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Alcohol & Diabetes

For some diabetic people, only small dietary and lifestyle changes can have a big impact on their overall health. Avoiding alcohol consumption is one of those small changes. Every diabetic should be aware of how alcohol impacts a person’s health. 

Be aware of the risks


Alcohol consumption is not good for diabetics, not even in moderation as it can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels). It happens more likely when alcohol is taken along with other diabetes medicines such as insulin. 

Why does it happen? Because the liver, which is a detoxifying organ, will get more involved in metabolising alcohol over regulating blood sugar levels. Although, the body will discard harmful toxins, but will drop the blood glucose leading to hypoglycemia. 


Ironically, the symptoms of hypoglycemia are identical to those of being intoxicated.


Those symptoms include: 

  • Drowsiness 
  • Confusion 
  • Stammering 
  • Impaired walking

Besides avoiding alcohol fully, eating some snacks while drinking is one way to deal with hypoglycemia. The liver gets busier in metabolising alcohol over managing blood sugar levels on an empty stomach. 

Being alert is important, like learning the body’s signs of low blood sugar and dealing accordingly.

Does alcohol have carbohydrates?


Alcohol contains a very small amount of carbs. The body absorbs carb rich drinks slowly. Thus, these drinks are not effective in controlling hypoglycemia. Here also, eating while drinking is a better option because the body will break down food slowly. 

Despite being light in carbs, alcohol has a high content of calories. Hence, if someone wants to manage weight, they need to be careful while drinking alcohol.

Do you need to quit alcohol completely?


Though alcohol consumption is not good for diabetics, it doesn’t mean people need to quit it completely. Even science proves that occasional drinking has health benefits. According to the studies, moderate alcohol drinkers have a low chance of cardiovascular diseases.  

Hence, one drink per day for women and one to two for men can also improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar. Also, taking advice regarding alcohol consumption from the doctor will be good for diabetics.