In my diabetes groups, it seems like everyone is always asking, “What can I eat/drink that won’t affect my blood sugar?”
Almost every time, someone provides my favorite answer…
Water is essential for life and humans can only live for about three to four days without it. So all sarcasm aside, it is certainly important for everyone. What could be wrong with that answer? Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but even water will affect blood sugar!
Specifically, how hydrated you are will affect how well your cells are able to absorb insulin. Dehydration has been shown to cause insulin resistance, meaning you will need more insulin if you are dehydrated. Therefore, if you become dehydrated, you will likely see your blood sugar rise independent of other factors.
Interestingly, high blood sugar can also cause you to become dehydrated. When we have too much sugar in our blood stream, our bodies try to filter it out through our kidneys and it exits our bodies in our urine*. Meaning we pee more and become dehydrated. This is part of the reason many medical professionals recommend drinking water and rehydrating when we are having a high blood sugar. It will help clear the excess sugar and help our cells absorb the insulin better.
As an athlete, proper hydration is even more important. It affects everything from our blood volume, to muscle function, to digestion and brain function. If you’re used to working out, I’m sure you’ve noticed the thirst you inevitably feel during a tough workout. You may have also felt the “drag” of trying to workout while dehydrated.
I’m certainly no expert on water but if it is going to help me train better, perform better and keep healthier blood sugars, I say bottoms up**!
For more on water, Dr. Steven Gundry has a great podcast episode that I found to be really interesting. He talks about tap vs bottled, sparkling, raw, alkalinity and fasting among other things.
*This is why drinking/peeing is a symptom of undiagnosed diabetes.
**Overhydration is also a thing and can be just as dangerous as dehydration. As with most things in life, balance and moderation are ideal!
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The content on this site is not intended to be medical advice. Always consult your doctor before beginning a fitness regimen or adjusting your diabetes management strategy.