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One of the questions I often get asked by clients is what they can drink when they are on their new eating plan. They are often not that happy to hear my answer: "Water!"

"What? Not even fruit juice? What about squash? Isn't there anything else I can drink?"

The truth is water really is the best thing to be drinking. I am not going to discuss the pros and cons of filtered, tap or bottled here (I may well do that in a later post!), but for now let me be clear that plain water is the most thirst-quenching natural thing to be drinking. Other drinks that I recommend are herbal teas - I often make specific recommendations on these for different health problems. Coffee and tea are also good choices in moderation, although best not to have caffeine after lunch in case it affects your ability to nod off to sleep at bedtime.

However, sugary and artificially-sweetened drinks are two things I just do not give the green light to. Sweet fizzy drinks and juices spike blood sugar levels in the same way that cakes, biscuits and sweet do and are not beneficial to health. In some cases, juices may be recommended where a person has very low appetite and needs some quick nutrition.

People are often surprise when I tell them that diet drinks are not helpful for managing diabetes or weight loss, but studies have shown that the compounds in these drinks drive glucose intolerance by altering the sensitive balance of bacteria in the gut (1).

If the thought of plain water is just too boring (the most common complaint I hear!) then try making it more exciting by adding slices of lemon or apple, or mint leaves. The longer you leave the fruit in the water, the more flavour you'll get, so make up a jug in the morning and sip on it throughout the day.

(1) Suez, J., Korem, T., Zeevi, D., Zilberman-Schapira, G., Thaiss, C. A., Maza, O., … Elinav, E. (2014). Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota. Nature.

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