Living With

Drink More Water to Help With Your Diabetes

David Mendosa Health Guide June 15, 2010
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    It is especially important for those of us who have diabetes to drink a lot of water, as unexciting as it is compared with all the other beverages that we have available. So I do my best to make it a bit more exciting.

    For starters, I filter all my tap water, even though Boulder, Colorado, where I live, has perhaps the highest rated water supply in the country. We are, after all, the only American city that owns its own glacier, and because it is melting so fast we have a lot of runoff!

    Then, I keep a couple of canteens in the fridge all the time. Cold water tastes better to me, perhaps because it reminds me of drinking out of cool mountain streams, something that I could do when I was a kid.

    Now, I often drink carbonated water. For years I bought plastic (and sometimes glass) bottles of the stuff at supermarkets. I tried all the brands of sparkling water and finally found one that I really like, Germany's 
    Gerolsteiner, and available only in high end markets, like Whole Foods. I dislike the most common brand available in restaurants, San Pellegrino.

    But I got tired of the expense and trouble of carting cases of the stuff home every week and of the landfill waste. So, with the encouragement of one of my correspondents I invested in a device that carbonates my own water. A company called 
    SodaStream makes it and delivers a new cartridge every couple of months when I need one. The water that it carbonates tastes every bit as good as the bottled stuff without all the disadvantages that that stuff has.

    I drink it straight -- as I am at the moment. Or I make sparkling lemonade with 
    TrueLemon and stevia for a total of zero calories.

    We can also flavor carbonated water with lots of different flavors. The SodaStream device comes with samples of many flavors, and the calorie-free ones include orange, berry, lemon-lime, diet root beer, diet pink grapefruit, and diet cranberry-raspberry. Another possibility are the many 
    DaVinci flavors.

    I just make sure to cut off my water supply by dinner time. I already make enough trips to the bathroom at night.

    Drinking a lot water is the single diet recommendation that 
    all the health experts agree on. They do differ on the amount that they recommend. 

    Loren Cordain, professor of exercise physiology at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, Colorado, and the author of the important book, 
    The Paleo Diet, points out that our paleolithic ancestors drank nothing but water. While paleolithic sounds like it was a long time ago, it was only about 10,000 years before now -- the time just before the agricultural revolution -- and that's a blink of an eye in terms of human evolution.

    Barry Popkin, professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the author of 
    The World is Fat, emphatically recommends that we drink nothing but water. And lots of it.

    But it isn't true that the U.S. government recommends drinking at least eight glasses of water a day. That is an old urban myth, as I wrote in my first book What Makes My Blood Glucose Levels Go Up...and Down? Dr. Jennie Brand-Miller, Kaye Foster-Powell, and I co-authored this book together to explain the glycemic index, and the water section was one that I wrote.

    When we are thirsty, water remains our best choice. Even when we are hungry, having a drink of water is a great idea. It can help us feel fuller and therefore make us less likely to overeat. This goes a long way toward keeping our blood glucose levels where we want them to be.