Best Alcoholic Drinks For Diabetics Type 1 Or Type 2
Looking into the 11 best alcoholic drinks for diabetics type 1 or type 2 will hopefully put to rest the popular misconception that one with diabetes cannot consume alcohol. In fact, if you are diabetic, the guidelines for your alcohol consumption does not vary much from someone who is not. Typically one drink for women and two for men. Its more a matter of WHAT you are drinking, and here you will have a better insight into figuring out what alcoholic drinks are safe for diabetics. Now, this doesnt particularly mean you can drink as much as you want whenever you want. Hell, I cant even do that and I do not have diabetes. I do, however, know an alcoholic who is, and while she undeniably should be a bit more careful as to the amount of alcohol she consumes on such a regular basis, she certainly disproves the idea that diabetics cant have any fun when it comes to enjoying an adult beverage here and there. Again, its all a matter of knowing what are the best alcoholic drinks for diabetics.
Now, before I jump into the alcoholic drinks for diabetics list, Ive gotta share Jays article on the 12 Best Alcoholic Mixed Drinks for Diabetics. While she gives some great ideas on drinks for diabetics, Ill be focusing a bit more on the best liquor for diabetics. So, what alcohol can you drink if you have diabetes? Well, youre about to find out! Just ONE more thing I have to share with you before we get started .
Alcohols Effects On Blood Sugar Levels Of Diabetics
Numerous studies have investigated alcohols effects on the control of blood sugar levels in diabetics. Those effects differ substantially depending on whether alcohol consumption occurs when the person has just eaten and blood sugar levels are relatively high or when the person has not eaten for several hours and blood sugar levels are relatively low .
Be Good To Your Heart And Waistline
Alcohol is high in calories and low in nutrients. Thats why alcohol is often called empty calories. When your liver breaks down alcohol, it turns the alcohol into fat. That means drinking alcohol can make you gain weight. At 7 calories per gram, alcohol is nearly as calorie-dense as fat . Thats where that beer belly comes from! Alcohol use can also lead to elevated blood fats, or triglycerides, which raises your heart disease risk.
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How Much Alcohol Can You Drink Safely
Work with your doctor or other diabetes expert to find what is best for you. Make sure you know whether it is safe to drink if you are taking insulin or pills.
If you do drink:
- Check for low blood sugar before you drink. Alcohol can cause low blood sugar for up to 24 hours after drinking, so keep checking your blood sugar. Eating can help, but in some people eating will cause high blood sugar. If you have had trouble keeping your blood sugar in a target range, don’t drink.
- If you take insulin, drinking too much can cause severely low blood sugar. This requires emergency treatment.
- If you take insulin or sulfonylureas, watch out for low blood sugar that can happen up to 24 hours after drinking alcohol.footnote 1
- If you have type 1 diabetes, watch out for morning hypoglycemia if you drink 2 or 3 hours after your last evening’s meal.footnote 1
- If you’re a man, have no more than 3 standard drinks a day on most days and no more than 15 drinks a week. If you’re a woman, have no more than 2 standard drinks a day on most days and no more than 10 drinks a week. A standard drink is:footnote 2
- One drink is 341 mL of beer, 142 mL of wine, or 43 mL liquor.
Drink Alcohol Sparingly And On Special Occasions
While previous research, such as a study published in May 2014 in Diabetes Care, found that moderate alcohol consumption may offer heart-protective effects for people with diabetes, more recent The Lancet suggests that no amount of alcohol is safe.
If you choose to imbibe, do so in small quantities, especially because alcohol can cause blood sugar fluctuations, notes the American Diabetes Association . According to the ADA, moderate drinking is defined as up to one drink for women and two drinks for men per day. One drink equals 1½ oz of liquor, 12 oz of beer, or 5 oz of wine.
And because the benefits of alcohol are debated, for people with diabetes and the general public, if you dont already drink alcohol, dont start, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises.
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How Much Is Too Much
Alcohol consumption recommendations are the same for people with diabetes as the rest of the population: no more than one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men. “Binge drinking” or drinking more than four drinks or five drinks within two hours, is strongly discouraged for health and safety reasons.If you are at a sporting event and plan to drink over several hours, pace yourself and dont overindulge. A good rule of thumb is to have no more than one drink per hour, and no more than three or four drinks in a day. And remember to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated!When it comes to beer, one drink is 12 ounces, or one can or bottle of beer. But remember, some cans and bottles might be more than 12 ounces. For example, large 24-ounce cans are common at many sports stadiums these would count as two drinks, not one!If you are pregnant or underage, you should not drink any alcohol. Talk to your doctor if you have other medical conditions like liver or kidney disease, or if you are on any medications.
Should I Drink Alcohol
In Australia, drinking alcohol is generally acceptable and for many people is a normal part of social events. However, for as long as alcohol has been used and enjoyed, some people have experienced problems associated with it. Most people with diabetes can enjoy a small amount of alcohol. However, its best to discuss it first with your diabetes health care team.
