If you have diabetes and you are looking to stay hydrated with an electrolyte drink, you know it can be difficult to find one that isn’t too high in sugar and carbohydrates. The best electrolyte drinks for diabetes will not include cane sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, aspartame, sucralose, or acesulfame potassium.
If you have started an exercise regime, it can also be challenging to keep your blood sugar from getting too low. Exercise removes glucose from the blood without using insulin and is crucial in getting diabetes under control, but it is a delicate balance for your blood sugar being too high when you are inactive, and too low when you are active.
It is important that the electrolyte drink matches your activity level, and you are not drinking an electrolyte drink with 25 carbohydrates while you are sitting inside, or one with zero carbohydrates while you are combining Zumba, Jazzercize, and CrossFit.
In regards to these parameters, perhaps you were advised to choose an electrolyte drink that uses artificial sweeteners. While writing The New Menu for Diabetes, I did some research on artificial sweeteners and was shocked that these were recommended for diabetics.
The studies clearly showed that these in fact should be avoided, and I wanted to go more in-depth in this article regarding why you should avoid Splenda and Acesulfame K.
The Worst Electrolyte Drinks for Diabetes
The following is based on my research and opinion.
1. Powerade Zero
After doing some research, I noticed that Powerade Zero was the drink of choice for many diabetics due to it having zero calories. What’s in Powerade Zero?
UK Label:Water, citric acid, mineral salts (sodium chloride, magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, potassium phosphate), natural berry flavouring with other natural flavourings, acidity regulator (E332), sweeteners (sucralose, acesulfame K), colour (E133).
US Label:Water, Citric Acid, Natural Flavors, Salt, Potassium Citrate, Sucralose, Sodium Citrate, Potassium Phosphate, Acesulfame Potassium, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Blue 1, Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12).
Sucralose is anorganochlorine. It has been found to wreak havoc on intestinal bacteria (up to 50% destruction) and expresstwo p-450 enzymes. Your beneficial bacteria is responsible for up to 80 percent of your immune system, your ability to lose weight, and emerging research is connecting anxiety and depression to low beneficial bacteria populations.
Acesulfame K (K is the symbol for potassium) seems to go under the radar quite often. It’s almost as if it’s hiding behind the other artificial sweeteners and sneaking in the back door into your drink.
It’s often blended with other artificial sweeteners to yield a more sugar-like taste, which is why it gets less attention. It also shares a similar bedtime story as aspartame, being discovered by accident when the scientists dip their finger(s) in the chemical solution and lick it off, only to find it to be very sweet. As with sucralose, you have to really rifle through the studies to try and discover where the potential problems may lie.
Methylene chloride is a solvent used in the beginning step of creating Acesulfame K. What is methylene chloride? According to the EPA, it is predominately used as a solvent in paint strippers, removers, and pharmaceutical drugs, and as propellent for insect sprays and aerosol paint sprays.
Exposure from the inhalation of methylene chloride has been linked to headaches, nausea, memory loss, liver and kidney issues, visual and auditory dysfunction, cardiovascular problems, and an increased rate of cancer.
According to this FDA 2003 document, “methylene chloride, a carcinogenic chemical, is a potentialimpurity in ACK resulting from its use as a solvent in the initial manufacturing step of the sweetener.
In the past, FDA has assumed that methylene chloride is present in Acesulfame K at the LOD of 40 ppb (worst-case scenario) and has evaluated its safety by performing a risk assessment for methylene chloride-based on this level.
No new information has been received to change FDA’s previous risk assessment for methylene chloride.” Do you know how much of this should be considered safe for human consumption? Zero parts per billion.
According to the 2013 Code of Federal Regulations, Acesulfame K also cannot have a fluoride content of more than 30 parts per billion.
Fluoride? If you have been following any research regarding fluoride in our water supply, you know that ingesting too much can cause many problems. Compounding chemicals from different sources always need to be considered when looking at actual safety parameters for ingestion.
Gatorade is owned by PepsiCo, the makers of Pepsi, and who dominate the sports drink market at 69 percent. Gatorade has 21 grams of sugar and dextrose per 12 oz serving, which should obviously be avoided by diabetics.
Many of the colors and flavors seem a little extreme with their bright blues and reds. How are these made? The artificial colors and flavors are derived from aromatic hydrocarbons from petrochemicals. In other words, oil. Manufacturers are not required to divulge this information because artificial colors and flavors are considered intellectual property.
These food dyes have been found to inhibit mitochondrial respiration; the ability of the powerhouse of your cells to convert nutrients to energy. Red 3 causes cancer in animals, with evidence that other dyes also are carcinogenic. Three dyes (Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6) have been found to be contaminated with benzidine or other carcinogens.
At least four dyes (Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6) cause hypersensitivity reactions and numerous studies found Yellow 5 positive for genotoxicity. Depending on the flavor, Gatorade uses Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Red 40, and Blue 1.
