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Alcohol And Diabetes: What You Should Know?

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

People with diabetes are aware of the effects of different types of food on their blood sugar levels. However, alcohol is often a grey zone with patients; some think it’s best to stay away from any alcohol while some pay no heed and drink to their heart’s content. However, the impact of alcohol on diabetes differs between individuals.


Ideally, diabetics should not consume any alcohol, as alcohol is known to shoot blood sugar levels up. However, complete abstinence may be difficult for many. Alcohol tends to raise blood pressure levels that are already high in people with diabetes.

In light of these factors, it is wise to keep certain points in mind before opting for an alcoholic drink.

Alcohol consumption can worsen diabetes-related medical complications, such as disturbances in fat metabolism, nerve damage, and eye disease. Also Alcohol when consumed with a common diabetes medication Metformin can lead to adverse effects and hence should be cautious.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD

Eat before you drink

Avoid having alcohol on an empty stomach as it is absorbed into the blood rapidly and causes more significant damage. Food in the stomach slows down the rate of alcohol absorption and gives time to the liver to process it.

Drink slowly

Your body needs time to metabolize alcohol in the system. Too much alcohol too quickly puts unnecessary strain on the liver and slows down the body’s metabolic rate.

Drink Less

Remember alcohol is high in calories and leads to weight gain. A glass of wine has calories equal to a slice of cake. Weight management is essential for people with diabetes.

A fun fact about alcohol, liver and diabetes is when you drink alcohol, your liver needs to break down the alcohol. While your liver is processing alcohol, it stops releasing glucose. As a result, your blood sugar level can drop quickly, putting you at risk for low blood sugar (hypoglycemia); too much drinking, on the other hand (more than three drinks daily), can lead to higher blood sugar and A1C.

Dr. Ashish Bajaj – M.B.B.S, M.D.

Choose your drink wisely

Not all alcoholic beverages have the same amount of sugars or alcoholic content. Opt for light drinks with soda or water and steer clear of sugar-based drinks and fancy cocktails with frozen drinks and juices.

Also Read: Will Alcohol Kill Lice: Debunking Common Home Remedies

Watch what you eat with alcohol

Food served with liquor is high in fat and calories and negatively impacts your diabetes. When you know you are going for a drink, then it is wise to have a small healthy meal before you reach the bar. Avoid high-fat foods along with cocktails, instead opt for salads or roasted and grilled foods, to compensate for the calorie intake.

Remember that alcohol interferes with certain medicines used for treating diabetes. It may cause blood sugar levels to plummet and lead to hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is a medical emergency, requiring immediate medical intervention.

Always carry an ”I am diabetic” card with your medical details to help doctors immediately diagnose and treat you. It may sound silly to do so but can prove lifesaving.

Check your blood sugar levels before, during, and up to 24 hours after you drink. Remember, alcohol is never your friend even in the best of times, more so when you have diabetes. Avoid alcohol intake whenever possible, and if you do, drink wisely.

Also Read: Sober October: What It Is and Tips for Success

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

Links and product recommendations in the information provided here are advertisements of third-party products available on the website. PharmEasy does not make any representation on the accuracy or suitability of such products/services. Advertisements do not influence the editorial decisions or content. The information in this blog is subject to change without notice. The authors and administrators reserve the right to modify, add, or remove content without notification. It is your responsibility to review this disclaimer regularly for any changes.


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