Diabetes Self-Management Blog

Ah yes, I remember it so unfondly, the month or so before my diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes. The thirst! Oh the excessive, abnormal, unquenchable thirst. I wanted a garden hose hooked up to my mouth, a river of fresh water at all times. To guzzle (and then pee), then guzzle some more (and then pee some more): this was my modus operandi.

Back then, that February and early March of 2007, it didn’t matter what I had to drink, so long as it was wet and potable. Just give me more. Polydipsia: it’s one of the things that living for weeks with a blood glucose of over 400 mg/dl will do to a person.

Thankfully, constant thirst is not part my life anymore. Once the doctors made the diagnosis of diabetes and put me on insulin, I lost that need to be constantly sating my thirst.

Why write about polydipsia now? It’s mostly an associative thing. See, these past few months I’ve been trying to drink as much water as possible, and more than a couple of times, while downing a glass of water or slugging a liter bottle at the gym, I’m reminded of those prediagnosis middle-of-the-night unquenchable moments when I stood at the fridge, two-liter of Diet Coke or gallon of milk or bottle of OJ in hand, or at the sink, the tap running while I’d gulp, refill, repeat.

These days my water consumption, while great, is not the “drink until I get water intoxication.” Nah, this move toward more water is a good, healthy shift to give my body what it needs. I’ll spare you my attempts at the details of water’s health benefits for someone with diabetes. You should already know this! Or, you can find that easily enough online, right here at Diabetes Self-Management via a simple search for “water” (check out Amy Campbell’s article “Water, Water Everywhere”).

But let me share with you my more-water mindset — in case you’re interested.

I’m not a person with many bad habits, but one habit I wasn’t fond of was my overdoing the Diet Coke. While I don’t buy in to all of the Chicken-Little messages about aspartame, I was pushing a lot of caffeine into my body, and something about the soda also seemed to stimulate my appetite: when I drank Diet Coke — and if you’re following me, you know that was a lot — I usually wanted something to snack on with it.

So I decided to slowly replace much of my Diet Coke drinking, slowly but surely, with water consumption, doing so not in a cold-turkey, “I’ll never drink Diet Coke again” way, because I’ll still enjoy a Diet Coke if I want to. Yet I’ve kind of kicked it out of the house. It’s a treat, not an ever-present beverage.

Water, delicious, quenching, tasteless water. That’s what I prefer. With all of the medicines I take, that flushing of the kidneys can’t be a bad thing. And drinking a lot of water? I rarely feel hungry, even though I’m eating less. And it’s good for the skin. Hell, it’s good for everything.

Oh, but not only water — delicious, quenching, tasteless sparkling water. Yep. That’s what I love to drink now. I can’t get enough of it. Water and a little carbonation equals love.

At our house we employ the do-it-ourselves variety of sparkling. In the spring of 2009 we bought a Black & Decker Bottom-Loading Water Dispenser. Slightly self-indulgent, I know. But I love cold water at the ready, and despite my awareness that there’s nothing wrong with tap water, I really don’t like its taste.

About a month ago, my wife was smitten by a friend’s SodaStream machine during an evening of dinner and drinks. There were cocktails, but there was also ample soda water to help keep people hydrated. The next day, as a belated birthday gift, Kathryn ran out to Macy’s and bought one. And this machine has revolutionized my water consumption. I now drink at least three liters of this daily, along with the water I drink at work and at the gym. My cravings for Diet Coke that used to happen? Now I fantasize about getting home to make some sparkling water and down a tall, cold glass.

The expense? The self-indulgence? Not an issue. What I mean is, after the initial investment in the cooler and the SodaStream machine, the $4 five-gallon refills aren’t much of an expense. We go through one jug every three or four days (using it only for drinking, not cooking or anything else). Look, I used to spend about $5 daily on Diet Coke. If it wasn’t the two-liters for home, of which I’d easily drink one a day, then it was the 20-ounce bottle at the convenience store, or the soda with lunch. That adds up.

As for the CO2 canisters for the SodaStream? After the initial canister purchase, we are able to swap out our used canisters at the local Ace Hardware for $14 each. Very much like propane for the grill. One canister lasts about two or three weeks. We probably carbonate more water than most people. Maybe not. I don’t know others’ sparkling-water habits.

Overall, then, as someone with Type 1 diabetes, I have no problems indulging myself somewhat, and I’m perfectly fine with the money we’re spending on water.