For people who are on insulin or certain diabetes tablets, alcohol may increase the risk of hypoglycaemia .
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The Connection Between Alcohol & Blood Sugar
When you have diabetes, it is important to carefully monitor your blood sugar levels as directed by your doctor. Blood sugar can swing from too high to too low in diabetics. Blood sugar that is too high is called hyperglycemia, while blood sugar that drops too low is called hypoglycemia. Although your doctor will tell you what your specific blood sugar goal range is, generally, a target blood sugar range is 80 to 130 mg/dL if you are testing your sugar on an empty stomach.
Alcohol can impact blood sugar in different ways and may cause hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia. For the most part, alcohols impact on blood sugar depends on whether you drink on a full stomach or an empty stomach.
- Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach or several hours after a meal can cause low blood sugar.
- Drinking three to four drinks a day can cause high blood sugar, especially if you eat regular meals.
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Is It Safe To Drink Alcohol All Together
The answer is yes according to Diabetes UK. It says: Yes, you can still drink, but you need to be aware of how it can affect your body and how to manage this.
For example, drinking can make you more likely to have a hypo, because alcohol makes your blood sugars drop. It can affect your weight too, as there can be a lot of calories in alcoholic drinks.
Staying within the government guidelines for drinking alcohol is the safest way if you have or are looking to prevent type 2 diabetes.
The guidelines state men and women should not regularly drink more than 14 units a week.
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So What Are The Worst Alcoholic Drinks To Choose
The diabetes charity advises you avoid the following:
Avoid low-sugar beers and cider
These can sometimes be called diabetic drinks. It explains: They might have less sugar, but theres more alcohol in them.
Just one pint of a low-sugar beer can bring you above the legal limit.
Avoid low-alcohol wines
These can often contain more sugar than normal wines. It advises: If you do choose these, just stick to a glass or two.
Try to limit drinks with a lot of sugar, such as sweet sherries, sweet wines and liqueurs.
Is Drinking Alcohol With Diabetes Dangerous
Drinking lots of alcohol is dangerous for anyone. However, with larger amounts of alcohol, serious hypoglycaemia can occur.
Some sources advise strict carbohydrate management, perhaps even chips or pizza, if a large amount of alcohol has been consumed.
However, avoiding alcohol in large quantities is the best recourse.
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Carb & Calorie Drink Guide
Note: All drinks on the following slides were prepared using standard recipes from The New American Bartender’s Guide and with nutrition information primarily from calorieking.com. The amount of ice can vary, so ice was excluded from the serving size unless otherwise specified.
Nutrition values vary by brand , serving size, and how they’re prepared. Cocktails made from packaged mixes will have higher carb and calorie values than listed.
Alcoholism And Diabetes: The Risks
If you currently have diabetes drinking alcohol can be harmful. Alcohol abuse in people with diabetes increases the risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, eye problems, and nerve damage.8 If you have difficulty managing your blood sugar levels, you should strongly consider whether it is safe to drink alcohol.
If you are an alcoholic, it is significantly more difficult to keep your blood sugar levels in check. This is because alcoholic drinks contain excessive amounts of carbohydrates and sugar, which cause dramatic spikes in blood sugar. Alcohol is also high in calories and can lead to weight gain that decreases the sensitivity and production of insulin, consequently making it more difficult to control blood sugar.9
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When Choosing Your Drink Be Mindful Of Carb Counts
In general, alcohol drops blood sugar, but sugars already present in your drinks can increase it. Thats why its important to pay attention to the carbohydrate count in your drinks. Knowing the effect of alcohol on blood sugar, people often stick to drinks that have a lower alcohol sugar content in order to avoid a high. Use these estimated carb counts of popular drinks to help guide you but always check the label of your drink or use a carb counting app.
Low Carb Unicorn Cocktail
Now this is my kind of drink! A Low Carb Unicorn Cocktail made with refreshing iced passion fruit tea, gin and ginger ale. This fun and bright cocktail will be your fav beverage for those girls nights out or when you’re strutting your stuff at the pride parties.
Keeping it sugar free and low carb so you can have a few cocktails without the sugar crashed. A great cocktail if you are diabetic or following a low carb lifestyle. You won’t have to sip on water while your friends are having fun. You may also like my Low Carb Old Fashioned recipe made with a Low Carb Simple Syrup.
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Drink Tomato Juice Instead Of Sugary Fruit Juice
If you enjoy drinking juice or youre tired of drinking water all the time avoid sugary fruit options and instead opt for a small portion of vegetable juice, like tomato juice, Zanini says. And as long as you stick to 100 percent tomato juice with no added salt or sugar, it might provide you with some good overall health benefits.
For instance, drinking 1½ cups of tomato juice a day for a month cut down on some measures of inflammation in obese women, according to research published in the British Journal of Nutrition. Tomato juice has about 10 grams of carbs per cup, so youll need to factor that in.
