Diabetes and Water: The Benefits, When and How Much to Drink

Posted March 15, 2021 by Michael Chamberlain - See Editorial Guidelines

Part of managing a diabetic condition includes many aspects of your overall well-being and diet. The fluids you consume make a difference. Diabetes and water is an important aspect of managing that condition.

So, in this article, we’re going to explain why water matters, how often and how much you should ideally be consuming, as well as the benefits it will provide.

First, here’s a quick summary, then we’ll get into more details.

Diabetes and Water – Dehydration causes your blood glucose to become concentrated, causing a spike in blood sugar. Water, when consumed in proper amounts, can dilute the sugar in your blood. The recommended water that individuals should drink each day is 15 cups for men and 11 cups for women. Water can also ease diabetic symptoms like polydipsia and polyuria.

Diabetes and water, is it important?

Diabetes and Water

Your body is made up of mostly water, so it would make sense that water is the most crucial fluid a person can drink each day.

When it comes to diabetes, water can promote better-controlled glucose levels and prevent major spikes.

Dehydration is the overriding reason why diabetes and water should go hand-in-hand.

To keep it simple, below is a breakdown of dehydration into three parts, which will give you a better understanding of how diabetes and water work together and why it matters.

1. Water dilutes concentrated glucose resulting from dehydration

When you don’t drink enough water, you become dehydrated. This will result in the glucose in your blood becoming more concentrated.

This occurs because your body doesn’t have sufficient water to dilute the glucose. As such, you will experience high blood sugar levels.

Both mild and severe dehydration can have a notable impact on your diabetes.

For example, even mild dehydration can cause your blood sugar levels to rise 50 to 100 mg/dL higher than if you were hydrated.

If you are consistently under-hydrated, then you may require more insulin than if you were getting enough water in your system.

In worse cases, you can end up in serious hyperglycemia, which might require some level of emergency care.

If you’re taken to the emergency room, you’ll be given an intravenous fluid regulation so that you can get hydrated quickly.

What happens here is the concentrated glucose in your bloodstream is diluted quickly because of the added fluid intake, lowering your blood sugar levels.

2. Choosing water is the best choice for diabetes

Drinking sugary drinks or high-caffeinated drinks can instantly spike up your blood sugar levels.

Just plain water, on the other hand, is free of calories, sweeteners, and other unnecessary ingredients.

Therefore, drinking water when you’re dehydrated instead of other drinks will hydrate you quickly without any negative effects on your blood sugar.

Water also contributes towards keeping any sugar cravings down.

Also, water is a natural appetite suppressant. Water will take up space in the stomach, making you feel full and reduce your hunger.

And you may sometimes feel you’re hungry when in fact, you’re thirsty. In that case, drinking some water before opting to eat something can help to reduce unnecessary snacking.

3. Water eases diabetes symptoms like polydipsia and polyuria

Feeling excessive thirst is a symptom of diabetes called polydipsia. This excessive thirst is also linked to another diabetes symptom: urinating more than normal (polyuria).

In truth, excessive thirst or urinating are often hallmark symptoms that you may have diabetes. This is because both are caused by excessive sugar in your blood.

Having diabetes means that your body cannot use sugar effectively, causing sugar to accumulate in your blood.

These high blood sugar levels then force your kidneys to dispose of the extra sugar. However, the kidneys need more urine to pass out the sugar from your body.

Read more about how diabetes affects your kidneys.

This is why you urinate more often when you have high blood sugar. So, when you urinate often, your body uses more of the water in your body than a normal system would.

During this process of getting rid of excess sugar, water from your tissues is also expelled.

Eventually, this process culminates in your body running low on water and causing greater levels of dehydration, therefore, making you feel thirsty because you’re losing too much water.

Your brain will tell you that you need water, but this dehydration will trigger further urination.

This increased urine and thirst cycle will continue until you drink sufficient water for your blood sugar levels to become evenly balanced.

How much water to drink for diabetes?

Diabetes and Water

There is no hard and fast rule on how much water you should drink for diabetes. 

As a guide, the general recommendation is for men to drink about 15 cups of day and women to drink about 11 cups.

This is only a minimum amount, drinking more (but within reason) is always going to be better.

Exceptions to water quantity

If you have the following conditions along with diabetes, you might need to monitor more closely the amount of water you drink.

Your doctor will be able to advise on how much water you should be drinking in relation to the following conditions:

  • Kidney disease or other kidney conditions
  • Thyroid disease
  • Liver issues
  • Heart conditions
  • Taking medications that cause water retention
  • Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Taking certain antidepressants
  • Taking opiate pain medications

Sparkling water or adding fruit slices to your water can help switch up the flavor to prevent plain water from getting too boring.

Drinking water at night for diabetes

Drinking water at night provides numerous benefits, especially for those with a diabetic condition.

Water at night will keep you stay hydrated throughout the night and help remove unwanted toxins such as bacteria which can increase the chances of further developing diabetes.

Detoxing the body during the night by drinking water not only encourages a detoxing effect but can also facilitate weight loss and lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

How effective is water for diabetes?

According to a study, high water intake can help prevent, or delay, the onset of hyperglycemia.

Participants who consumed more than one liter of water per day had a 28% lower risk of the onset of hyperglycemia than those participants who consumed less than 500ml of water per day.

This research also concluded that high water intake for diabetes can reduce the hormone vasopressin. This is an antidiuretic hormone that controls the rate at which fluid is removed from the body.

Disruptions in vasopressin levels can cause the kidneys to remove too much fluid, impacting blood sugar levels. Proper hydration can help normalize the levels of this hormone, allowing for stabilized blood sugar levels.

Additional reading

Living with diabetes

Pre-diabetes management

The hardest part about being diabetic

12 foods that lower insulin levels

Difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes

Further diabetes assistance

As always, for more questions about your condition, then consult with your doctor. As a complementary addition to your health services, Prescription Hope can help further regarding your medications.

If you’re having trouble affording any of your medications, enroll with us and see if you qualify to pay only $50 a month for each of your medications.