How Does Alcohol Affect Blood Sugar?
So Can I Drink Alcohol?
What About Alcohol and Weight Gain?
Guidelines When Drinking Alcohol
Limit the amount you drink. Women should drink one or fewer alcoholic beverages a day. Men should drink two or fewer drinks a day. One drink is equal to a:
- 12-ounce beer,
- 5-ounce glass of wine, or
- 1-½-ounce of distilled spirits, like vodka, whiskey, or gin.
- Do not drink on an empty stomach. Alcohol should be consumed with food, either at a meal or with a snack. Some healthy snack options are pretzels, popcorn, and raw vegetables.
- If you drink alcohol several times a week, make sure your doctor knows this before she prescribes you diabetes medicine.
Other Helpful Tips
- Drink only when and if your blood glucose is under control.
Test your blood sugar levels:
- Before drinking
- Before going to bed
- Sip your drink slowly to make it last.
- Have a no-calorie beverage with you to quench your thirst.
- Try wine spritzers (wine with club soda). Wine spritzers have less alcohol content than straight wine.
- Avoid drinks with a lot of sugar. These are usually mixed drinks that have high-carbohydrate mixers. These drinks may cause high blood glucose levels. Try using calorie-free drink mixers like diet soda, club soda, diet tonic water, or water.
- Wear a medical alert bracelet. If you drink, people with you will be aware of your condition. They will be able to respond properly if you need help.
- Carry glucose tablets or another sugar source. Glucagon shots may not work in cases of hypoglycemia that are due to alcohol.
- Do not mix alcohol and exercise. This will increase your chances of having low blood sugar.
- Do not drive for several hours after you drink alcohol.
American Diabetes Association http://www.diabetes.org/
National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/
Canadian Diabetes Association http://www.diabetes.ca/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Alan R. Hypoglycemia. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/ . Updated September 1, 2011. Accessed May 30, 2012.
Alcohol. American Diabetes Association website. Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/alcohol.html . Accessed May 30, 2012.
Dietary considerations for patients with type 2 diabetes. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated May 16, 2012. Accessed May 30, 2012.
Joslin Diabetes Center. Diabetes and alcohol. Joslin Diabetes Center website. Available at: http://www.joslin.org/info/Diabetes%5Fand%5FAlcohol.html . Accessed May 30, 2012.
Joslin Diabetes Center. Fitting alcohol into your meal plan. Joslin Diabetes Center website. Available at: http://www.joslin.org/info/Fitting%5FAlcohol%5FInto%5FYour%5FMeal%5FPlan.html . Accessed May 30, 2012.
Shai I, Wainstein J, Harman-Boehm I, et al. Glycemic effects of moderate alcohol intake among patients with type 2 diabetes: a multicenter, randomized, clinical intervention trial. Diabetes Care . 2007 Dec; 30(12): 3011-3016. Available at: http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/30/12/3011.full . Accessed May 03, 2012.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 05/2012 -
- Update Date: 05/30/2012 -