PediaLyte is a drink marketed to kids, for hydrating during times of diarrhea and vomiting, and may even be recommended if you have diabetes. As you can see from the label, there isn’t anything that makes PediaLyte stand out. It uses the same common cheap formula of dextrose, salt, artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners and food color dyes. They even have a bubble gum flavor.
It also missing magnesium and calcium. But their marketing is what makes PediaLyte the first thing people think of when they are sick.
The main headline at the top of each PediaLytes drink is “Pedialyte helps prevent dehydration and quickly replaces fluids, zinc, and electrolytes lost during diarrhea and vomiting.”
They have taken it a step further and added prebiotics which helps probiotics colonize, yet they use sucralose. From a sucralose study, the total numbers of bifidobacteria, lactobacilli, and other probiotics were significantly decreased. These strains of bacteria are what help keep you well and prevent diarrhea.
Three dyes (Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6) have been found to be contaminated with benzidine or other carcinogens, and numerous studies of Yellow 5 have been positive for genotoxicity. And Pedialyte is being marketed to children? Or anyone when they are sick?
Ingredients: Dextrose, Citric Acid, Natural & Artificial Flavor, Potassium Citrate, Salt, Sodium Citrate, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Zinc Gluconate, and Red 40, Blue Dye 1 or Yellow Dye 6 depending on the flavor. The AdvancedCare product also uses acesulfame K.
4.Electrolyte Drinks Using Sodium Benzoate
I originally had NUUN Active Hydration listed here due to the ingredients sodium benzoate and acesulfame potassium. It was brought to my attention that NUUN has now removed these two ingredients from its formula. If you didn’t see your drink listed here, check for sodium benzoate.
The concern is that when you combine sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid you create benzene, especially in the presence of heat and light (common with storing citrus-flavored soda in a warm garage). Citric acid may act as a catalyst for this process in the presence of ascorbic acid. NUUN Hydration contains vitamin C in the active ingredients, making this a prime candidate for this reaction.
Benzene damages the cell’s mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell where you are generating energy in the first place! It has been found to cause cancer – leukemia and other cancers of the blood – by disabling a cell’s DNA. Benzene is also found in cigarettes, pesticides, car exhaust, paints, and certain laundry detergents.
Runners and bikers exposed to car exhaust should be especially mindful of this since vitamin C is an important antioxidant to protect against oxidative stress and promote tissue repair. As a diabetic, you may be taking vitamin C along with Metformin.
Vitaminwater is also owned by Coca-Cola. You may have noticed that the bottle contains “2.5 servings” which means you need to multiply everything by 2.5, a deceiving way to lower the amounts on the label from the first glance. There are 32 grams of sugar in most of the products, crystalline fructose, and sugar.
Crystalline fructose is even higher in fructose than high fructose corn syrup and often tainted with heavy metals. Compare 32 grams of sugar in a bottle of Vitaminwater to 35 grams of sugar in one can of Coke.
You may have even read about the lawsuit against Vitaminwater for calling itself a healthy beverage, and Coca-Cola has since acknowledged that it is indeed not. Too much-refined sugar will make you cramp while you’re competing, upset your stomach, lower your immunity, deplete minerals, and actually dehydrate you.
As for the vitamins, they are cheap forms with a questionable origin, and worthless to the body.
The Best Electrolyte Drinks for Diabetes Guidelines
What is the criteria for the best electrolyte drinks for diabetes? I’m looking for a drink that contains all of the electrolytes, is sweetened with stevia or Lo Han Guo, does not contain any artificial sweeteners or colors, and is low in carbohydrates. A bonus is given if it contains chromium and vitamin C, both of which are very beneficial for diabetics.
Stevia has been found to regulate blood sugar and prevent hypertension, decrease blood glucose and improve carbohydrate metabolism. Lo Han Guo has been found to improve insulin response, reduce blood sugar, lower lipid peroxidation, and reduce protein spilling (better kidney function).
When chromium is available in sufficient amounts, lower amounts of insulin are required to move glucose into the cells. One randomized, double-blind study found that after 12 weeks, vitamin C with metformin increased ascorbic acid levels, reduced fasting blood sugar, post-meal blood glucose, and improved HbA1C compared to the placebo group.
The Best Electrolyte Drinks for Diabetes (Store or online)
1. Coconut Water: A study from 2012 and a study from 2015 found that coconut water has anti-glycation properties, kidney protection, prevented hyperglycemia and oxidative stress. It is an excellent source of potassium, chloride, magnesium, calcium, sodium, b-vitamins, enzymes, and vitamin C.
The best way to enjoy coconut water is to buy a young coconut, take a hammer to the top, and enjoy it fresh and raw. If you want to buy coconut water in the store, you need to be more selective since many companiesare going out of their way to deliver cheap coconut water that lasts for two years on a shelf, often from concentrate and with added sugar and flavors. That should make you suspicious.
