Rethink Your Drink

By Denise Pinkney

There’s nothing like a nice hot dessert coffee with lots of whipped cream to take the chill out of a cold North Dakota day. But if you have diabetes, you may need to think twice before you place your order at your favorite coffee shop.

Rethink your drink by requesting fat-free milk instead of whole milk and holding the whip.

Registered dietitian Tera Miller of the North Dakota Department of Health has some great tips on how you can “rethink your drink” because small changes can prevent diabetes and its complications.

Did you know that about 26 million Americans have diabetes, and another 79 million are at risk for developing it? In North Dakota, more than 37,000 people are affected by diabetes.

According to Tera, many beverages contain added sugar and offer little or no nutrients, while others may provide nutrients but too much fat and too many calories.  

Next time, you head to your favorite coffee shop, consider these tips from Tera:

  • Request fat-free (skim) milk instead of whole milk.
  • Order the smallest size available.
  • Skip the extra flavoring used in coffee shops, like vanilla or hazelnut.
  • Skip the whip. Save on calories and fat!
  • Get back to basics and order a plain cup of coffee with fat-free milk and a touch of sugar or drink it black.

How does your drink add up? The North Dakota Department of Health provided this handy chart:  

Beverage Calories
in 12-oz. drink
in 20-oz. drink
Flavored latte w/ whole milk 220 370
Apple juice 180 300
Lemonade 168 280
Flavored latte w/ skim milk 150 250
Lemon/lime soda 148 247
Regular cola 136 227
Sport drink 99 165
Fitness water 18 36
Coffee (black) 5 5
Unsweetened iced tea 0 0
Water 0 0

You might ask if it really makes a difference if you get a skim latte instead of one with whole milk. And the answer is yes.  If you’re at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, you can lower your risk by losing 5 percent of your weight, or 10 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds.

Remember, a healthy weight loss is one to two pounds a week. That means if you cut roughly 500 calories a day, you can lose one pound per week.

By reducing the number of calories in what you eat and drink, you can make a difference.

Denise Pinkney is an editor in the Communications department at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.

2 Responses

  1. Susan R. Carpenter

    I have a question about the spread called nutella for people that have diabetes. It is made with skim milk and cocoa however it has 21 grams of sugar per serving. How would this affect a person with diabetes if you eat it weelky on toast with an apple?
    Are the fats that you eat more important than the sugars that you eat in trying to
    control your diabetes?

  2. Rick

    I read your article with interest…happily I can have Hot Chocolate and only have to worry about the Calories! Ha!
    Just wanted to acknowledge your work…keep it up.
    Rick O.

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