Drinking Alcohol and Diabetes: Do They Mix? Cleveland Clinic

While liquor is often carb-free, mixers like soda and juice can send blood sugar levels through the roof. To prevent a spike, mix your liquor with a calorie-free drink like water or seltzer. Alert friends and family about the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia and how these signs could differ from overconsumption of alcohol. Let them know how to check your blood sugar if you can’t and where you have your hypoglycemia treatments. If you are unconscious and experiencing severe hypoglycemia, encourage them to call 911 and to stay with you until emergency personnel arrive. Within a few minutes of drinking alcohol, and for up to 12 hours afterward, alcohol can cause your blood glucose level to drop.

can diabetics drink alcohol

If you choose to consume alcohol, here are some tips from our diabetes experts to help avoid problems. Remember, alcohol itself will lower blood glucose levels, and when added to medications that also lower levels, it can bring you too low. This process “puts people with diabetes at high risk of low blood sugar when they drink,” Arevalo said. When you drink alcohol , your liver kicks into gear to process, or metabolize, the alcohol. By doing so, however, the liver is unable to make and release glucose into the bloodstream. That doesn’t sound like a problem if you have diabetes, but if you haven’t eaten for a while and you also take insulin or certain types of diabetes pills, you run the risk of hypoglycemia . Also, alcohol can affect your blood sugar for up to 12 hours later, according to Johns Hopkins University. The risk of hypoglycemia is why experts advise people with diabetes not to drink alcohol if their blood sugar is already low. If a person chooses to drink, they should always eat at the same time and include carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables, or grains, in their meal.

What to Know About Alcohol and Diabetes

Talk to your doctor if you have other medical conditions like liver or kidney disease, or if you are on any medications. Ben G, Gnudi L, Maran A, Gigante A, Duner E, Lori E, Tiengo A, Avogaro A. Effects of chronic alcohol intake on carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in subjects with type II (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes. 3A standard drink contains 12 grams (approximately 0.5 ounce) of pure alcohol. This amount is equal to one 12-ounce bottle of beer or wine cooler, one 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits. 1The prefix “hyper-” always indicates higher than normal levels of a substance, whereas the prefix “hypo-” indicates lower than normal levels. The suffix “-emia” refers to the levels of a substance in the blood. Thus, hyperinsulinemia refers to higher than normal insulin levels in the blood, whereas hypoglycemia refers to lower than normal glucose levels in the blood. Troglitazone, another medication that decreases insulin resistance, also must not be used by patients with liver disease and therefore should not be used by alcohol abusers. Moreover, troglitazone itself may impair liver function, and alcohol might further exacerbate this harmful effect. Many impotent diabetic men also have lower than normal levels of the sex hormone testosterone in their blood.

Type 2 diabetes and alcohol is not always a beneficial combination. While moderate alcohol consumption lowers blood sugar, heavy consumption is harmful to diabetes and other aspects of health. Sober House That’s why alcohol is often called “empty calories.” When your liver breaks down alcohol, it turns the alcohol into fat. At 7 calories per gram, alcohol is nearly as calorie-dense as fat .

Individualizing Your Care

The potential for late-onset hypoglycemia in PWDs who take insulin happens a number of hours after consuming alcohol. Therefore, regular blood sugar checks are important, including overnight if necessary. If you’re choosing cocktails that are mixed with juice, mixers, or sugary sodas, this can raise your blood sugar levels, especially if you overdo it. Whether you’re drinking or not, if you have any of these symptoms, check your blood glucose. If you can’t test your blood glucose, then treat the hypoglycemia anyway with some form of sugar that will get into your system quickly. Chronic excessive alcohol consumption alone can also cause nerve damage, creating a condition called alcoholic neuropathy, per StatPearls. If you already have nerve damage from diabetes, adding alcohol to the mix could make it worse. And if you don’t already have diabetic neuropathy, alcohol might cause it, according to 2021 research published in the journal Diabetes Therapy. If you were consuming alcohol until going to sleep at 1 a.m., you could experience delayed low blood sugars throughout the rest of the night and in the morning.

can diabetics drink alcohol

Check your blood sugar before and while you’re drinking and then again before you go to bed. This means drinking can make it even harder for people with type 2 diabetes—which is defined by elevated glucose levels—to manage their blood sugar. Avoid high-calorie and high-carbohydrate mixed drinks, such as margaritas and daiquiris. Your healthcare provider will tell you how much alcohol is safe for you to drink. Depending on your health condition, that may mean no alcohol at all. In some cases women with diabetes may have no more than one alcoholic beverage a day. One drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. People with diabetes are more likely to experience nerve damage called diabetic neuropathy, especially if their blood sugars are not well-controlled, per the CDC.

Is beer high in carbs?

Because alcohol is highly addictive and research links heavy consumption to an array of adverse health effects, avoiding the beverage is the healthiest choice for anyone. Medical News Today has strict sourcing guidelines and draws only from peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical journals and associations. We link primary sources — including studies, scientific references, and statistics — within each article and also list them in the resources section at the bottom of our articles. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy. Emergency help will be necessary if a person faints or experiences other symptoms of low blood glucose. Wine is a relatively low sugar drink, with both red and white wines containing less than 1.5 grams of sugar per standard 5-ounce serving. This article explains the relationship between wine and diabetes and provides some other dietary tips for people with this condition. Because artificially sweetened drinks have zero carbohydrates and low calorie counts, they may be a good alternative to soda and juice sweetened with traditional sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic.

After consuming alcohol, always check your blood glucose level to make sure it is in the safe zone. If your blood glucose is below 100 mg/dL, eat a snack to bring it up. If you’re having frequent trouble managing your blood sugar levels, you should consider if it’s safe for you to drink alcohol. If you’ve consumed so much alcohol that you begin vomiting, this is your body’s way of try to manage the “overdose” of alcohol.

Medication Interactions

Here is our list of 10 things that you might not have realized affect your blood sugar. • Do not consume more than two drinks of alcohol in one day if you are a man, and no more than one drink per day if you are a woman. If you have diabetes complications, such as nerve, eye, or kidney damage, your provider may recommend that you not drink any alcohol. Symptoms of low blood sugar are very similar to can diabetics drink alcohol symptoms of alcohol intoxication. If you pass out, those around you may just think you are intoxicated. It’s important for everyone to avoid getting drunk to the point of not being able to protect yourself. For people with diabetes, this includes protecting yourself from hypoglycemia. The bottom line is that any person with diabetes who wishes to consume alcohol should first discuss it with a doctor.

Will losing weight help diabetes?

If you are pre-diabetic or diabetic, then losing 5-10 percent of your body weight can help improve your blood sugar numbers. If you are pre-diabetic and can lose this weight, you will lower your risk of developing diabetes by 58 percent.

Use sugar-free mixers for margaritas and fresh fruit for daiquiris. And instead of pouring simple syrup into mojitos and martinis, try a natural sweetener like stevia or a sugar substitute. Type 1, which develops if the body can’t produce enough insulin because insulin-producing cells in the pancreas have been destroyed. If you’re going to have a drink, wear your diabetes identification bracelet or necklace.

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