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Does Water Dilute Sugar in Blood?

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Melissa Mitri post Reviewer Melissa Mitri post Reviewer
Verified by Melissa Mitri
MS, Registered Dietitian, Former President of CT Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics

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What you eat and drink directly determines your blood sugar levels. 

High-carb foods and sugary drinks can obviously increase glucose levels in the blood, but what about water? Does water dilute the sugar in the blood? Today, we are going to take a look at the relationship between water intake and blood sugar levels. 

What is Blood Sugar? The Basics

Before exploring further into this topic, let’s first brush up on the basics of blood sugar. 

Glucose is the principal sugar in your blood and as well as the main source of energy in your body. This glucose comes from the foods you eat, and it gets broken down by the cells to produce energy. 

Although glucose is necessary for many vital functions, it can be harmful if its levels in the blood get too high. If blood sugar levels remain at values higher than normal for too long, it can lead to undesirable consequences such as heart problems, blindness, or kidney failure [1].  

Therefore, it is critical to monitor your blood glucose levels regularly—especially if you have diabetes or if you’re at risk of developing diabetes. 

A fasting blood sugar level between 100 -125 mg/dL means that you have a high risk of developing diabetes (pre-diabetes), while a level higher than 126 mg/dL means you already have diabetes [2]

Diabetes is one of the leading causes of high blood sugar, and it can occur due to your body’s inability to manage blood glucose properly.

How Does The Body Regulate Blood Sugar Levels?

Your body maintains relatively steady sugar levels in your blood with the help of two main hormones: insulin and glucagon.

The release of each of them is controlled by two types of cells – beta cells and alpha cells.

When glucose concentration rises in the blood, beta cells in your pancreas release insulin which helps transport glucose into your cells [3]

Excess glucose is stored in the form of glycogen, and this lowers the sugar concentration in the blood. When blood glucose levels drop too low, alpha cells in your pancreas secrete glucagon, a hormone that breaks down glycogen and releases glucose back into the blood [4]

When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or does not respond to it properly, so your blood sugar levels stay high. 

Factors such as your meal composition, activity levels, stress, and medications can influence your blood glucose levels at a given time.

The Impact of Water on Blood Sugar Levels

Research indicates that drinking a lot of water can lower your risk of developing diabetes [5]. Studies also suggest that not drinking enough water increases your chances of hyperglycemia (the technical term for high blood sugar) [6].

Although several underlying mechanisms are proposed, one simple explanation for this is dehydration. Your blood volume decreases when you’re dehydrated, and this changes the sugar: water ratio in your blood. 

Thus, dehydration increases blood sugar concentration, resulting in high blood sugar readings. This is the case even if the actual amount of sugar in your blood remains unchanged [7]. In such a situation, drinking water can lower blood sugar levels.

Does Water Dilute Sugar In The Blood?

As we explained just now, water can dilute the glucose concentration in your blood if you’re dehydrated. 

However, there is no evidence to say that water will flush out excess sugar with urine—unless you have a dangerously high blood sugar level. If you find sugar in your urine, you probably need medical attention. 

Water can also help bring down your blood sugar levels indirectly. In one proposed mechanism, drinking water lowers the concentration of a compound called vasopressin in the blood [8], which breaks down glycogen stores and increases blood glucose levels [9]

Water can also fill you up quickly, thus reducing the amount of food intake. Eating less means you have less glucose in the circulation. 

Another research study speculated that not drinking enough water impairs glucose regulation in people with diabetes via cortisol-mediated pathways, thus elevating blood glucose levels [10]. Cortisol is the stress hormone and is associated with impaired glucose levels.

Will Water Lower Blood Sugar Quickly?

In the case of elevated blood sugar due to severe dehydration, drinking water may restore the balance between sugar and water in the blood and decrease blood sugar levels in a matter of hours. 

However, in most other situations, it is unlikely to produce an instant drop in blood glucose. Research also seems to point towards habitual water intake for reducing blood sugar levels. 

Blood Sugar, Water Intake, and Weight Loss

Studies have confirmed that drinking water before eating decreases the amount of food eaten and, in turn, can reduce blood sugar and prevents weight gain [11]

Research also indicates that drinking water speeds up the metabolism, thus increasing energy expenditure [12]. In addition, water acts as an appetite suppressant, thus reducing food intake [13]

These studies prove that water helps in reducing body weight and maintaining low blood sugar levels. Weight loss, furthermore, has been proven to control type 2 diabetes effectively [14]

Other Ways to Control Blood Sugar Levels

Although increasing your water intake to decrease your blood glucose levels sounds simple and easy, that alone won’t work if you have prediabetes or diabetes. You need to implement a combination of lifestyle changes to better manage your blood sugar levels. 

If you do it right, you might even be able to put your diabetes into remission [15]

Here’s a list of lifestyle interventions you can apply to regulate your high blood sugar levels.

Eat Healthy

Eat meals that include plenty of lean protein, healthy fat, and complex carbs. Foods high in simple carbohydrates elevate postprandial blood sugar levels quickly followed by rapid drops in blood sugar. This leads to impairments in sugar metabolism and can eventually result in full-blown diabetes. 

Ditch sugary drinks such as soda, fruit juices, and sweetened tea or coffee, as these can elevate blood sugar levels.

Unsure where to start? Learn more on how to change your eating habits.

Exercise More

Increase your activity levels. Moving more can improve your blood sugar levels and increase your insulin sensitivity [16]. Increased physical activity also burns down glucose, facilitating glucose uptake by the cells [16]

Keep Your Stress Levels In Check

Stress hormones have been found to interfere with the function of insulin-producing cells and decrease insulin release, thus resulting in high blood sugar levels [17]. Therefore, effectively managing your stress levels can help keep your blood sugar low. Engage in stress-releasing activities such as meditation and consult your doctor if necessary. 

How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day?

The amount of fluid recommended for the average adult man is 3.7 liters per day and 2.7 liters for the average adult woman [18]. However, the exact amount for you is based on different factors such as your activity level, the temperature of the environment, age, and the medications you are taking [19]

You can determine whether you drink enough water by looking at your urine. If it is colorless or light-colored and doesn’t have a strong odor, you’re well hydrated. If it is dark yellow, you need to drink more water.

Wrapping Up

Here are the main points and takeaways from today’s article:

  • Does water dilute the sugar in the blood? Yes, water can dilute sugar levels in the blood if you’re dehydrated.
  • Will drinking water lower blood sugar? Yes, it will, in the long run.
  • Does water flush out sugar? No, it usually doesn’t — unless you have critically high blood sugar levels.
Disclaimer This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

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