Being a a diabetic does not mean that you have to give up on alcohol completely. Although alcohol can affect your blood sugar levels, you sure can enjoy a certain amount of alcohol in moderation, during or after a meal.
Besides the taste, moderate amounts of alcohol may be beneficial to your health. For instance, alcohol helps in lowering the risk for developing a heart condition. Although having diabetes involves making special dietary considerations, it doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice having one or two drinks socially.
As a diabetic you should follow the same guidelines as non-diabetics for alcohol consumption. This is simple, as well. Women should have no more than two units of alcohol each day, while men may have a maximum of three units per day.
What’s in a Unit?
The unit amounts of alcohol may vary, depending on the particular type of drink that you choose to have.
You should consider the following equivalents to a unit before drinking.
- One shot or 25ml of wine, gin, whiskey, etc.
- ½ pint of regular beer
- One shot or 50ml of vermouth or sherry
If you’re diabetic you should make yourself aware of the amount of alcohol contained in each type of drink. For example, a glass of wine may actually contain two units of alcohol while a pint of beer may contain as much as three units.
Making the wrong calculation for the amount of alcohol in a drink can have significant effects on your blood glucose level.
The Rules of Sipping
If you want to maintain good health while enjoying an alcoholic drink, there are some things to bear in mind:
- Don’t ever drink on an empty stomach
- Don’t replace carbohydrates in your diet with alcohol
- Always wear identification that declares you to be a diabetic
- Sip, and do not gulp your drink.
- Keep yourself properly hydrated while you are having alcohol. The best liquids to do this are water, diet drinks or tea
- Have light drinks such as light beer or a mixture of an alcoholic drink with club soda, wine and ice cubes
- Don’t drive for a few hours after drinking alcohol
- Check your blood sugar level before drinking and up to 24 hours after drinking, especially right before you go to bed to make sure the levels are not too low.
- Take diabetic pills prescribed by your doctor
Alcohol intake can significantly increase the chances of the diabetic experiencing conditions like hypoglycemia or extremely low blood sugar levels. These precautions should still be taken into considerations, although having a drink may not have any short term effects on the levels of glucose in the blood.
In the final analysis, having alcohol as a diabetic can be a safe practice as long as you follow certain precautions. If you drink more than one or two drinks each week then you should inform your doctor.