Just because you are diabetic does it mean that you shouldn’t drink champagne or beer? Should you say no to any partying and celebrating with friends?
Well, the answer to this question is rather favorable. Irrespective of whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes you can take a small amount of beer and it won’t have severe effects on your blood glucose levels.
If Ria Catsicas the spokesperson for a diabetes association in South Africa sayings are anything to go by, a gram of alcohol has 29.3kJ which much less than a standard drink which is 600 kJ of energy.
According to her controlling the quantity is far much important than controlling the exact thing that you drink.
How does alcohol affect diabetes?
The effects of alcohol in the body vary a lot depending on weight, capacity, gender, and age. From basic science, when you take alcohol, the liver prioritizes the detoxification of the blood rather than metabolizing food. This means that if you consume lots of alcohol it will lead to excessive weight gain.
Also, excessive alcohol in the blood will inhibit the release of glucose in the bloodstream by the liver. This possesses a danger for having hypoglycemia a condition caused by low blood glucose levels. By itself, this means that alcohol actually helps in lowering blood sugar levels and for this reason, you should never drink beer without eating something prior.
Eat well before drinking alcohol if you are diabetic and you should avoid sugar-based alcohol such as fruity alcohol and wine desserts such as Smirnoff and cider.
For people who take insulin shots, to avoid having low blood sugar attack when sleeping they should ensure that they eat healthy if they are to take alcohol or they can adjust their insulin injections.
Impact of alcohol to the blood sugar levels
Based on the findings by the American Diabetes Association, alcohol causes hypoglycemia. This can be either be a short while after consuming it or the effects can run for hours based on the type of alcohol.
It is advisable that before you drink any type of alcohol the first step should be to check the blood sugar levels. You should also check before going to sleep if its lower than 5.5 -7.7mmol/l then it is recommended that you eat something to help raise the blood sugar levels.
The danger in this is that hypoglycemia has the same symptoms as excessive consumption of alcohol. These symptoms include disorientation, sleepiness or dizziness. Someone can very easy treat you for a wrong diagnosis which can be fatal especially if you have hypoglycemia.
A guide on the alcohol to avoid and the appropriate choice
As a diabetic, you should always avoid drinks with added sugar, juice mixes or syrups. Such drinks contain way too many sugars and calories. The consequences of taking such drinks are causing a spike in the blood sugar levels and a long-term weight gain. As an alternative, you should opt for beverages such as distilled alcohol, champagne or wine. You can also take sugar-free sodas.
- A combination of vodka and cranberry containing 23grams of sugar and 200 calories!
- Vodka with twist lime and club soda containing 0grams of sugar and 100 calories.
How to stay safe
According to the American Diabetes Association, these are the tips to help you stay safe:
- Never drink when your stomach is empty or otherwise your blood sugar levels on the low.
- Alcohol is not a replacement for food.
- Drinks sugar-free alcohol and you should drink slowly ensuring that you stay hydrated.
- Feel free to add mixers that are calorie and sugar-free to your liquor.
In most cases, the quantity of alcohol we consume will depend on the time we spend in a given event. These are some tips to help you reduce your alcohol consumption.
- If you feel you have taken enough, swap to a nonalcoholic drink that is sugar-free.
- Choose drinks with low alcohol voltage and one that contains fewer calories.
- When you take alcohol, your body gets dehydrated and this calls for you to take a lot of water to ensure that you stay hydrated.
Set the limits
We have some instances when you should stop drinking alcohol if diabetic. Such incidences include:
- If you are a recovering alcoholic
- When the blood glucose levels are not controlled
- If you have pancreatitis, severe hypertriglyceridemia, neuropathy or liver disease.
Alcohol can never replace food. If you are to take alcohol, eat well and avoid drinks based on sugar. Limit the quantity of alcohol you take, just because it’s a party it doesn’t mean that you should put your life on the line with excessive alcohol consumption.