Have you heard that drinking water can lower your blood sugar if you have diabetes?
So does drinking water lower blood sugar? There is a wealth of information and misinformation out on the internet about how to lower blood sugar and manage diabetes. You’ve probably heard countless tips and strategies for blood sugar management. But what strategies are worth your time and effort?
Let’s start off with the big picture. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, there are no quick fixes. Your doctor may have started you on medication, or maybe the game plan is to start with diet and exercise to see if your blood sugar improves.
Let’s start with the question at hand.
Does drinking water lower blood sugar?
When blood sugar is high, drinking water may help lower your blood sugar. It will help reduce the concentration of sugar in your blood stream and may help the kidneys excrete excess sugar in urine. So, technically yes, drinking water will help lower your blood sugar! But what else can be done?
Another tool to lower blood sugar in the moment is to move your body. Your muscles need glucose for energy, so sugar will move from the blood stream into the muscle, thus lowering your blood sugar.
Let’s move on to what else you can do to improve blood sugars in the long term.
As you may know, carbohydrates are broken down into sugar and thus raise blood sugar. Our goal is not to cut out carbs. Our goal is to manage how much carbohydrate you eat at one time, and pair it with good sources of protein, fat, and fiber to help slow down the breakdown of sugar. The amount of carbohydrate depends on the person, and we highly recommend working with a dietitian to figure out what is right for you!
Here’s where water can help again! Sugar sweetened beverages like soda, sweetened teas or coffee, lemonade, etc are quick sugars. They are broken down quickly and raise blood sugar quickly. A can of soda can be someone’s entire carbohydrate goal for a meal, making it difficult to incorporate consistently into your eating routine. Swapping out high sugar beverages for low sugar, diet, or good old fashioned water can help improve blood sugars.
Consistency makes a big difference. If your treatment plan includes medication, make sure to take your medication consistently!
Exercise can reduce your blood sugar in the moment, but it also can improve your blood sugars over time! With diabetes, the body often does not respond to insulin as quickly as it needs to. You may have heard the term insulin resistance. Exercise (both cardio and strength training) can help increase your body’s insulin sensitivity, thus helping improve your blood sugar!
What else can I do?
Deciding what to eat can be a challenge, but deciding what to eat when you’re out and about can feel overwhelming. We have the blog series for you! Eating Out with Diabetes: A Dietitian’s Guide to Fast Food. Check it out!
An award winning recipe developer, Dietitian Kaitlin’s mission is to empower others to reach their health goals by encouraging them to get back into the kitchen. Co-author of Nourished: 10 Ingredients to Happy, Healthy Eating and Cooking with Diabetes.