Alcoholic Drinks When Having Diabetes

By Dr Harold Gunatillake - Health Writer

Yes, true, people having raised blood sugar need to be careful drinking alcohol. They still can enjoy a drink or two without guilt, but intelligent drinking is the solution. Men with diabetes can still enjoy two drinks a day, just like the non-diabetics and women too can have just one drink a day.
A sugary drink like a cocktail can raise your blood sugar, and if you are on insulin medication you could whack small insulin shot to maintain a steady blood sugar level. Those on anti-diabetic tablets unfortunately may not have this flexibility.

If you drink on empty stomach, on the other hand a strong alcohol drink will bring your blood sugar level too low.

Beer
Some people with diabetes enjoy a glass of beer. Being fermented food the gut microbes looking after your immune system may like it, much more than spirit beverages. A 12 ounce beer has about 15grams of carbohydrates. Light beer has only about 6 grams of carbs. Craft beer seems to have lot more alcohol and empty calories than regular beer.
Wine
Wine is considered a better drink for those having diabetes. It enhances the action of insulin and also more unlikely to get diabetes unlike the spirits. Moderation is important in drinking wines too as too much will bring your blood sugar too low (hypoglycaemia). A standard 5-ounce serving has about 120 calories coming from alcohol and not carbs.
Cocktails
They may be healthier, but not for those having diabetes. There are fruits and sugary fluids added on which can spike your blood sugar level, on an empty stomach. You could enjoy a drink like margaritas and mojitos by adding a natural sweetener like stevia or artificial sweetener. Bloody Mary has high carbs and should be avoided. One could enjoy a bloody Mary without alcohol, only tomato juice with added celery stems.
Liquor
Liquor or spirits are carb free, though made from barley. 5 ounces of liquor have the same amount of alcohol as 5 ounces of wine. When liquor is mixed with soda and other fruit juices can raise your blood sugar. It is advisable to drink liquor with plain soda or water.

After drinking alcohol of any kind you may get dehydrated. You may get up in the middle of the night with a dry mouth. Drink a lot of cool water before retiring to bed, of course it might wake you a few times to run to the toilet.

Insulin takers can react in different ways to drinking alcohol. They may be hypersensitive and drop the blood sugar level quite fast. People with certain medications also need to be careful taking alcohol. Check with your doctor when he prescribes a new drug.

Avoid drinking alcohol on empty stomach. Eat some finger licking foods at a party when enjoying your favourite drink. Check your blood sugar before going to bed after drinks. If it is too low may have to have a snack.

One should be aware that daily drinking can cause cancer. Alcohol is converted into acetaldehyde in the liver and gets into the blood which is a carcinogen. Alcohol is a known cause of cancers in the mouth, throat, gullet, liver, breast large bowel and rectum.

It is the ethanol in all forms of liquor that can cause cancer, and those having diabetes are more prone to it. Heavy drinking can reduce the sensitivity to insulin which can trigger type 2 diabetes. Heavy drinking causes chronic pancreatitis which can destroy the insulin secreting cells and produce diabetes. Alcohol has empty calories which are responsible for becoming over-weight and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes is increased.

Some research papers reveal that moderate drinking provide some level of protection against developing diabetes. It is also proved by statistics that moderate drinkers live longer than the teetotallers.

Among people having diabetes just one or two drinks a day may make your body more sensitive to insulin.

In conclusion, we suggest a drink or two daily, unsweetened, for type 2 diabetics with no guilt. Daily exercise is an adjuvant or punishment.
Some reference to WebMD

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