What you want to look for is coconut water in the refrigerated section, that uses young coconuts, is not pasteurized, and does not contain any added ingredients like natural flavors, fruit juice or sugar.
The companies I have found that follow these guidelines include Harmless Harvest, Unoco, Liquitera, Vital Juice, and Juice Press. Many of these use a process called HPP, which sterilizes the juice with pressure instead of heat. This keeps the vitamins and enzymes in tact.
I did some traveling in 2015 and tested out numerous mineral waters and took pictures of each of the labels. While some mineral waters were very low in minerals, there were a few that were impressively high in all the electrolytes, including bicarbonate which is often missing and important for pH balancing.
What stood out to me about Gerolsteiner from Germany is that it collects minerals from the dolomites, making it very high in calcium, magnesium, and bicarbonate. And it tastes amazing, especially if you crave carbonated drinks. Add the juice of two lemons and powdered stevia to taste for a drink that tastes very close to a lemon-lime soda.
That combination is perfect for those with headaches, nausea, fatigue and digestive issues. So if your doctor has recommended that you drink an electrolyte drink that isn’t necessarily to be used for exercise and sweating and needs to be low in sodium, this is the best choice straight from nature.
If you are an athlete, keep it in the fridge and enjoy it later in the evening to supply more calcium and magnesium for sore muscles. If you want more energy and hydration while sitting at your desk, this is the best option.
In the US, you can find it inliter bottles in Trader Joes or Whole Foods for $1.49 to $2.00, but if you can’t then online is the way to go.
The Best Electrolyte Drinks Diabetes (Liquid and Powder)
The Primitive Scientific Whole Food Electrolyte Powder is a new product that is designed for athletes. However, the design of the formula is also extremely targeted for those with type 2 diabetes.
This powder contains a full-spectrum of electrolytes and trace minerals, trace amounts of prebiotic fiber, and a host of superfoods that are perfect for those with type 2 diabetes. These include coconut, pomegranate, tart cherry, beets, dandelion, schisandra, shilajit/fulvic acid, sumac, and apple cider vinegar.
It is sweetened with monk fruit and stevia, making it a sweet but safe choice for diabetics. Let’s take a look at how all of these are helping you:
Fermented coconut water: Studies have shown it contains anti-glycation properites.1,2
Pomegranate: May suppress postprandial hyperglycemia and improves markers of heart health in diabetics.3, 4
Tart Cherry: The anthocyanins in tart cherry prevent insulin resistance and improve antioxidant capacity in diabetics. 5,6
Beets:Beets may benefit blood sugar and insulin levels through nitric oxide signaling, and lower the risk of diabetes complications.
Dandelion and Shisandra: Both contains anti-diabetic properties.7,8
Shilajit/fulvic acid: May improve blood glucose levels and lipid levels.9,10
Sumac: Sumac has been shown to improve insulin and lipid profiles, and make diabetics less susceptible to cardiovascular disease.11,12
DayLyte was launched in May 2018 and has become my favorite liquid mineral electrolyte drops. DayLyte does not contain any sugar or carbohydrates and can be simply added to your water to enhance its electrolyte profile.
DayLyte contains a higher level of magnesium (65mg) which improves blood sugar levels and cardiovascular health. It also contains 1mg of lithium. Lithium has been found in research to encourageremyelination of peripheral nerves.
Further research has found that lithium caninhibitcolon cancer metastasis and prevent metastasis to the lungs, liver, and lymph nodes.
While DayLyte now has lemon stevia flavored version now, you can make your own without any sweetener below:
16 oz. water
1 orange, lemon, and 1/2 cucumber sliced
1 serving DayLyte
Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydratoris recommended if you want a broader mineral profile and a zero-calorie electrolyte drink that is sweet. This one is pretty sweet, so you will want to dilute it quite a bit, in my opinion.
Electrolytes: Marine algae calcium (50mg), magnesium carbonate (20mg), sodium chloride (240mg), potassium chloride (120mg).
Ingredients: Citric acid, coconut water powder, natural flavor, stevia leaf extract, vitamin C (90mg).
Pure Encapsulations Electrolyte/Energy Formulais recommended only for exercise lasting 1-2 hours if you are needing to prevent low blood sugar. The carbohydrate level is low, but it is important to monitor glucose after the first trial dose to see how you respond. Choose the other options if you are wanting an electrolyte drink while you are inactive or taking part in light to a moderate exercise regime.
- vitamin C (as ascorbic acid) 100 mg.
- calcium (as calcium citrate) 50 mg.
- magnesium (as magnesium citrate) 50 mg.
- chloride (as sodium chloride) 75 mg.
- sodium (as sodium chloride) 50 mg.
- potassium (as potassium phosphate) 50 mg.
