Diabetes & Alcohol UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence

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Being tipsy has another downside, making it easy to mix up your medications or to forget to take them entirely. Too much drinking, on the other hand (more than three drinks daily), can lead to higher blood sugar and A1C. Here’s what you need to know about drinking and how to do it safely. Many impotent diabetic men also have lower than normal levels of the sex hormone testosterone in their blood. Alcohol reduces blood levels of testosterone and may thereby further exacerbate the existing hormonal deficit.

Over time, excessive alcohol consumption can reduce the overall effectiveness of insulin. Many people with alcoholic liver disease also have either glucose intolerance or diabetes. Because of the effects alcohol can have on blood sugar control and other aspects of the disease, you face certain risks by drinking alcohol if you have type 2 diabetes that otherwise healthy people may not. Normally, the liver releases glucose to maintain blood sugar levels.

Guidelines for diabetics when drinking alcohol

Conversely, long-term alcohol ingestion in diabetics who are not adequately nourished can lead to dangerously low blood sugar levels. Heavy drinking, particularly in diabetics, also can cause the accumulation of certain acids in the blood that may result in severe health consequences. Finally, alcohol consumption can worsen diabetes-related medical complications, such as disturbances in fat metabolism, nerve damage, and eye disease. Hypertriglyceridemia is an important risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, elevated triglyceride levels can cause severe inflammation of the pancreas (i.e., pancreatitis).

Is whisky good for diabetes?

Gin, rum, vodka, or whiskey

If you do drink these with alcohol, your blood sugar may spike and then dip to dangerously low levels. When consumed on their own, hard liquors provide 0 grams of carbs but may lead to very low blood sugar levels. Avoid drinking them on an empty stomach or mixing them with sugary drinks.

Alcohol is known to increase risk of developing diabetes-related complications including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and nerve damage (neuropathy). Drinking alcohol can lower blood sugar levels to the point of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), causing serious symptoms. Keep careful track of your blood sugar (glucose) levels when drinking alcohol. This is important because most diabetes medicines, including insulin, also lower blood sugar levels. If blood sugar levels are too low, or if your stomach is empty, don’t drink alcohol.

The Link Between Excessive Alcohol Consumption and Diabetes

By Barbie Cervoni MS, RD, CDCES, CDN

Barbie Cervoni MS, RD, CDCES, CDN, is a New York-based registered dietitian and certified diabetes care and education specialist. If yours is low, follow your physician’s recommendations, such as consuming some carbs to counteract the drop. You can reduce diabetes and alcohol the carb and sugar content of a drink to a minimum by having it straight or mixing it with club soda, plain seltzer, diet soda, or a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime. The same is true of cocktails made with regular soda or mixers, simple syrup and other types of added sugar, or fruit juice.

  • Diabetics clearly should avoid heavy drinking (i.e., more than 10 to 12 drinks per day), because it can cause ketoacidosis and hypertriglyceridemia.
  • This can cause low blood glucose levels (hypoglycemia) or high blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia).
  • In general, alcohol drops blood sugar, but sugars already present in your drinks can increase it.

Drinking more than the ADA guidelines, partaking on an empty stomach, or choosing sugary beverages can negatively impact diabetics. There are plenty of drinking risks for diabetics, especially if you drink too much. It’s important to note that studies tend to lean toward more benefits coming from light drinking, which would be no more than seven drinks a week. This is a common complication of diabetes that damages the blood vessels in your retina (the back part of your eye).

Test Blood Sugar When Planning to Drink

The empty calories found in alcohol keep the body from fully processing sugars while it is processing alcohol. Having a responsible party on hand who can remind a diabetic to take needed medications can make it easier to deal with the potential aftereffects of drinking. Drinking https://ecosoberhouse.com/article/alcohol-help-now-where-to-get-help-for-alcohol-addiction/ is a highly personal experience, with different people having different limits and boundaries. Some people can naturally drink more heavily than others without experiencing substantial consequences, while others may have a relatively limited tolerance for alcohol in general.

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