Healthy Living

How does Alcohol Affect Diabetes?

How does Alcohol Affect Diabetes?

Alcohol provides calories, like many other foods, and gets processed like fat in the body. Drinking alcohol increases the level of blood sugar levels and has to be taken with discretion. One should drink alcohol only if blood sugar levels are under control. It is always better to have a discussion a physician before having a drink or two, to ensure that there are no other risks involved.

Alcohol affects the body in a number of ways. Consuming small quantities of alcohol causes an increase in the level of blood sugar. Excess amounts, on the other hand, brings down the blood sugar level, and in some cases, blood sugar can come down to dangerously low levels. Alcohol can increase hunger pangs making you lose control over your diet, and over eat. Drinks are also found to interfere with the effects of diabetic medications and insulin. In addition to the blood glucose levels, alcohol may increase triglyceride levels and blood pressure. Increased heart rate, nausea, and slurred speech are also seen as effects of consuming alcohol.

Here are a few things you should consider before consuming alcohol:

  • Alcohol should be totally avoided if the person has:
    • eye diseases due to diabetes
    • high blood pressure
    • high triglycerides level
    • nerve damage
  • Avoid having alcohol on an empty stomach, as food can reduce the absorption of the drink into blood. 
  • Never combine physical activity and alcohol, as it may reduce the blood sugar to dangerously low levels.
  • Always remember to carry glucose tablets or other sources of sugar.
  • Avoid having drinks mixed with sugar, like sweet wines and cordials.
  • Limit the intake to no more than two drinks, in men, and one drink, in women.
  • Wear a medical ID showing that you are a diabetic patient.

If you are trying to reduce your body weight, drinking alcohol is not a good option, particularly because alcohol will add more calories without any nutritional value. Experts recommend that one should have a light snack before going to sleep to avoid the chances of low blood sugar levels.