What should you drink?

It's easy to overlook beverages when meal planning. Sugary drinks and juice can add empty calories and extra carbohydrates to your diet, so be sure to limit these.

Limit or avoid drinks that contain sugar, such as iced tea, lemonade, soda, flavored waters, and any drink that is labeled as "sweetened."


  • 1 cup skim or 1 percent milk
  • ½ cup 100 percent juice
  • 1 cup coffee or tea (without sugar)
  • 8 ounces diet soda
  • water

Using sweeteners

There are two types of sweeteners:

  • with calories: If you use granulated sugar, brown sugar, honey or syrup, use in moderation. One tablespoon of this sweetener has 15 grams of carbohydrate.
  • without calories (sugar substitutes): Aspartame (Equal®, NutraSweet®), saccharin (Sweet'N Low®), sucralose (Splenda®) or stevia (Truvia®, Pure Via™) adds a few to no calories or carbohydrates.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Basic Skills for Living with Diabetes, sixth edition
First Published: 11/27/2006
Last Reviewed: 10/23/2019

Did you know?

Foods that are labeled "sugar-free" often have sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol. Sugar-free does not mean it is carbohydrate-free.

You can find sugar alcohols in sugar-free foods such as puddings, ice creams and candy.