The Best Sugar-Free Drinks for Diabetics

seltzer water with limes

You know meals and snacks impact blood sugar, but drinks are just as important when it comes to healthy blood sugar. Many drinks are high in added sugar and don’t contain any protein, fat, or fiber to help temper a spike in blood sugar. Plus, sweetened drinks increase your total daily calorie intake and can contribute to weight gain.

With an overwhelming selection of sweetened drinks, you may be wondering what diabetics can drink besides water. People with diabetes may tolerate a small amount of sweetened drinks from time to time, but sugar-free drinks are the best choice.

In this article, we’ll share shopping tips to help you choose blood sugar-friendly drinks and our favorite sugar-free drinks for diabetics. Let’s dive in.

Shopping Tips for Sugar-Free Drinks

When shopping for sugar-free drinks, always start by checking the Nutrition Facts label for sugar and carbohydrate content. There should be zero grams of added sugars in sugar-free drinks. The ingredient list also tells you if a drink contains artificial sweeteners, plant-based sweeteners, sugar alcohols, flavorings, food dyes, or preservatives. 

Let’s start with an example. If you are wondering whether diet soda or Gatorade Zero is good for diabetics, the answer is: it depends.

Drinks labeled “diet,” “sugar-free,” or “zero” contain non-nutritive sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, or stevia. These drinks taste sweet without calories and may not impact blood sugar, but they may not be the best choice for everyone.

A study reports some artificial sweeteners caused a rise in blood sugar, while other sweeteners showed no effect. Another study shows some people reported experiencing intense sugar cravings after consuming non-nutritive sweeteners.

The bottom line? Enjoy drinks with artificial sweeteners in moderation if you like the flavor, and know how they impact your blood sugar or increase sugar cravings. Ideally, you stick to sugar-free drinks altogether.

The 6 Best Sugar-Free Drinks for Diabetics

Here are the best drinks without any sweeteners:

  1. Water – It may not be the most exciting thing to drink, but plain water is essential for your health and hydration. 

If you don’t like water or get bored of drinking it all day long, try infusing a pitcher of water with fresh ingredients for refreshing, zero-calorie hydration that’ll remind you of a trip to the spa. Add any of the following to a pitcher of water and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours for optimal flavor:

  • Sliced strawberries or raspberries
  • Oranges, lemons, and/or limes
  • Sliced cucumbers 
  • A few sprigs of fresh herbs like basil mint 
  1. Seltzer – If you prefer your water with bubbles, you’ll be happy to know most seltzer waters are diabetes-friendly. There are tons of seltzer brands and flavors available.

Be sure to check the nutrition facts and ingredient list since some carbonated waters contain sweetener and/or fruit juice which adds sugar and calories. If you want to avoid manufactured flavorings, you can add your own squeeze of citrus fruit to plain seltzer. 

  1. Herbal Tea – Herbal teas can be enjoyed hot or cold and are flavorful without any caffeine, sugar, or calories. Herbal tea varieties include peppermint, chamomile, ginger, lemon balm, and rooibos. Some herbal blends offer health benefits, like supporting digestion, immune system function, or sleep. 
  1. Unsweetened Tea – Black, green, and white teas are an excellent source of health-boosting antioxidants and phytochemicals. You can brew unsweetened iced tea at home or find it ready-to-drink. Always double-check the label of store-bought iced teas to ensure no sugar has been added. 
  1. Coffee – Coffee is a better choice for a pick-me-up than any energy drink. The ladder is often high in sugar, total carbs, caffeine and may contain artificial colors and flavors. In turn, plain, black coffee contains no sugar and zero carbohydrates. 

Adding cream or milk to your coffee will add some sugar and carbs, so skip it or opt for unsweetened, plant-based milk. Pass on flavored creamers and syrups, which contain sugar. If you miss a spoonful of sugar in your coffee, try adding a sprinkle of cinnamon to your mug or coffee grounds before brewing for a sweet taste without a rise in blood sugar. 

  1. Unsweetened Plant Milks – The non-dairy section of the milk aisle can be overwhelming to navigate because there are so many options available. Almond, coconut, soy, and oat milks are all great options for people with diabetes. 

Look for plant milks that are labeled unsweetened. Chocolate- and vanilla-flavored plant milks, as well as those labeled “original,” “plain,” or “less sugar,” typically contain added sugar. 

Can Diabetics Drink Juice?

There’s no such thing as sugar-free juice, but that doesn’t mean you can never drink juice again. Some 100% fruit juices contain vitamins and minerals, like vitamin C in orange juice, but they’re still high in sugar and lack the fiber found in whole fruit, which helps stabilize blood sugar. 

If you’re craving fruit juice, try: 

  • Eating whole fruit
  • Measure your juice and drink no more than 4-ounces (½ cup) per serving
  • Water down your juice or add a splash to plain water or seltzer to add flavor to your H2O while keeping sugar and calories at bay.

Vegetables contain less sugar than fruit. A blended veggie juice can be a tasty lower-sugar alternative to fruit juice. Vegetable juice still contains some calories and natural sugar. Here, too, the rule of moderation applies.

Store-bought vegetable juices are often high in salt. Keep an eye out for reduced-sodium options or make your own at home. Blending whole vegetables preserves the fiber in veggies and is better than juicing for blood sugar purposes. 

Try tossing fresh tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, and leafy greens in a blender with some water. For extra depth of flavor, you can add garlic, fresh or dried herbs, and a splash of red wine or apple cider vinegar.


Unsweetened drinks can help you meet hydration needs without impacting blood sugar levels and typically contain fewer calories than sweetened drinks, which can support a healthy weight.

From infused waters to flavored seltzers, many sugar-free drink options are anything but boring. Use this list to help you choose the best zero sugar drinks for optimal blood sugar control. 

When it comes to diabetes, foods and drinks impact everyone differently. The best way to know what works best for you is to test your blood sugar regularly. The DigiVibe device will make finger pricking pain free. Start exploring today and learn more about which sugar-free drinks work best for you.


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