Staying hydrated is especially important for people with diabetes since high blood sugar levels deplete fluids.
Although we usually think about the importance of drinking enough water or other liquids in the warm summer months, dehydration can happen at any time. It's especially important for people with diabetes to keep track of their hydration needs since high blood sugar levels deplete fluids. Here are some tips for staying hydrated all day, every day.
How Do You Know If You're Hydrated?
You've probably heard the golden rule that we should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, and while that's generally good advice, it doesn't hold true for everyone. A good way to tell if you're properly hydrated is to check your urine. If it's colorless or light yellow, you're likely in good shape. If it's amber or dark yellow, you're likely at risk for dehydration and should consider changing your habits.
What Are the Best Beverages for Staying Hydrated While Managing Diabetes?
The best thing you can do to stay hydrated is to sip water all day long. Water has zero calories or added sugars and, according to WebMD, it also plumps up your skin and hydrates your muscles. However, water can be a little boring and, well, low on taste. Here are some other options that are low in sugar but a little more exciting:
- Sparkling water
- Low-calorie drink mixes like Crystal Light
- Low-sugar sports drinks
- Flavored waters
- Water infused with cucumbers, oranges, lemons, limes, or berries (or all of them!)
Unsweetened coffee and tea in moderation can hydrate you, too. Mayo Clinic notes that, although caffeine is a mild diuretic (i.e., it increases urine production), a cup or two per day of a caffeinated beverage won't increase your risk of dehydration.
More Tips for Staying Hydrated
It's one thing to know you need to drink enough, but it's another thing to make sure you're consistently consuming enough liquids. Here are some simple suggestions to help you stay hydrated every day:
- Don't wait until you're thirsty. As the American Heart Association notes, feeling thirsty indicates that you're already dehydrated. Try to sip something regularly throughout the day or, at least, drink a glass of water before and in between meals.
- Eat fruits and vegetables. Many fruits and non-starchy vegetables, such as grapes, watermelons, tomatoes, and lettuce, contain a lot of water and can help keep you hydrated. Remember, fruit contains carbohydrates. Be sure to count it as part of your meal plan.
- Carry a reusable water bottle with you. Choose a sturdy, portable water bottle that you can carry with you everywhere, or keep different ones at the office, by the couch, and on your nightstand so all you have to do is reach for a sip.
- When you're feeling hungry, drink water. Thirst is often confused with hunger, and "snacking" on water can help you figure out what you're really feeling. Drinking water can also help fill you up so you don't overeat later.
- Drink water at a restaurant before you order. It can keep you from overordering and overeating (plus, it's free!).
- Drink before, during, and after exercise. When you sweat, that's fluid escaping your body, and you need to replace it. Make sure to drink extra water when you exercise or engage in any activity that exceeds what you typically do every day.
FamilyDoctor.Org, Hydration: Why It's So Important
WebMD, Top 10 Ways to Stay Hydrated
American Diabetes Association, What Can I Drink?
American Diabetes Association, Rethink Your Drink
American Heart Association, Stay Hydrated, Stay Healthy
Mayo Clinic, Nutrition and Healthy Eating
Mayo Clinic, Nutrition and Healthy Eating: Expert Answers