Drinking alcohol is possible for people who have good control of their diabetes (type 1 or 2), but you must be aware of how alcohol will affect you differently and take the proper precautions. Our experts at the Lake Health Diabetes Education Center share information on the impact alcohol has on blood glucose levels and how to consume alcohol safely:
Alcohol and Blood Glucose Levels
Alcohol cannot be stored in our bodies and is considered a toxin. For this reason, it takes priority over everything else in order to be metabolized, meaning that all other processes that should be taking place are being interrupted. Blood glucose levels are not maintained when alcohol is consumed.
When you eat food, your blood sugars will rise. Some of these blood sugars are stored in the liver as glycogen. This stored sugar (glycogen) is released between meals to help maintain your blood sugar levels. This is what is known as the blood glucose curve, the rise and fall of blood glucose in relation to eating a meal. When you drink alcohol, since it’s neutralized in the liver, sugar is not released from the liver to maintain blood sugar levels.
Alcohol prevents the liver from maintaining blood sugar levels. This means you are more likely to experience hypoglycemia for 24 hours after drinking alcohol. If you choose to consume alcohol, here are some tips from our diabetes experts to help avoid problems.
Safe Drinking Tips
- Never drink alcohol on an empty stomach. Drink alcohol with a meal that contains carbohydrates.
- Never substitute a meal with alcohol.
- Start with non-alcoholic beverages to satisfy your thirst and continue to have one available when you consume alcohol.
- Limit the amount you drink. One drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. Consume non-alcoholic beverages during and after exercise.
- The American Diabetes Association states that alcohol can be a part of your meal plan only if your blood sugar is in good control.
Our certified diabetes educators can help you manage your diabetes with a wide range of support services. Learn more about Diabetes Education Services by calling 440-354-1622.