What is diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic health condition that affects your body's ability to break down food into energy. One study suggests that routinely drinking water might prevent the onset of hyperglycemia.
Diabetes mellitus is a chronic health condition that affects your body’s ability to break down food into energy. One study suggests that routinely drinking water might prevent the onset of hyperglycemia.

If you have diabetes, managing symptoms is critical to your health. Your diet plays a vital role in regulating your blood sugar. What you drink matters as much as what you eat. Learn more about how drinking water and blood sugar are connected. 

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic health condition that affects your body’s ability to break down food into energy. When you eat anything, your body converts it into glucose, which is a type of sugar. Once the sugar is circulating in your blood, your pancreas releases insulin to carry the sugar into your other cells. This gives your cells energy to function.

There are two types of diabetes mellitus: type one and type two. Type one diabetes is a condition you are born with where your spleen doesn’t produce the proper amounts of insulin. Type two diabetes is a condition that develops over time where your body loses the ability to produce insulin efficiently.

People with both types of diabetes lack the insulin to move sugar from the bloodstream to other cells in the body. As a result, sugar builds up in the bloodstream, which can cause serious health problems. Some people can control their diabetes through diet, while others need to inject insulin daily to manage symptoms. 

Foods that help manage diabetes

If you have diabetes, you should pay attention to what you eat. Your diet can affect your blood sugar levels. Experts recommend adapting your diet to follow basic guidelines:

  • Include fruits and vegetables
  • Include lean meats and plant-based sources of protein
  • Reduce the amount of foods with added sugar
  • Avoid highly processed foods

What you drink can have as much of an effect on your blood sugar as what you eat. Many beverages contain a lot of added sugar. Sodas, sports drinks, and many fruit juices are all very sugary and can cause blood sugar spikes. Alcohol also has high sugar content and can be detrimental to your health if you have diabetes.

Water for diabetes mellitus

Drinking water is good advice for anyone to follow. For general health, most experts recommend drinking 4–6 cups of water per day. Drinking water has many benefits, including:

  • Carrying nutrients and oxygen to your cells
  • Cushioning joints
  • Protecting organs and tissues
  • Regulating body temperature

If you have diabetes, water is especially important. It’s an ideal beverage for people with diabetes since it doesn’t add sugar to your bloodstream. Your water consumption can also affect your blood sugar levels more generally.

When your blood sugar rises, your body tries to get rid of the excess glucose. Without insulin to reduce the sugar levels, though, your system will process the sugar into your urine, and you will get rid of it by going to the bathroom. When this happens, you can become dehydrated due to fluid loss. Drinking water will replace what you’ve lost through urination.

Dehydration can lead to higher blood sugar as well. If your blood volume drops due to dehydration, the concentration of sugar in your blood will increase. Drinking water throughout the day will prevent dehydration, so you’re better able to manage blood sugar. 

Water for diabetes insipidus

Diabetes insipidus is a condition with some traits that are similar to the more common forms of diabetes mellitus. In cases of diabetes insipidus, though, your blood glucose levels don’t get too high. Instead, your body produces too much urine all the time. 

If you have diabetes insipidus, you may feel thirsty frequently, and you are at a higher risk of dehydration. Your doctor will give you instructions about how much water you should drink. Water will ease some of your symptoms and prevent complications caused by being dehydrated. 

Water to prevent high levels of blood sugar

One study suggests that routinely drinking water might prevent the onset of hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia, which is sometimes called pre-diabetes, occurs when your blood sugar is higher than it should be. Over time, hyperglycemia can lead to the same types of health problems as diabetes. 

In a 2011 paper, researchers reported results from a nine-year study of 3,615 people between the ages of 31 and 65. All of the participants started the study with normal blood sugar levels. Over time, 565 study participants began showing elevated blood sugar levels. Of those with high blood sugar, 202 eventually developed diabetes.

Researchers learned that the people who developed hyperglycemia reported drinking less water than people whose blood surge stayed in the normal range. They concluded that there is a link between chronic dehydration and developing high blood sugar. This doesn’t mean that everyone who forgets to drink water will get pre-diabetes, but it does suggest that drinking water is very important for overall health.

If you have questions about how much water you should be drinking to manage diabetes, talk to your doctor. 

SLIDESHOW

Diabetes: What Raises and Lowers Your Blood Sugar Level? See Slideshow

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Medically Reviewed on 11/24/2021
References
SOURCES:

American Diabetes Association: "Eat good to feel good."

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "What is Diabetes?"

Diabetes Care: "Low Water Intake and Risk for New-Onset Hyperglycemia."

diabetes.co.uk: "Water and Diabetes."

Harvard Health Publishing: "How much water should you drink?"