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Healthy Hydration

As the summer temperatures rise, proper hydration is critical for those living with diabetes. Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are fan-favorites in the United States, with 63% of adults over 18 consuming one more servings of SSBs daily.

SSBs increase insulin needs and may prove challenging when trying to minimize high glucose readings. SSBs promote weight gain by adding liquid calories to the diet. When sugar is coupled with caffeine, it becomes a doubly addictive source of liquid and increases dopamine levels in the brain. It tastes good even though we get no nutritional value from it.  

3500 calories are the equivalent of one pound. By consuming, one 12 oz. SSB per day at 140 calories, it is the equivalent in calories to 15.7 pounds over a year! Liquid sugar requires insulin for metabolism and elevated levels of insulin or insulin resistance promote the storage of fat.  

Staying hydrated keeps a delicate balance of sodium, vitamins, mineral, and hormones and glucose in the body. When I ask individuals about their daily water intake, I get answers from “none” to the recommended “Eight oz. per day.” Here are my tips for healthy hydration.

7 tips to get enough water

  • Make drinking a glass of water one of the first things you do each morning—and before each meal. 
  • Check the color of your urine. It should ideally be clear or a light-colored yellow, and if it’s darker, you’ll know you need to be more hydrated.  
  • Invest in a fun reusable water bottle.  
  • Mix up your water options. Try adding lemon or lime or unsweetened tea.  
  • If you feel thirsty, you’re already not getting enough fluids. Start drinking water right away.  
  • Up your water intake when it’s hot and humid, especially if you are also being active. 
  • Limit alcohol and caffeinated drinks. These can cause you to lose water. 

Signs you aren’t getting enough water

Not being well hydrated can leave you feeling sluggish and unwell. Common signs may include:

  • Dark urine
  • Feeling dizzy, light-headed, or tired
  • Having dry lips or lips
  • Feeling nauseous
  • Getting muscle cramps
  • Spilling ketones

Make sure to keep your CGM or glucose meter nearby and readily available is ideal during the summer.  

Reducing empty calories by replacing your sugar sweetened beverages with: 

  • Water 
  • Zero calorie tea 
  • Zero calorie drink mixes 
  • Black coffee (with a little cream, milk, or artificial sweetener) 
  • Diet soda 
  • Zero calorie sports drinks 
  • Energy drinks (I do not recommend energy drinks because of the high caffeine content, however if you are going to drink them, consider sugar free or zero calorie drinks) 

Staying hydrated is important and drinking non-calorie water and beverages can help keep us hydrated and healthy at the same time. 

Author: Connie Chitwood-Vu, MS, RDN, LDN, CDCES, BC-ADM  

This site is for educational purposes only. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider before making any decisions about your health.  


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