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Alcohol and Diabetes

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  • Alcohol and Diabetes

    Alcohol and Diabetes

    If you already drink alcohol should you refrain since your diagnosis with diabetes?

    Alcohol is metabolized similar to fat in the liver. Your liver supplies you with glucose for energy when you are not eating. When you drink alcohol and have not eaten any food, your body concentrates on breaking down the alcohol and neglects to send out glucose into the bloodstream. This can cause you to have hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). If you are prone to getting hypoglycemia during or after an alcoholic beverage, please choose foods like cheese and crackers or have a meal with your drink. With mixed drinks, use diet soda, diet tonic, club soda, vegetable juice/tomato (low-sodium).

    Some folks do get hyperglycemia or high blood sugar from drinking but not as commonly. It may also depend on your drink choice. Use common sense! A pina colada, rum and coke (unless it’s diet) or a vodka and orange juice would certainly raise your blood sugar. There is sugar in the drink!

    How would you find out what effect alcohol has on YOUR blood sugar levels? Drink moderately: Moderate drinking is 1 drink a day for women (1 ounce liquor, 4 ounces wine or 12 ounces beer) and 2 drinks a day for men. Test your blood sugar prior to you alcoholic beverage and about 90 minutes later. What happened?

    Keep in mind that red wine contains high levels of resveratrol – a heart healthy anti-oxidant – and may help to increase HDL (health cholesterol) levels. If you choose beer, please try the light beer. The calories and carbohydrate amounts are significantly different. Please see the table below for amounts of carbohydrates in alcohol while still remembering its effect on your blood glucose levels as discussed above. Please see the information below for carbohydrate/fat amounts while considering what was discussed above.

    Beer (12 ounces):
    Regular is 1 carbohydrate serving (~ 15 grams) and 2 fat servings
    Light is considered 2 fat servings
    Non-alcoholic is considered 1 carbohydrate servings

    Liquor (1 1/2 ounces) is considered 2 or 3 fat servings

    Wine is considered 2 fat servings
    Sweet wine is 1/2 carbohydrate serving
    Wine coolers are considered 2 carbohydrate servings and 2 fats

  • #2
    Thats an interesting information. I mostly go with red wine and avoid other drinks. I hope that people will understand the consequence of alcohol on diabetes and act in a healthy manner.


    • #3
      but the benefits of red wine are a help

      For those with chronic pancreatitis complication diabetes, red wine helps to keep the gall stone formation and dissolve smaller ones so they can easily pass.
      Wine in a 5 ounce glass has shown to increase digestion for some certain fats and act as a mild diuretic.
      The Phenols present in Red wine help with free radical and all in all can aid in certain complications.
      As long as its is tempered. A 5 ounce glass of Red wine is considered a free item by the ADA exchange. However I encourage my patients to consider a starch since many over do to a standard 11 ounce glass.

      Beer as in Michelob Ultra only has 3.2 grams of carbohydrate per can. A six pack equals 19.2 grams of carbohydrate. Dealing locally with many who are into drinking and who are self admitted drunks who are diabetic. If we can switch them over to a less alcohol and less carbohydrate they don't balk so much at controlling their diet.

      One thing I have noticed is that the amount of diabetic alcoholics is growing.


      • #4
        It is wonderful to see a level headed approach to the use of alcohol.

        I have read too many warnings, from people who are obviously against alcohol use in general, telling diabetics they can't drink alcohol at all!


        • #5
          Can Excess Alcohol Use Cause Diabetes

          I know that Diabetics should avoid excessive alcohol - but is it possible that it 'starts' diabetes in the first place?

          My mother is undergoing tests for diabetes and she has always been a heavy drinker


          • #6
            That is so interesting!

            So dry wine counts as a fat . . . never would have thunk it!


            • #7
              Not A Real Tea Totaler

              I usually don't drink alcohol at all, but I am not a dedicated tea totaler. I don't have anything against drinking, I just don't do it much. If I am offered a fine wine I wouldn't hesitate to try it to enjoy it. But in as much as I rarely drink, as such, do I have to be more careful about my diabetes and drinking?

              I know that since I don't indulge regularly that drinks will have a bigger effect on me that on other people. But does that also hold true for my blood sugars? Will I react more to a drink than is normal?


              • #8

                The best way to find out is to test yourself and see! I don't know your medical history besides the diabetes so I can't say if you, personally, can or should drink or not - that's a question for your doctor.