  • Coffee (try a sugar substitute instead of sugar!)
  • Other non-calorie drinks/drink mixes
  • Create your own flavored water with lemons, limes, oranges, cucumber, etc.


Rule #2: Cut Out the Sugar

  • It’s best to avoid sugary drinks like regular sodas, fruit juices, sports drinks, sweet teas, and energy drinks. These pack a lot of carbohydrates and in turn will raise your blood glucose level.

Did you know?

One 12 oz. can of regular soda provides 39 grams of carbohydrates = 10 teaspoons of sugar

Water and Fruit

It’s best to avoid sugary drinks. They pack a lot of carbs and will raise your blood glucose level.

  • Even 100% fruit juice (no sugar added), although it sounds like a healthier alternative, is all sugar.

Did you know?

One 8 oz cup of apple juice provides 28 grams of carbohydrates = 7 teaspoons of sugar

Rule #3: Choose Healthy Alternatives

  • Eat whole fruit instead of drinking juice for less sugar and more fiber.
  • Low-fat milk is another healthy alternative, but still contains carbohydrates and should be had in moderation.

Did you know?

8 oz of milk = 12 grams of carbohydrates

Looking for more diet tips for diabetics? Join our FREE Diabetes Support Group at Washington Adventist Hospital, which provides emotional support and resources to those living with diabetes or pre-diabetes. Learn more and register today!