What About Alcohol?

When it comes to alcohol and diabetes management, it's all about moderation. Consider the facts about alcohol then decide whether including alcohol on a moderate basis fits into your diabetes plan.

Alcohol does not provide any essential nutrients, but it is a source of calories. At 7 calories per gram, too much alcohol can promote weight gain. If you drink and are having difficulty losing weight, do not overlook the calories that alcohol adds to your overall intake.

Alcohol can significantly impact blood lipid levels and elevate triglycerides; both of these health issues may already be a source of concern if you have diabetes.

Alcohol prevents the liver from producing glucose. While this sounds like it could be helpful, the results can actually be quite harmful. The person who takes insulin or any diabetic medication designed to lower blood glucose may experience hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) shortly after drinking. The hypoglycemia can continue for many hours beyond that.

In short, if you choose to drink alcohol, you should always limit the amount and take the alcohol with a meal to keep your blood glucose stable.

If your diabetes is well controlled, you may be able to drink a moderate amount of alcohol. Moderation is considered two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. One drink is a 12-ounce beer, 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1½ ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits. Beverages with mixers (sodas, juices, etc.) have more carbohydrates. If you use mixers, lower the calories and carbohydrates by using club soda, mineral water, diet soda, or diet tonic water in the drink.

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