Should Diabetics Imbibe?



cocktail1.jpgDiabetics and alcohol consumption.

Most sources agree that if your diabetes is well regulated an alcoholic beverage can be scheduled into your meal plan on occasion. Always consult your physician first to be sure your medication is compatible with alcohol. If you have neuropathies such as a compromised liver it is important to discuss alcohol consumption with your doctor as alcohol is metabolized mainly by the liver.

Alcohol should always be consumed with food because it is enters the blood stream rapidly and is metabolized rapidly as your body works to eliminate it. This will result in a drop in blood sugar which can be compensated for by food.

The American Diabetes Association guidelines for alcohol consumption to avoid low blood sugars are:

  • Never drink alcohol on an empty stomach.
  • Limit yourself to 1 drink if you’re a woman or 2 drinks if you are a man.

Remember that it takes your body two hours to metabolize that drink.

Wines and mixed drinks are often high in sugar and beer is high in carbs. Besides the drop in blood sugar, they stimulate your appetite which may cause you to eat more. Alcoholic drinks have little nutritional value and play havoc with your weight management. Sure wines have some chemicals that are prevent heart disease but you can get the same chemicals in grapes and not nearly the sugar.

Do your homework. Check out the stats on your favorite drinks of choice before that next party and save yourself a drop in blood sugar and unwanted calories and still have a good time. Or consider mixing wines with diet seltzer for a spritzer or mixing hard liquor with diet soda.

  • 12-ounce Beer-13 grams of carbs, 150 calories
  • 12-ounce Light Beer-5 grams of carbs, 100 calories
  • 6-ounces White Wine-1.4 grams of carbs and 120 calories
  • 6-ounces Red Wine-3 grams of carbs and 128 calories
  • 6-ounces Dessert Wine-21 grams of carbs and 270 calories
  • Frozen Margarita-27 grams of carbs and 246 calories
  • Gin and Tonic, 21 grams of carbs and 175 calories

The Effects of Alcohol Excess on Diabetics

As if the regular complications of diabetes aren’t bad enough, (Source:Mayo Clinic):

  • Liver disorders
  • Neurological complications
  • Cardiovascular complications
  • Bone loss
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Birth defects
  • Increased risk of cancer

Add to this a diagnosis of diabetes:

  • The complications of diabetic neuropathies worsen with alcohol abuse.
  • If you over indulge and then go to sleep you risk the ensuing results of a severe drop in blood sugar.
  • A damaged liver caused by alcohol abuse will cause erratic blood sugars that may be impossible to control

So should diabetics imbibe? Obviously this must be your informed decision based on your health care management plan and your individual lifestyle choices.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.
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