The Best Drinks to Crush Sugar Cravings, Say Dietitians
Craving something sweet? Your blood sugar levels could be the culprit. Blood sugar imbalance can cause your body to feel hungry, so keeping those blood sugar numbers in check is key to crushing those cravings for good.
If you're worried about your blood sugar levels, you're probably looking for easy, natural ways to improve your health. Luckily, there are some easy ways to get yourself in check, simply by what you choose to drink. Here, we spoke with dietitians and nutritionists about the very best beverages that, when consumed regularly, can lower your blood sugar in a flash. After, be sure to read The #1 Best Juice to Drink Every Day, Says Science.
Unless you've avoided social media for the past few years, you're likely familiar with this type of green tea. It offers many of the same benefits, but it's prepared uniquely. To craft this (non-alcoholic!) cocktail, you take young tea leaves and grind them into a powder to be whisked in hot water for an antioxidant-rich, warming drink, explains Sarah Koszyk, MA, RDN, and co-founder of MIJA. While it might take a little extra time to whip up, it's worth it to lower your blood sugar levels.
"Multiple studies have associated green tea consumption with reducing fasting insulin levels and reducing A1c levels," she explains. "The catechins found within matcha help improve insulin sensitivity. Matcha is rich in EGCG, which stimulates glucose uptake into the cells and reduces blood sugar levels."
We all know that vital water is to our overall health and vitality, allowing our bodies to perform optimally. So it's likely no surprise that good 'ole H20 can lower your blood sugar, too. Dehydration creates an environment for a higher blood sugar concentration, and to make things a little more difficult, the higher blood sugar can further contribute to dehydration, explains Marissa Kai Miluk, MS, RDN, an intuitive eating registered dietitian nutritionist.
"Drinking more water will help keep you hydrated and eliminate excess glucose (sugar) through the urine," she explains.
And if you get bored of plain water? Don't sweat it. She says to try flavored sparkling water like Bubbly or La Croix.
"These water variations can increase the satisfaction factor that is imperative to living a healthful life while managing your blood sugars," she adds.
Also known as Turmeric Milk, Koszyk says this beverage has a long history of many positive benefits, including blood sugar regulation. Though there are many recipes out there, she says the best ingredients to include are your milk of choice, turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger. (Of course, you want to skip adding sugar or syrup because that can spike blood sugars!)
However, if you need a little sweet, Koszyk says to use an alternative natural sweetener like monk fruit, made from real melon-like fruit, that doesn't affect blood sugars and can actually improve glycemic control—and sugar cravings.
Why does it work? "Turmeric is packed with antioxidants, such as curcumin, which gives the spice that orange coloring and provides anti-inflammatory benefits," she continues. "Oxidative stress plays a role in insulin resistance, and the antioxidants found within turmeric can reduce this stress and provide better blood sugar management. Cinnamon also helps lower blood sugar by making insulin more efficient at moving glucose into cells."
While you may initially associate this tea with settling in for a good night's rest, the chamomile flower's antioxidants have other benefits, too. One study found that chamomile improved glycemic control markers in individuals with type 2 diabetes, according to Wendy Bazilian, PhD, RDN, author of Eat Clean, Stay Lean. Specifically, individuals with type 2 diabetes who consumed chamomile tea three times a day after meals for three weeks experienced the biggest improvement.
If you're a fan of your go-to morning smoothie packed with veggies and fruits, you'll be glad to know you're not only boosting your metabolism but lowering your blood sugar, too. Koszyk recommends using kale or spinach, celery, banana, and chia seeds to create a smoothie that's packed with fiber.
"People with diabetes or insulin resistance can benefit from enjoying a fiber-rich diet that will help regulate blood sugars," says Koszyk. "The banana is also a low glycemic fruit which means the body absorbs the sugar more slowly and is less likely to cause a spike in blood sugars."
"In addition, there is protein from the chia seeds in the green smoothie which also contributes to helping with the uptake of the carbohydrates, reduces the rapid absorption rate, and lowers blood sugar spikes," she continues.
Cinnamon-infused tea or coffee
Bazilian explains cinnamon has shown in many studies to help modulate blood sugar and have a hypoglycemic (blood sugar reducing) effect by increasing insulin sensitivity.
"Infusing your tea or coffee with some cinnamon sticks or sprinkling generously on the grounds before brewing may help," says Bazilian. "The key here for effect, though would be avoiding adding sugar to sweeten your drink once steeped or brewed."