Can I Drink Alcohol If I Have Type 2 Diabetes?

Normally, the liver releases glucose to maintain blood sugar levels. But when you drink alcohol, the liver is busy breaking the alcohol down, so it does a poor job of releasing glucose into the bloodstream. This can lead to a drop in blood sugar levels if you are drinking alcohol on an empty stomach. Your body processes alcohol differently than most foods and beverages. And if you have type 2 diabetes, drinking alcohol may have some benefits—such as lowering glucose levels in the blood—and some real risks, like driving glucose levels down too low. Despite the potential health perks of drinking alcohol, there are some cautions as well. When drinking alcohol is combined with the medications most often used to treat diabetes—particularly insulin and sulfonylureas, low blood sugar can result. While a glass of wine with dinner probably isn’t a big deal, a mojito on an empty stomach at happy hour is.

Studies suggest that one to two alcoholic drinks a day increases HDL an average of 12 percent. “However, the benefit of improving HDL is lost if a person gains weight,” Graber says. Food slows down the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream. The Diabetes Teaching Center at the University of California in San Francisco recommends eating a meal or snack containing carbohydrates when you drink alcohol. Glucose for energy, which in turn causes levels to build up in your bloodstream. Normally, the liver makes new glucose between meals and sends it into your bloodstream to prevent a low blood sugar reaction. It’s important to note that studies tend to lean toward more benefits coming from light drinking, which would be no more than seven drinks a week. Chronic heavy drinking and binge drinking should be avoided. In a 2020 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers found that while light drinking had no effect on blood pressure, moderate and heavy drinking did.

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Alcohol metabolism in the liver, however, actually shuts down the process of gluconeogenesis and thus the second line of defense against hypoglycemia. Consequently, both of the body’s mechanisms to sustain blood sugar levels are inactivated in people who consume alcohol but do not eat, resulting in profound hypoglycemia. Insulin resistance does not immediately lead to overt diabetes, because the patient’s pancreatic beta cells initially can increase their insulin production enough to compensate for the insulin resistance. In fact, insulin-resistant people have higher than normal insulin levels (i.e., are hyperinsulinemic1). Ultimately, insulin secretion declines even further, to levels below those seen in nondiabetics . At that point, when a deficit in insulin secretion is combined with a state of insulin resistance, the person develops type 2 diabetes. Thus, whereas type 1 diabetes is characterized by a complete lack of insulin production, type 2 is characterized by reduced insulin production plus insulin resistance.

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If you count carbohydrates as part of your meal plan, talk with your provider about how to account for alcohol. Carry a source of sugar, such as glucose tablets, in case of low blood sugar. 1.5-ounce or 45-mL shot of liquor (80 proof, or 40% alcohol content). Many people who are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes find out about their condition after experiencing an episode of diabetic ketoacidosis . What you are drinking and how much of it you choose to drink can make a big difference. Like most things with diabetes, there aren’t simple answers.

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Those on the opposite ends of the spectrum—people that drink heavily and those that don’t—have a greater risk. Alcohol impairs your liver’s ability to produce glucose, so be sure to know your blood glucose number before you drink an alcoholic beverage. Stick to no more than two drinks in a one-day period if you are a man and one drink per day if you Sober House are a woman. Don’t drink on an empty stomach because alcohol can have a rapid blood glucose-lowering effect, which is slowed if there is food in your stomach. Mix alcoholic drinks with water or calorie-free diet sodas instead of sugary sodas and other mixers. When you’re drinking alcohol with diabetes, you’re at risk of an alcohol-induced hypo.

Does quitting alcohol lower blood sugar?

Stopping alcohol can make a big difference in your health. It can help stabilize your blood sugar levels and reduce spikes in your blood sugar. By quitting alcohol use you will also reduce your risk of obesity which will also improve your blood sugar levels.

Get in the habit of carrying a bottle of water with you in case you get caught somewhere with no sugar-free drink options available. “Skim or low-fat milk is also a good beverage option, but it must be counted toward your carb total for a particular meal or snack,” Basbaum says. Pace yourself—don’t have more than one drink per hour, and limit yourself to no more than three or four drinks for the day. Lin RC, Dai J, Lumeng L, Zhang M. Serum low density lipoprotein of alcoholic patients is chemically modified in vivo and induces apolipoprotein e synthesis by macrophages. Klatsky L, Friedman GD, Siegelaub AB, Gerard MJ. Alcohol consumption and blood pressure. Chait A, Mancini M, February AW, Lewis B. Clinical and metabolic study of alcoholic hyperlipidaemia. For example, a regular margarita has about 235 calories, while some mixers can have up to 330 calories. Alcohol takes longer to be absorbed into your bloodstream if you have food in your stomach. In the stomach or intestine, alcohol is absorbed directly into the bloodstream. This is possible because alcohol is made up of molecules that are so small they can be taken up by the thousands of tiny blood vessels that line the stomach and the small intestine.


This article provides information for people with diabetes. The American Heart Association emphasize that all studies showing the potential health benefits of alcohol for heart health rely on correlations rather than causal relationships. There is no proof that wine can directly protect the heart or offer any other health benefits. For this reason, people at higher risk of heart disease, which includes those with diabetes, should take particular care to limit their alcohol intake. If you choose to imbibe, do so in small quantities, especially because alcohol can cause blood sugar fluctuations, notes theAmerican Diabetes Association . According to the ADA, moderate drinking is defined as up to one drink for women and two drinks for men per day.

How do you flush sugar out of your body?

  1. Eat breakfast. Eating breakfast with proteins, complex carbohydrates, fiber-rich foods, and healthy fats can keep blood sugar balanced and prevent sugar cravings throughout the day.
  2. Start small.
  3. Eat more healthy fats.
  4. Add protein.
  5. Snack on fruit.
  6. Swap your drinks.
  7. Stay hydrated.

Diabetes management is about how lifestyle, daily routine and technology can affect blood glucose le… I wish I’d had someone to sit me down on the sidewalk, slap me and remind me sternly about the rules of drinking alcohol with Type 1 diabetes, which, for the record, are these. Emergency glucagon kits work because can diabetics drink alcohol glucagon is a hormone that tells your liver to release a large amount of stored glycogen. If your liver is overwhelmed with processing the alcohol in your system, it isn’t going to respond normally to the presence of emergency glucagon. Even when you keep a close eye on your BGL, the unexpected can affect it.

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