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Drink up but watch the calories!


It’s important to stay hydrated, especially during the summer, when the heat and humidity can lead you to perspire more. Sweating reduces the body's water level, and this loss of fluid can affect normal bodily functions.  Common symptoms of dehydration include headache, dry mouth and eyes, fatigue and dark yellow- coloured urine.

Some people with diabetes have an increased risk of dehydration, as high blood glucose levels can lead to decreased hydration in the body.

Drink up but watch the calories. But how can you stay hydrated during the summer, without consuming excess calories? Here are some tips, whether you’re at home or away.

When you’re at home

Stock your refrigerator with plenty of bottled water or other cooling drinks. Club soda and sparkling water are incredibly refreshing. If you crave a bit of flavour, squeeze a few drops of lemon or lime to give the water a tart flavour.

While juice in large amounts contains unneeded calories and sugar, you can top up an eight- or ten-ounce glass of soda water – or even tap water – with an ounce or two of cranberry or orange juice to add extra flavour, without adding lots of calories and sugar.

Herbal teas can be enjoyed at both hot and cold temperatures, and there are many delicious flavours from which to choose. Brew up a large pot of tea, then put the leftovers in a jug in the fridge, and enjoy any time of the day.

A great drink that many of us remember from our childhoods is sun tea. Why even heat up a kettle to make tea, when Mother Nature will do it for you? All you need is the sun to help you! To make sun tea, place four cups of water and five tea bags in a glass jug. Place the jug on a clean tray in direct sunlight for three to five hours. Pour over ice in a tall glass, and enjoy!

When you’re out and about

Specialty iced coffees and lattes at coffee shops are a big temptation, especially in the summer – they’re delicious, cooling and refreshing! While you can enjoy them as a special treat every now and then, beware of the calories, fat and sugar that some of them contain.

Here’s a rundown of some iced drinks available at national coffee shop chains. We’ll look at some of the less healthy choices and some of the healthier choices.

Tim Horton’s

One of Tim Horton’s most popular iced drinks is the Iced Capp, a concoction of coffee, cream and chocolate flavouring. A large Iced Capp contains a whopping 540 calories, 26 grams of fat and 201 grams of sugar (that’s about 40 teaspoons worth!).

Another popular summer offering at Tin Horton’s is frozen lemonade. Once again, the sugar content makes this offering a less healthy choice. Although a large Raspberry Frozen Lemonade contains only 220 calories and 0.1 gram of fat, it also packs in 49 grams of sugar (about 10 teaspoons).

For healthier choices at Tim Horton’s, consider their Iced Coffee (made with milk instead of cream). A medium Iced Coffee weighs in at 110 calories, 1 gram of fat, and 13 grams of sugar. A small Iced Latte has the same amount of calories, but 3 grams of fat and 16 grams of sugar.

For nutritional information regarding all of Tim Horton’s food and beverage offerings, click here.


Starbucks offers a multitude of coffee drinks to quench your summer thirst but, once again, beware of the calories, fat and sugar. The Double Chocolaty Chip Crème Frappucino made with whole milk contains 400 calories, 7 grams of fat and 49 grams of sugar.

Opt instead for a small Iced Skinny Latte, which contains 60 calories, 0.1 grams of fat and 8 grams of sugar. Starbucks has helpfully posted a webpage to help you make healthy drink choices. Click here to view 20 beverages that contain fewer than 200 calories per serving, or click here to review the nutritional values of all of Starbucks food and beverage offerings.

About Diabetes Care

Diabetes Care Community is the author of articles on a wide range of diabetes topics. All of these articles are written to a high standard of quality. They are reviewed for accuracy with health care professionals and, wherever possible, will adhere to Diabetes Canada's 2018 Clinical Practice Guidelines. It is our wish that you find our articles helpful. We welcome your feedback and comments.

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