Diabetes and Alcohol Research Note
By Reader's Digest Editors
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A glass of wine with dinner, a champagne toast on New Year’s Eve, a beer at the baseball game. If you have diabetes, you might not have to forego these pleasures. But, it’s vitally important to understand how alcohol and your diabetes interact in order to stay safe. Most important: While a drink normally raises blood sugar slightly, even one could lead to dangerously low blood sugar levels if you use insulin or take insulin-boosting medications such as sulfonylureas or meglitinides (Prandin). So talk to your doctor about whether alcohol is safe for you. If you get the green light, stick with one drink a day for women, no more than two for men; be sure to drink slowly, and always with a meal.Fast Facts:
- Avoid sugary mixed drinks, sweet wines, or cordials. These contain refined carbohydrates that can raise your blood sugar.
- Alcohol stimulates appetite. In one study, one drink led people to consume 200 extra calories. This can lead to weight gain and/or high blood sugar.
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach or when your blood sugar levels are already low. This can lead to dangerously low blood sugar, called hypoglycemia.
- Intoxication and hypoglycemia both cause sleepiness, disorientation, or dizziness. Wear a medical alert bracelet so you can get help if blood sugar’s low.
- Factor in carbs and calories. A 5-ounce glass of wine has about 110 calories and 5 grams of carbs; a 12-ounce beer about 150 calories and 13 carb grams.
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