As always, its better to eat whole fruits and vegetables than drink them, Zanini says. Eating one whole tomato per day may help reduce blood pressure and, by extension, the cardiovascular risk associated with type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition.
What Other Dangers Does Alcohol Pose For People With Diabetes
Drinking alcohol in high quantities regularly can cause an increase in blood pressure. Furthermore, alcoholic drinks contain calories, and therefore can lead to weight gain. Drinking alcohol can exacerbate neuropathy by increasing pain and numbness.
Low carbohydrate and low-alcohol drinks may be better than standard alcohol, but the dangers still need to be considered. Often alcohol is mixed with fizzy, sugary drinks that can impact on blood sugars.
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What Are The Recommended Alcohol Guidelines For People With Diabetes
The guidelines are two units for women and three units for men. However, it is worth being aware how many units a drink contains.
In some cases, a glass of wine will constitute two units, and a pint of beer can even reach three units.
People with diabetes can drink alcohol and whether you decide to drink or how much you drink will be your personal choice. Different types of alcohol will affect blood sugar levels in different ways and this will largely be based on the carbohydrate content of each type.
Beer has a tendency to push sugar levels up, particularly if you have more than a single pint.
Wines tend to have less carbohydrate than beer so may have a less pronounced affect on sugar levels.
Spirits on their ow, such as whiskey, vodka, rum and gin, have no significant carbs in and therefore shouldnt push blood sugar values up. If you have them with a mixer this will need to be taken into account.
An important point to mention about alcohol and sugar levels is the sugar level crash that can happen particularly over night. A short term affect of alcohol is that it can stop it from raising blood sugar.
A lot of people with diabetes find that after drinking this can cause sugar levels to drop. People who take diabetic medication, particularly insulin, need to be aware of this and may need to adjust doses to prevent hypoglycemia.
Ask your health team if you need help or advice with avoiding low blood sugar levels after alcohol.
How Much Alcohol And What Type Is Best With Diabetes
Editors Note: This content has been verified by Marina Basina, MD, a Clinical Associate Professor at Stanford University. Shes a clinical endocrinologist and researcher with a focus on diabetes management and diabetes technology. Dr. Basina is an active member of multiple medical advisory boards and community diabetes organizations, and she is on the Beyond Type 1 Science Advisory Council.
So, you are going to drink alcohol. But what type is best to drink with diabetes? And how much can you drink? Before choosing what types of alcohol you want to be drinking, make sure that you understand the risks of drinking with diabetes and how to drink safely.
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When To Say Yes’ Or No’ To Alcohol
When to say âyes’ to alcohol:“If a person with diabetes chooses to drink alcohol, they should also know what effect alcohol may have on their blood glucose control and the management of their diabetes, and how to drink safely,” Graber says.
- When to say ‘no’ to alcohol: Drinking alcohol isn’t recommended for PWDs who:
- are not yet of legal age to consume alcohol.
- take prescription or over-the-counter medications that can interact with alcohol.
- have uncontrolled blood sugar.
- have a history of alcohol abuse or dependence.
- take metformin and have difficulty restricting alcohol intake to more than a moderate amount, including a history of binge drinking. If so, talk to your provider about not using metformin.
- have a condition that prohibits consuming alcohol: liver disease, pancreatitis, advanced neuropathy , or severe hypertriglyceridemia .
- plan to drive or operate machinery, which could cause injury to one’s self and others.
- are pregnant .
- are breastfeeding.
Trying to lose weight?Most PWDs can enjoy moderate alcohol consumption. However, the amount of alcohol should be considered additional calories within a healthy eating plan. Healthful foods should not be omitted to compensate for the calories from alcohol. Each serving of alcohol contains about 100-150 calories, and they can add up quickly. Consider keeping alcohol consumption to a couple times a week or less if weight loss is in your diabetes management game plan.
Are Some Alcoholic Drinks Better Than Others
To meet your goals of managing your blood sugar, body weight and heart health, keep these tips in mind:
- If you are striving to lose weight, limit your alcohol intake. Or consider avoiding alcohol to rid your diet of empty calories.
- Watch out for calorie and carbohydrate-rich mixers like regular sodas, juices and tonic water. Choose diet sodas, diet juices, diet tonic water and club soda instead.
- Choose light beer instead of regular beer.
- Choose dry wines instead of sparking wines, dessert wines, sweet wines and wine coolers.
View a list of calories and carbohydrates in popular alcoholic beverages on A Look at your Liquor.
Please remember to drink safely and responsibly! Never drink and drive. Dont use dangerous equipment, or engage in activities that require coordination, concentration, or alertness. Dont take a hot bath, hot tub or sauna because the heat combined with the alcohol may cause your blood pressure to drop too much.
IF YOU DRINK ALCOHOL, KNOW WHAT IT DOES TO YOUR BODY
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