Living with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) involves limiting foods that could raise blood sugar to high levels. Juice can be a part of an overall healthy diet in limited amounts. Keeping serving sizes to 4 ounces or less -- about 1/2 cup -- limits the carbohydrate load. Fruit juice is sometimes helpful to treat low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, due to the fast absorption of the sugar. The nutrient quality of juices varies, so it's helpful to know which juices are healthier choices. There are also alternatives to drinking plain juice that can help limit your carbohydrate intake.
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Vegetable juice is a lower-carbohydrate alternative to fruit juice. For example, a 4-ounce glass of a tomato-based vegetable juice contains 5.5 g of carbohydrate. However, a 4-ounce serving of a similar vegetable-fruit juice blend typically has 13.7 g of carbohydrate.
Low-level inflammation is a contributing factor to insulin resistance and T2DM, particularly in people who are overweight. The authors of a June 2013 "British Journal of Nutrition" study report found that overweight and obese women experienced reduced inflammation after drinking about 1.5 cups of tomato juice daily for 3 weeks. These findings suggest that tomato-based vegetable juice and tomato juice can be good, low-carbohydrate juice options -- and might assist in reducing inflammation.
When choosing a fruit juice, the American Diabetes Association recommends 100 percent fruit juice with no added sugar. Pomegranate, cranberry and grape juice all contain a high concentration of antioxidants, according to research published in January 2010 in "Nutrition Journal." Foods rich in antioxidants might help prevent or limit damage caused by an overabundance of free radicals, chemicals that can injure cells. Excess accumulation of free radicals contributes to diabetes and its complications, according to research published in a December 2012 in the "Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism." Some commercial fruit juices offer the benefit of added nutrients, such as vitamin D and calcium, which is noted on the packaging.
Whole Fruit and Alternatives
Nothing can top consuming the real deal, in the form of whole fruit. Whole fruit provides fiber from the skin and pulp, which may also contain additional vitamins, minerals and other nutrients not found in juice. For people who enjoy juice but are looking for lower-carbohydrate alternatives, a splash of fruit juice in sparkling water or making fruit- or vegetable-infused water can be flavorful options. A drink can also be made with 50 percent juice and 50 percent water to cut the carbohydrates in half. Reduced-calorie juices are another alternative, in moderation. These products usually have one-half the carbohydrate content of a regular juice.
Warnings and Precautions
Balancing your diet with a mix of carbohydrates, protein and fat at each meal can help keep blood sugars within a normal range and aid in controlling calorie intake. Small amounts of juice can be included in a healthy diet. Accounting for fruit juice in a daily diet plan will help keep blood sugar under control. Always consult with a medical provider if problems arise controlling blood sugar levels. Also, speak with your provider if you are consuming grapefruit juice, as it can interfere with certain medications. If needed, a registered dietitian can help find ways to incorporate juice into a healthy diet.
- British Journal of Nutrition: Tomato Juice Consumption Reduces Systemic Inflammation in Overweight and Obese Females
- The Journal of Clinical Investigation: Inflammation, Stress, and Diabetes
- Nutrition Journal: The Total Antioxidant Content of More Than 3,100 Foods, Beverages, Spices, Herbs and Supplements Used Worldwide
- Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism: Antioxidants and Diabetes
- American Diabetes Association: Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes - 2016
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28: Campbell's, V8 Vegetable Juice, Organic V8
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28: Vegetable and Fruit Juice Blend, 100 Percent Juice