They say “you are what you eat.” But, are you also what you drink?

It turns out that your choice of beverages can have a major impact on your health. Recent studies show that consuming just two to three sugary drinks per week can increase your blood sugar – and your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

“Our bodies digest sugary drinks more easily than other sources of carbohydrates, which leads to a rapid rise in our blood sugar,” says Vatche Zohrabian, DO, an internist with Hartford HealthCare Medical Group in Milford.

Ready for a drink replacement? One (or all) of these three drinks could help balance your blood sugar levels and reduce your risk of health complications down the road, says Dr. Zohrabian.

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1. Water

Water indirectly lowers our blood sugar by giving us the sensation of feeling full.

“This ultimately reduces our intake of carbohydrates and sugars,” explains Dr. Zohrabian. “Drinking more water will also increase blood circulation through our kidneys and filter out excess glucose (blood sugar) in our urine.”

> Related: Could Hydration Slow Aging and Reduce Risk of Early Death?

2. Unsweetened teas

Unsweetened teas contain antioxidants that reduce inflammation and lower our overall blood sugars.

“Green tea, specifically, decreases long-term markers of diabetes (called hemoglobin A1C) by reducing our body’s insulin resistance,” says Dr. Zohrabian.

3. Black coffee

Drinking black coffee – in moderation – improves our body’s ability to metabolize sugar, reducing our long-term blood sugar levels.

“Too much caffeine, however, can cause dehydration,” explains Dr. Zohrabian. “When we’re dehydrated, our bodies release stress hormones which can cause an increase in our blood sugar levels.”

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Do your best to avoid these drinks

Steer clear of these sugary options:

  • Sports drinks: cause rapid spikes in our blood sugar due to high levels of carbohydrates.
  • Diet soda: increases insulin resistance and the risk of diabetes because of the artificial sweetener it contains.
  • Fruit juices: the fructose in fruit juices is strongly linked to insulin resistance and diabetes.
  • Alcohol: reduces insulin sensitivity and leads to low blood sugar when consumed in excess.

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Balancing blood sugar is important for everyone

“Balancing our blood sugar levels help keep our energy levels stable, balances our mood, reduces appetite and promotes weight loss,” explains Dr. Zohrabian, “While imbalances, either too high or too low, promote inflammation and lead to fatigue, weight gain and mood imbalance.”

Overall, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels reduce the long-term risk of cardiovascular disease, boosts our immune systems, and improves cognitive function.

So, next time you find yourself reaching for that Coke, remember – you are what you drink.