Is Alcohol Safe for Diabetics?

Is Alcohol Safe for Diabetics?

Receiving a diagnosis of diabetes can be tough. You may be worried that your life will change dramatically and that you'll no longer be able to enjoy the foods and drinks you once loved. The good news is that you don’t have to give up alcohol completely, as long as you follow a few basic guidelines and safety tips.

The risks of alcohol for people with diabetes

Drinking alcohol can cause blood sugar levels to drop for up to 24 hours after drinking. If you use insulin or another diabetes medication, this could result in your blood sugar dropping dangerously low. Check your blood sugar before and after drinking to make sure it stays between 100 and 140 mg/dL.

Alcohol is high in calories, which can be a problem if you need to lose weight to help control type 2 diabetes. Remember to include alcoholic drinks in your daily calorie count to keep your weight loss on track. Choose calorie-free mixers such as diet soda to reduce the sugar and calorie content of mixed alcoholic drinks.

How much alcohol is safe when you have diabetes?

According to the American Diabetes Association, women who have diabetes should have no more than one drink each day. Men can have up to two drinks per day.

It’s important to avoid pouring drinks that are too large. One standard drink is equivalent to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.

Tips for safely enjoying alcohol with diabetes

  1. Avoid drinking alcohol when your blood sugar is low, as alcohol could cause it to fall even further.
  2. Don’t drink on an empty stomach; instead, enjoy a glass of wine or beer with a meal.
  3. Alcohol can make you less careful about your food choices. Plan your meals, drinks and snacks before you go out for the evening, so you don’t accidentally make the wrong choices.
  4. People can confuse the symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) with drunkenness. Wear an I.D. badge or wristband to let people know you have diabetes. This could help them give you the appropriate treatment if your blood sugar drops too low.
  5. Be honest with your doctor about how much you drink. It’s important for the medical professionals involved in your treatment to know about anything that could interfere with your medication.

Even though you have diabetes, you can still enjoy a glass of wine or beer. As long as you don’t overindulge and you follow a few basic safety tips, you can protect yourself while drinking.


About the Author:

Hannah Whiteoak is a professional freelance writer from the United Kingdom. She’s been writing full-time for roughly five years and specializes in science and health topics.