There are many reasons to stay properly hydrated, but only recently have scientists begun to consider diabetes prevention one of them. The amount of water you drink can play a role in how your body regulates blood sugar, researchers have found.
The reason: a hormone called vasopressin, which helps regulate water retention.
When the body is dehydrated, vasopressin levels rise, prompting the kidneys to hold onto water. At the same time, the hormone pushes the liver to produce blood sugar, which over time may strain the ability to produce or respond to insulin.
One of the largest studies to look at the consequences was published last year in Diabetes Care, a publication of the American Diabetes Association. French scientists tracked more than 3,000 healthy men and women ages 30 to 65 for nearly a decade. All had normal blood sugar levels at the start of the research.
After nine years, about 800 had developed Type 2 diabetes or high blood sugar. But those who consumed the most water, 500ml to 1L a day, had a risk roughly 30 percent lower than that of those who drank the least. The researchers controlled for the subjects’ intake of other liquids that could have affected the results, mainly sugary and alcoholic drinks, as well as exercise, weight and other factors affecting health. The researchers did not look at eating habits, something future studies may take into account.