Can You Drink with Diabetes?

This article deals with the question of how does the use of alcohol affect diabetics? Can you drink if you have diabetes type 1 or type 2? Are you allowed to drink any alcohol at all?

Read on for more information.

Type 1 diabetes

The basic idea to remember is that alcohol will raise your blood sugar when consumed with carbs, but will lower it when carbs are not on the menu. What does this mean? The alcohol in your system will control your liver to produce less glycogen than usual, so there will be nothing for the insulin to bounce off – a sure-fire recipe for hypoglycemia.

This is even more dangerous when it happens while the sufferer is asleep, after having worked out before drinking – post-exercise low blood sugar levels will compound the issue even further.

Here’s what you might consider doing before and during your drinking:

  • Lower your insulin dose for the evening, but only if your healthcare provider believes this would be a safe solution for you.
  • Test your blood sugar levels regularly during the evening and administer insulin accordingly and/or consume carbs if the levels go too low.
  • Eat a filling meal higher in fat before going out.
  • Type 2 diabetes

    If you have type 2 diabetes, it’s all right to enjoy the occasional drink, so long as you are at no risk of heart conditions, keep your blood sugar levels in check, and adhere to a few basic rules:

  • Mix your alcohol with plenty of water and/or zero calorie drinks, such as sodas, or tea.
  • Plan ahead for the evening when you know you’ll be drinking, in order to avoid the risk of drinking or eating too much.
  • Never eat on an empty stomach and always precede drinking with a meal. Drinking without eating beforehand will cause your blood sugar levels to plummet.
  • What are the risks of drinking with diabetes?

    With two drinks per day for men and one for women, you should generally be fine. Aside from portion control, make sure to take calories and carbs into account, too: there are about 100 calories in 5 oz of dry wine, but sweet varieties will pack on more.

    It’s difficult to estimate the caloric count of sweeter beverages, so try to steer clear of sweet cocktails like Cosmopolitans, whiskey cream-based beverages, or pina coladas. The same goes for any long drink that contains about 1.5 oz of distilled liquors (vodka, whiskey, gin) and some 8 oz of juice or soda.

    Moderation for alcohol use is extremely important when drinking with diabetes of either type – and that’s been confirmed by scientific research. For one thing, people with diabetes that also suffer from nerve damage (either induced by the illness or not) should not be drinking at all, because the alcohol will only make matters worse – and more painful too, by augmenting the pain caused by the damaged nerves.

    More than three drinks per day increases the risk of diabetic retinopathy, raises triglyceride levels, and also encourages ignoring self-care. People who drink regularly with diabetes are less likely to check their blood sugar levels and take their medication, says one study by Kaiser Permanente.

    Enjoy yourself but Be Smart!!

    About author:
    I am a graduate of University of Maryland, College Park. I studied Community Health and was closely affected by diabetes when my niece was diagnosed with Type 1 at age four. I am a Allied Health instructor at a local college and also manages and contributes to It is a website consisting of a huge database of recipes but also allows visitors to share their own.


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here