Is Ginger Ale Good For Diabetics (9 Benefits and Health Risks)

Ginger ale has been used as a natural remedy for many conditions, including gastrointestinal disorders, colds, flu, pain relief, and nausea. More recently, studies have shown that ginger ale is also effective for controlling blood glucose levels in people with diabetes.

This article will uncover the health benefits and risks of this popular drink.

What is ginger ale?

Ginger ale is a carbonated drink made from ginger, water, sugar, and carbon dioxide. This healthy beverage is enjoyed by people worldwide for its refreshing and slightly spicy taste, and it is available in both regular and diet versions. The drink contains no caffeine and has a low-calorie content.

It can be easily brewed at home by boiling ginger in water and straining it. You can also add honey or sugar to sweeten it as desired.

Is Ginger Ale Good For Diabetics?

Ginger contains an essential oil called Zingibain, which is converted to Zinc Gluconate, which acts on insulin receptors in cells of the pancreas and other organs such as the liver and kidneys. This helps regulate blood sugar levels.

Therefore, it is no surprise that studies have shown ginger to control blood sugar levels effectively.

Two recent scientific papers assessed the efficacy of ginger in type 2 diabetics and found both type 2 diabetes markers (fasting plasma glucose, insulin resistance) and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C) were reduced significantly in the ginger group compared to placebo.

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9 Health benefits of ginger ale for diabetics

#1. Ginger ale regulates blood sugar levels

As mentioned earlier, ginger effectively regulates blood sugar levels, which is especially beneficial for those taking medications for type 2 diabetes treatment.

It can be taken as an add-on therapy and other medications to help control blood sugar levels.

#2. Ginger ale helps improve insulin sensitivity

Ginger has also been shown to help improve insulin sensitivity, which is another key factor in controlling blood sugar levels.

Zingibain and Gingerol are the main compounds in this spice and are responsible for activating insulin receptors, resulting in increased glucose uptake by cells.

A study published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine found that 330 and 660 mg of dried ginger effectively lowered fasting plasma glucose and HbA1C (average blood sugar levels over three months).

Type 2 diabetics given dried ginger powder compared to those given placebo had a significant lowering of fasting plasma glucose and HbA1C levels.

#3. Ginger ale reduces cholesterol levels

Ginger has been shown to reduce total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in people with high cholesterol.

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that ginger reduced total cholesterol by 12.5%, LDL by 14%, and triglycerides by 20%.

This is due to the presence of gingerols and shogaols in ginger which helps inhibit the activity of enzymes like HMG-CoA reductase, responsible for the production of cholesterol.

#4. Ginger ale helps improve heart health

Ginger has also been shown to help improve heart health. It does this by reducing the risk of blood clot formation, improving blood circulation, and preventing oxidation of LDL cholesterol.

It can also reduce blood pressure by increasing HDL and lowering VLDL cholesterol levels.

A study published in the International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology showed that ginger added to hot water relieved symptoms of intermittent claudication, irritation, or damage to arteries caused by narrowed blood vessels due to blockage, which causes pain in the legs when walking long distances.

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Ginger has also been shown to protect against artery blockages, leading to strokes. All of these factors help keep the heart healthy and functioning properly.

#5. Ginger ale helps in weight loss

Ginger has thermogenic properties and can help in weight loss. It increases the body’s heat production and metabolic rate, helping you burn more calories.

Therefore, drinking ginger ale can help you lose weight in a healthy way.

#6. Ginger ale is anti-inflammatory

This spice has powerful anti-inflammatory properties which can help reduce inflammation throughout the body. This is especially beneficial for arthritis, asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease.

#7. Ginger ale improves digestion

Ginger has also been shown to promote proper digestion by increasing the secretion of digestive juices and bile, speeding up the emptying of stomach contents into the intestines, and preventing intestinal gas formation.

It has anti-spasmodic effects, which help relieve cramps during diarrhea.

#8. Ginger ale can help relieve nausea and vomiting

Ginger is a well-known natural remedy for nausea and vomiting, and it helps calm the stomach and stop the nauseous feeling.

This is especially helpful for pregnant women experiencing morning sickness and cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

#9. Ginger ale can prevent diabetic complications

Ginger has also been shown to prevent nerves, eyes, and kidneys in diabetics.

It does this by regulating blood sugar levels, improving insulin sensitivity, reducing cholesterol levels, and preventing heart disease, which are all factors that can lead to diabetic complications if left uncontrolled.

What are the Health Risks of drinking ginger ale?

In most cases, ginger ale is generally safe to drink if taken in moderation.

However, if consumed in large quantities or over a long period, it can lead to some side effects. Large doses of magnesium oxide found in many commercial brands of ginger ale have been linked with severe diarrhea and decreased absorption of other minerals.

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Long-term ginger ale can also cause heartburn due to its high acid content. It can also interact with certain medications, so it is always best to consult with a health care professional before consuming it if you are taking any medications.

Is diet ginger ale good for diabetics?

Diet Ginger ale is made using artificial sweeteners, potassium citrate, citric acid, and caramel color, without any added sugar.

According to the dietitian, people should avoid artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose (Splenda), saccharin, and acesulfame K altogether. Artificial sugar substitutes have no nutritional value whatsoever and cannot be termed a health food; they may do more harm than good to the heart patient’s diet.

While it may have fewer carbs than regular ginger ale, it contains harmful artificial ingredients associated with health problems. It is best to steer clear of sugar-free diet soda altogether as far as diabetes is concerned.

How to prepare ginger ale at home?

It is very easy if you want to prepare ginger ale at home.

You will need 200 grams of fresh ginger root that has been peeled and grated or chopped into small pieces.

Add this to one liter of water and boil it for about 10 minutes or until the liquid starts to reduce by half. Then add sugar while stirring continuously until the syrup reaches the desired thickness.

Now add fresh lemon juice and allow it to cool completely. Finally, store it in a bottle and keep it refrigerated until you can drink it.

Add cold club soda to this syrup and serve chilled.

The sugar can be replaced with stevia to reduce the sugar content further and make it suitable for people with diabetes, who require a low glycemic index diabetes diet.

References

https://www.britannica.com/topic/ginger-ale

https://www.mdpi.com/2311-5637/6/4/102/htm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3665023/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3519348/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30466995/

Dr Sharon Baisil MD

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