Drinking water instead of one 8-ounce sugar-sweetened beverage can save a person about 100 calories, which might help prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes, says the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), Alexandria, Va. The association is reminding the public of water’s important role in helping people live healthier lifestyles and has partnered with other organizations and groups around the world in recognizing World Diabetes Day, Nov. 14.

One of these groups, Public Health Advocates (PHA), is holding its PHA Diabetes Conference in Sacramento, Calif., on Nov. 14, and IBWA is sponsoring the event, which is working to build health equity by linking community-based diabetes prevention and clinical treatment, the association says. 

“Staying well hydrated can help with managing blood sugar levels,” said Jill Culora, IBWA’s vice president of communications, in a statement. “As David Edelman from Diabetes Daily tells us, our blood is 83 percent water. When we lose water, the volume of blood decreases and the sugar remains the same. More concentrated blood sugar means higher blood sugars.”

Water also is needed for our kidneys to flush out extra glucose, according to diabetesselfmanagement.com. “For people with diabetes, the risk of dehydration is greater, because higher than normal blood glucose depletes fluids. To get rid of the glucose, the kidneys will try to pass it out in the urine, but that takes water. So the higher your blood glucose, the more fluids you should drink, which is why thirst is one of the main symptoms of diabetes,” the website reports.

Water also is a good choice for consumers who are trying to lower their risk of type 2 diabetes. Water avoids the extra calories, caffeine, sugar, and other ingredients found in sugary beverages, Culora said.

“Water plays a vital role in supporting nutritional health. Forty-seven percent of added sugars in our diets come from beverages — and account for 20 percent of our daily caloric intake. It is clear that consumers can benefit from being more aware of what they drink and reducing their calorie consumption from beverages,” she said.

Drinking one or two bottles of sugar-sweetened beverages a day increases the risk for getting diabetes by almost 30 percent — and triples the risk of dying from a heart attack. After six months, daily consumption of sugary beverages increases liver fat by almost 150 percent, according to Harold Goldstein, executive director of PHA.

Drinking water instead of sugary beverages also is important when trying to maintain or lose weight, IBWA says. The association encourages consumers to make healthy choices in their daily lives and choose water as their beverage of choice, whether it’s at home, at the office, or on the go, it adds.

World Diabetes Day was created in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization as a response to the growing threat of diabetes.

The World Diabetes Day campaign reaches an audience of more than 1 billion people in more than 160 countries.