How Zevia Drinks Can Help Diabetics Manage Their Condition

Those who live with diabetes have to be careful about how much sugar they consume, especially when it comes to sugary drinks like soda and iced tea. But drinks made with stevia, like the popular brand Zevia, might actually be good for blood sugar, making them a solid choice for diabetics (via Medical News Today).

When we eat or drink, food turns into sugar and goes into the bloodstream, which is then used by your cells for fuel, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Insulin, a hormone made in the pancreas, "unlocks" the cells to let the blood sugar in. But when you have diabetes, your body either doesn't make enough (or any) insulin or doesn't use it well, so blood sugar builds up in the bloodstream. If high blood sugar goes untreated for a long time, it can cause major health complications, such as nerve damage, kidney disease, stroke, foot problems, and heart disease.

Not all sugar is the same, though. Soda and other sugary drinks are some of the top foods for diabetics to avoid, according to Healthline. The average can of soda has 40 grams of sugar, which raises blood sugar quickly and has minimal nutritional value.

The benefits of stevia-sweetened drinks for those with diabetes

Some sodas are better than others, though, like ones made with stevia. Stevia is a sweetener made from a plant that's native to North and South America (per Medical News Today). Unlike sugar, it's naturally zero-calorie, while also being a whopping 150-300 times more sweet than sugar. And the American Heart Association (AHA) and American Diabetes Association (ADA) have both said that when used appropriately, stevia can actually be beneficial for those with diabetes.

Zevia is a popular drink brand that makes products like soda, sweet tea, and energy drinks that are naturally sweetened with stevia (via Zevia). They have flavor options like cherry cola, cream soda, grapefruit citrus, mango ginger, and passionfruit tea, and have zero grams of added sugar. This means that if you have diabetes and drink a Zevia drink, your blood sugar won't spike.

However, the AHA and ADA caution that diabetics can lose the benefits of drinking stevia-sweetened beverages if they consume all the calories they saved elsewhere in their diet (via Medical News Today). When consumed responsibly, the benefits of stevia for diabetics include controlling blood sugar, reducing hunger, protection against liver and kidney damage, reduced cholesterol, and potential antioxidant properties. In fact, a 2016 study showed that stevia leaf powder actually lowered blood sugar in those with diabetes.