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 its 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.
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 metabolise alcohol in the system. Too much of 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.
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.
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 the 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.