Is Drinking Alcohol Okay With Diabetes?
I recently was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I've always enjoyed a glass of wine with dinner, but am concerned about how this might affect my blood sugar level. Is drinking alcohol okay with diabetes?
Although many people with diabetes can enjoy a moderate amount of alcohol (a drink or two in an evening), it should be done with caution. Consuming larger amounts of alcohol can lead to serious side effects.
Alcoholic beverages can have unpredictable effects on blood sugar. Alcohol itself actually decreases blood sugar, though how much it lowers blood sugar depends on the individual. Feeling "tipsy" can mimic the early signs of low blood sugar, increasing the risk that low blood sugar may occur without a person realizing it.
Alcohol and many of the mixers used to make mixed drinks contain sugar, so balancing the blood sugar-lowering effects of alcohol with the blood sugar-raising effects of the sugars in the drink can be tricky. If you are taking medicine for diabetes (oral or insulin) and choose to drink alcohol, be sure to have something to eat before consuming alcohol, test your blood sugar often, and have a source of sugar (glucose tablets or juice) handy in case your blood sugar becomes low.
Also, you may want to have a snack before going to bed to prevent low blood sugar during the night.
Alcohol, particularly if drunk regularly, can increase triglycerides, cause nerve damage, worsen symptoms of eye disease, and raise blood pressure. People with diabetes are already at higher risk for these issues, so it is best if alcohol is enjoyed in low or moderate amounts.