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Can Diabetics Drink Alcohol?

By Shomit Sirohi , Onlymyhealth editorial team / Jan 21, 2012
Can Diabetics Drink Alcohol?

Can diabetics drink Alcohol? Alcohol may be unavoidable at certain occassions, but if you are a diabetic, here are some things you need to observe prior to conuming alcohol.

The effect of alcohol on diabetic individuals varies depending on the precise condition of the diabetic person in question. In most cases, drinking alcohol in moderation is possible but for some even a small amount of alcohol can have serious negative consequences. It is extremely important to discuss the question of drinking alcohol with a doctor or certified advisor in order to obtain the necessary information and to be aware of any precautions that also need to be taken.

  • As a basic safety measure, it must be understood that frequent consumption of alcohol poses certain health risks for a diabetic person. This is the case primarily because the consumption of alcohol leads to a reduction of blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels drop the liver usually has the ability to compensate and manage the production of the necessary amount of glucose, but drinking alcohol incapacitates the liver and prevents it from releasing the carbohydrates it has stored within. Alcohol is a toxin for the liver and hence until the alcohol leaves the body system, the liver is unable to produce any glucose.
  • Even as little as two or three ounces of alcohol can cause the liver to cease glucose production. Therefore, diabetics are advised never to engage in heavy drinking (defined as three to four drinks in a single day), and to drink in moderation (usually this means one drink for a woman, and two at most for a man) and occasionally (or socially) only.
  • Furthermore, it is important for the diabetic person to eat before drinking. Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach is not advisable if the diabetic person wants to preclude the possibility of any drop in blood sugar level.


To be able to drink socially, as a diabetic, it is necessary to understand that the only way this is possible without resulting in any adverse health effects is if all necessary precautions are observed. For those attempting to manage their weight in order to improve their diabetic condition, drinking alcohol is not advisable. This is because drinking alcohol entails a huge intake of calories. At the same time it adds absolutely no nutritional value. For example as little as two light beers may add as much as two hundred calories. But nonetheless, there is no problem as long as a diabetic individual is planning to drink socially and in moderate amounts.

It is also important to monitor blood sugar levels before the consumption of alcohol and before falling asleep. One may even eat a small snack before retiring, since this will help prevent the possibility of low sugar reaction while the diabetic individual is asleep.

If these guidelines are followed, and a doctor consulted, there should be absolutely no problem for a diabetic individual to enjoy drinking alcohol occasionally.


Read more articles on Understand Diabetes

Written by
Shomit Sirohi
Source: Onlymyhealth editorial teamJan 21, 2012

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