Like most things with diabetes, there aren’t simple answers. Drinking can impact the health of someone with diabetes in several different ways. It’s important to be aware of the potential impact of alcohol on your health if you have diabetes, as well as strategies to keep yourself safe during and after drinking. Drinking sparingly with meals may not have much of an impact on your blood sugar. If you have diabetes and want to drink alcohol, there are strategies you can use to drink more safely.
While it’s probably safe for most people with diabetes to have a single alcoholic drink — the equivalent of a 1.5-oz shot of vodka or another distilled spirit — per day, you should not exceed this amount. Your doctor may recommend testing your blood glucose levels and eating some food before drinking alcohol with diabetes. The hormone insulin, which is produced in the pancreas, is an important regulator of blood sugar levels. In people with diabetes, the pancreas does not produce sufficient insulin or the body does not respond appropriately to the insulin . Alcohol consumption by diabetics can worsen blood sugar control in those patients. For example, long-term alcohol use in well-nourished diabetics can result in excessive blood sugar levels. Conversely, long-term alcohol ingestion in diabetics who are not adequately nourished can lead to dangerously low blood sugar levels.
Beer and sweet wine contain carbohydrates and may raise blood sugar. In this article, we’re going to look at how alcohol affects Alcohol detoxification blood sugar levels, when it can become especially dangerous, and how to drink alcohol safely as a person with diabetes.
Make sure you have an eating strategy and plan in place to avoid overeating and overdrinking in social situations. Alcohol can make you more relaxed, and may lead you to make poor food or drinking decisions. Once you have had your drink, switch to a non-alcoholic drink, such as sparkling water, for the rest of the evening. Glucagon shots may not work in people who have hypoglycemia due to alcohol. A person who drinks several times a week should tell their doctor. People with diabetes already know what foods to eat and which to avoid. But they may not know the effect that alcohol has on the body.
Alcohol & Diabetes
And that means more time spent with alcohol impacting your blood sugars, too. Even the morning after a night of drinking, you can find yourself craving greasy, heavy foods. It’s also pretty unlikely you’ll want to exercise that day, too.
- Therefore, to avoid alcohol-related hypoglycemia and its consequences, diabetics should consume alcohol only with or shortly after meals.
- Do not replace food with alcohol in a meal plan, and do not count alcohol in a food plan as a carbohydrate choice.
- One 8 oz serving of Powerade, for example, packs about 19 g of carbs, notes the USDA, and that’s not even the whole bottle.
- Test your blood sugar before drinking to make sure it isn’t already low.
While a glass of wine with dinner probably isn’t a big deal, a mojito on an empty stomach at happy can diabetics drink alcohol hour is. The pro about drinking straight alcohol is that the carb count is typically very low.
For people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes who take insulin or other diabetes medications that lower blood sugar levels, drinking alcohol needs to be done thoughtfully. This process “puts people with diabetes at high risk of low blood sugar when they drink,” Arevalo said. Accordingly, more studies are needed to determine whether the beneficial effects of daily moderate alcohol consumption outweigh the deleterious effects. Diabetics clearly should avoid heavy drinking (i.e., more than 10 to 12 drinks per day), because it can cause ketoacidosis and hypertriglyceridemia. Moreover, heavy drinking in a fasting state can cause hypoglycemia and ultimately increase diabetics’ risk of death from noncardiovascular causes. Over time, excessive alcohol consumption can reduce the overall effectiveness of insulin.
If you want to have a good time and don’t want to keep an eye on how much you are drinking, alert your friends about your diabetes. Let them know where you have your supplies, how to use them, and who to call and what to do in case of an emergency.” Remember, never drive if you have been drinking. Alcohol can also affect other medical conditions you may have, like diabetic nerve damage, diabetic eye disease, and high blood triglycerides. Get guidelines for alcohol use from your medical provider. Chlorpropamide is a medication used to treat type 2 diabetes by increasing pancreatic insulin secretion. Some people treated with chlorpropamide experience an unpleasant, disulfiram-like reaction5 after drinking alcohol. The combination of alcohol-induced hypoglycemia, hypoglycemic unawareness, and delayed recovery from hypoglycemia can lead to deleterious health consequences.
Guidelines When Drinking Alcohol
Instead, glucose builds up in your blood, raising your blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, always eat something while you are drinking and avoid consuming sugar-based drinks such as dessert wines or fruity alcoholic drinks (e.g. ciders or Smirnoff Spins).
Although, if you’re following a low carb diet to manage your diabetes, even a small banana contains around 22 grams of carbs, which may be too much for your eating plan.. If you did have large ketones, and you’re unable to keep fluids down, you should call 911 or ask a friend to drive you to the emergency room. The only way to safely rebalance your hydration, blood sugar, and ketone levels is an intravenous bag of saline, electrolytes and possibly glucose and insulin. Will have essentially no noticeable impact on your blood sugars, especially if it means you made sure to take it before the night got too rowdy. “If you have type 2 diabetes, you have some level of metabolic disease, and adding the sugar and calories from alcohol to your regular diet is only going to contribute to your metabolic disease,” explains Harris.
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Keep reading to learn more about how alcohol affects people with diabetes, including types of alcohol and how alcohol may cause hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar levels. Drinking alcohol can lower your blood sugar, particularly if you drink hard liquor such as vodka. When you have alcohol in your system, your body will process it before it breaks down carbohydrates or other nutrients. Thus, your liver does not release glucose, the end-product of carbohydrate metabolization, while it is busy removing alcohol. Liquor also causes the pancreas to sustain its release of insulin. Unlike beer and wine, distilled liquors such as vodka do not contain any carbohydrates and are thus more likely to cause a drop in blood sugar, especially if you drink it straight or on an empty stomach.
Supplement your intake of alcohol with plenty of water, as alcohol dehydrates your body. The danger is that symptoms of consuming too much alcohol and hypoglycemia can be similar, i.e. sleepiness, dizziness or disorientation. You do not want someone to confuse the two in case they give you the wrong assistance and treatment. Don’t use dangerous equipment, or engage in activities that require coordination, concentration, or alertness. Don’t take a hot bath, hot tub or sauna because the heat combined with the alcohol may cause your blood pressure to drop too much.
Diabetes And Alcohol: How Does Alcohol Affect Blood Sugar?
“Sports drinks are usually not necessary unless someone has been very active for over an hour,” Zanini says. Rather than adding sugar, tea can be flavored with lemon juice. But if you need some sugar, Zanini recommends going for Stevia instead of artificial sweeteners as a more natural option. Get in the habit of carrying a bottle of water with you in case you get caught somewhere with no sugar-free drink options available.
Diabetes is a condition in which your body has trouble processing food the way it should to use it as energy. When we digest food, it breaks down into sugar, or glucose, that our cells can use for energy. A small organ called the pancreas is responsible for making insulin, a hormone that gets glucose into our body’s cells. Know the symptoms of a low blood sugar and tell others. If you should pass out, those around you need to know that this is a medical emergency, and not just a sign of intoxication. Alcohol can also affect diabetic nerve damage, eye disease, and high blood triglycerides. Moderate alcohol use is defined as one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.
What Is The Best Alcoholic Drink For A Diabetic?
It’s crucial that you approach each type of alcohol with an awareness that it might affect you differently than the last type of alcohol you drank. At the end of the day, no one expects you to abstain from alcohol for the rest of your life just because you’ve been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. And unless you have other health conditions that call for avoiding alcohol, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy a refreshing glass of wine or unique microbrew now and then. Wears on us more noticeably because our body is already experiencing higher levels of inflammation along with blood vessel and nerve damage due to non-diabetic blood sugar levels.