Diabetes and Alcohol

Even those living with diabetes can still enjoy alcohol from time to time. However, anyone living with diabetes and consuming alcohol should use extra caution. While there are some potential benefits to consuming alcohol, it can also cause harm if not properly controlled, especially for those with diabetes.

Alcohol can cause hypoglycemia shortly after drinking and for up to 24 hours after drinking. If you have diabetes, do not drink alcohol on an empty stomach or when your blood glucose is low. This is especially important for those who are on diabetes medications, which help to lower your blood glucose. So be sure to check your blood glucose before you drink and have something to eat while you drink.

If you do choose to drink, it is best to limit your intake to a "moderate" amount. This means:

  • 1 drink or less per day for women
  • 2 drinks or less per day for men
  • One drink is the equivalent of 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor.

Other things to consider:

  • Take your blood sugar before you start drinking alcohol.
  • Wear identification that states you have diabetes.
  • Never drink on an empty stomach.
  • Have a glass of water or a diet soda between alcoholic drinks.
  • Avoid high calorie drinks. Try a wine spritzer made with club soda or use sugar-free mixers.
  • If you drink alcohol at least several times a week, make sure your doctor knows this before he/she prescribes a diabetes pill.

If you want to have a glass of wine at dinner, or if you are going out for the night, plan ahead to keep yourself safe and healthy.