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Comments
  1. Coincidentally, a friend sent me the following shortly before your blog posted (it’s online at
    http://www.funny2.com/water.htm):

    Water vs. Coke
    What would YOU like to drink?

    WATER

    75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. (This likely applies to half the world population.)

    In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger.

    Even MILD dehydration will slow down one’s metabolism as much as 3%.

    One glass of water will shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied (in a University of Washington study).

    Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue.

    Preliminary research indicates that 8 to 10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.

    A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page.

    Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.

    COKE

    In many states the highway patrol carries two gallons of Coke in the trunk to remove blood from the highway after a car accident.

    You can put a T-bone steak in a bowl of Coke and it will be gone in two days.

    To clean a toilet: Pour a can of Coca-Cola into the toilet bowl and let the “real thing” sit for one hour, then flush clean. The citric acid in Coke removes stains from vitreous china.

    To remove rust spots from chrome car bumpers: Rub the bumper with a rumpled-up piece of aluminum foil dipped in Coca-Cola.

    To clean corrosion from car battery terminals: Pour a can of Coca-Cola over the terminals to bubble away the corrosion.

    To loosen a rusted bolt: Applying a cloth soaked in Coca-Cola to the rusted bolt for several minutes.

    To bake a moist ham: Empty a can of Coca-Cola into the baking pan, wrap the ham in aluminum foil, and bake. Thirty minutes before the ham is finished, remove the foil, allowing the drippings to mix with the Coke for a sumptuous brown gravy.

    To remove grease from clothes: Empty a can of Coke into a load of greasy clothes, add detergent, and run through a regular cycle. The Coca-Cola will help loosen grease stains.

    Coke will also clean road haze from your windshield.

    FOR YOUR INFORMATION:

    The active ingredient in Coke is phosphoric acid. Its pH is 2.8. It will dissolve a nail in about four days. Phosphoric acid also leaches calcium from bones and is a major contributor to the rising increase in osteoporosis.

    To carry Coca-Cola syrup (the concentrate) the commercial truck must use the “Hazardous Material” place cards reserved for highly corrosive materials.

    The distributors of Coke have been using it to clean the engines of their trucks for about 20 years!

    Now the question is, would YOU like a glass of water or Coke?

    OK, so it’s Diet Coke (which, in my opinion, is only good for making Mento geysers).

    Jan Chait

    Posted by Jan |
  2. While I agree that water is probably better for you than sodas, I’m surprised that this scientific minded community promotes falsehoods about the uses and effects of Coke. A simple check of the Snopes website can put the record straight.
    http://www.snopes.com/cokelore/acid.asp

    Posted by Rob |
  3. Oops! Obviously, it’s retribution for all of the times I’ve said: “Mom! Do you believe everything somebody sends you? Check it out on Snopes, will ya?”

    Jan

    Posted by Jan |
  4. I too am an addict of my beloved coke zero. I love the taste and probably go through 3 cans a day. I don’t drink it though to quench my thirst; when I need to do that, I drink water. I have been drinking diet coke now for about 28 years, since I became a Type 1 Diabetic at the age of twelve. I don’t think it has affected me in a negative way. I also look at it this way, in order to live as a healthy Diabetic, I eat well, watch my carbs, sugars and avoid fast foods, so in turn I treat myself to my darling coke zeros. To me, its well worth the trade off!

    Posted by Carmen |
  5. I got the idea from Mendoza’s monthly news letter. I purchased a machine and also a few of their diet syrups to flavor the drinks. I am really pleased with the device. Even just the carbonated water is a treat.

    Robinhood16

    Posted by Robinhood16 |
  6. Lets hope all parts of the machine, including the bottle, are NOT made from plastic. It then may leach BPA in the water which is suspected to cause diabetes ….

    Posted by gys de Jongh |
  7. I love sparkling water. Hated the waste and buying 2 or 3 cases a month. Found Soda Club, now known as Soda Stream over 2 years ago. I use and like their syrups. I tried using other flavoring and found that crystal light and other powdered flavors work very well, but you need to add slowly to your water or it bubbles up very fast.

    Posted by Joann |
  8. I was under the opinion that carbonation leached calcium from the bones and thus was not a good thing to be indulging in excessively. Does anyone have any information on this subject.

    Posted by Bob S |

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