- alpha ketoglutarate 200 mg.
- malice acid 200 mg.
- l-tyrosine (free-form) 500 mg
carbohydrate: 7 g
sugars:(glucose): 3.5 g
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Coconut water is a naturally occurring electrolyte drink. Recent research has shown that coconut water may be just as adequate at replenishing electrolytes and rehydrating the body as traditional, artificially flavored sports drinks.Can diabetics drink electrolyte solution? ›
HYDRATE (THE PERFECT ELECTROLYTE DRINK FOR DIABETICS)
Staying hydrated and replenishing electrolytes with a healthy hydration drink like HYDRATE is essential to effective long term diabetes management.
If you're going to drink sports drinks as a person with diabetes, a sugar-free or “zero” version might be the simplest option, but consuming these artificial sweeteners in excessive amounts is not recommended.What is best electrolyte drink without sugar? ›
Gatorade Zero contains the electrolytes sodium and potassium. It does not, however, contain any sugar, which can help you rehydrate and refuel more quickly during and after strenuous and prolonged exercise.What can diabetics drink besides water? ›
- Chocolate Milk. This treat may remind you of the school lunchroom, but it's a good calcium-rich choice for grown-ups as well. ...
- Sweet Tea. ...
- Orange Juice. ...
- Chai Latte. ...
- Lemonade. ...
- Hot Chocolate. ...
- Apple Cider. ...
- Energy Drinks.
Is Pedialyte OK for someone with diabetes? Pedialyte is used to help restore vital minerals and nutrients lost during diarrhea and vomiting. While it does contain carbohydrates, it may or may not contain enough carbohydrates for someone with diabetes, especially if insulin is being used.Can you drink Pedialyte if you're diabetic? ›
Rehydration with fluids that contain electrolytes is crucial during these hot months. Garber recommends rehydrating with sugar-free sports drinks or Pedialyte and not drinking alcohol or caffeinated drinks.What flavored water is good for diabetics? ›
People can add flavor by mixing water with the juice from citrus fruits, such as lime and lemon or a splash of 100 percent cranberry juice. Infusing water with whole fruits like berries can add some healthful flavor as well. One study suggests that adding aloe vera pulp to water may benefit people with diabetes.What can diabetics drink for energy? ›
- Water. Is water good for diabetes? ...
- Flavored Water Drinks for diabetics. ...
- Herbal tea. ...
- Milk. ...
- Pure Fruit juice in moderation. ...
- Coffee and tea in moderation. ...
- Soda and energy drinks. ...
- Fruit cocktails.
- Eat breakfast. Eating breakfast with proteins, complex carbohydrates, fiber-rich foods, and healthy fats can keep blood sugar balanced and prevent sugar cravings throughout the day.
- Start small. ...
- Eat more healthy fats. ...
- Add protein. ...
- Snack on fruit. ...
- Swap your drinks. ...
- Stay hydrated.
These include regular exercise, nutrition, and weight management. All these can help boost energy while also controlling your blood sugar. According to a 2012 study, there was a significant correlation between a high body mass index (BMI) score and fatigue in women with type 2 diabetes.What kind of Gatorade can a diabetic drink? ›
Gatorade Zero: Containing zero sugar, and potassium and sodium as electrolytes, Gatorade Zero is a good option for an electrolyte drink without added sugar.Can Type 2 diabetics drink Gatorade? ›
Gatorade, for example, has a glycemic index of 89. That's high. A GI score of 89 means that Gatorade is rapidly digested, absorbed, and metabolized, which results in significant blood sugar fluctuations. Something that can be problematic for people with diabetes who should avoid substantial changes in blood glucose.Is cranberry juice good for a diabetic? ›
Cranberry juice may decrease the side effects of diabetes and increase the quality of life for people with diabetes.Is Gatorade good for diabetics? ›
Gatorade, for example, has a glycemic index of 89. That's high. A GI score of 89 means that Gatorade is rapidly digested, absorbed, and metabolized, which results in significant blood sugar fluctuations. Something that can be problematic for people with diabetes who should avoid substantial changes in blood glucose.Should diabetics drink Pedialyte? ›
Rehydration with fluids that contain electrolytes is crucial during these hot months. Garber recommends rehydrating with sugar-free sports drinks or Pedialyte and not drinking alcohol or caffeinated drinks.Can diabetes cause electrolyte imbalance? ›
Electrolyte imbalance is commonly present in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. The cause is usually multifactorial, but usually results from insulin deficiency in diabetic ketoacidosis and hyperglycemia.What drinks have electrolytes? ›
- Coconut water. Coconut water, or coconut juice, is the clear liquid found inside of a coconut. ...
- Milk. ...
- Watermelon water (and other fruit juices) ...
- Smoothies. ...
- Electrolyte-infused waters. ...
- Electrolyte tablets. ...
- Sports drinks. ...