Permitted or forbidden alcoholic beverages – what and how much you can drink if you have diabetes
Most people with diabetes can consume alcohol, but a basic rule must be followed, namely moderation – a glass for women and no more than two for men. Alcohol has a big impact on blood sugar levels, so great attention must be paid to how the body reacts.
Sugar-containing cocktails or alcoholic beverages can suddenly raise blood sugar, while drinking alcohol on an empty stomach can lead to a drastic drop in blood sugar.
Find out below which drinks you can consume and the recommended quantities.
• Beer – a normal 330 ml beer contains about 15 g of carbohydrates, while a light beer, with 1-2% alcohol, contains only between 3-6 g of carbohydrates. So, choose beers with less alcohol, because this way you will consume fewer calories and carbohydrates, and do not consume more than two glasses of beer a day. Beware of fruit-flavored beers (lemon, grapefruit, currants) because some of them contain much more carbohydrates than normal beer (with fructose or dextrose).
• Wine – is indicated in people with diabetes because it can help better insulin use and may even delay the onset of type 2 diabetes, according to studies. Also, moderate consumption of wine, whether we are talking about red, white or rosé wine, protects blood vessels and prevents heart disease. Keep in mind that a 150 ml glass of wine contains about 120 calories. Doctors say it is very important to consume 10-15 grams of carbohydrates for each serving of alcohol, so that blood sugar does not fall.
• Sangria – is an alcoholic beverage originating in Spain, made mainly from red wine, fruit, honey or sweetener and very little brandy or brandy. It is not recommended to consume sangria if you suffer from diabetes because this drink contains as much sugar as sweetened carbonated juices. So, avoid assortments of sweet alcoholic beverages and better consume a glass of dry white or red wine.
• Liqueur – to avoid blood sugar fluctuations, it is recommended to be consumed in small quantities and mixed with other calorie-free drinks, such as plain or mineral water. A 30 ml glass of liqueur contains the same amount of alcohol as 150 ml of wine, and although liqueur does not usually contain carbohydrates, this drink becomes dangerous when combined with juices or energy drinks that increase blood sugar exponentially.
• Margarita, mojito – are dangerous if mixed with carbonated drinks or sweetened fruit juices. To prevent high blood sugar, it is recommended to use natural sweeteners (stevia, agave syrup) and moderate consumption of a maximum of one glass of such alcoholic beverages.
• Bloody Mary – is a complex cocktail made of vodka, tomato juice, various sauces, salt, pepper, lemon juice and various other vegetables and greens, depending on taste. This drink is not recommended for people with diabetes because vodka affects blood sugar levels. If you still feel like it, you can consume Bloody Mary in the non-alcoholic version and with tomato juice with low salt content to avoid blood sugar problems.
Alcohol dehydrates, so it is essential to consume water after each glass of alcohol.
Also, be careful if you are taking insulin because alcohol can lower your blood sugar. Read here everything you need to know about alcohol consumption in diabetes
Never drink alcohol on an empty stomach; food helps to efficiently process alcohol. And don’t forget to check your blood sugar periodically!
Rules for alcohol consumption for people with diabetes
Alcohol consumption should be limited to avoid health problems, especially if you suffer from diabetes. First of all, it is advisable to consult your doctor regarding alcohol consumption, because he is best able to offer you advice.
Here are some recommendations regarding alcohol consumption in diabetes:
– Women can consume at most one alcoholic beverage per day, ie 350 ml of beer, 150 ml of wine or 30-45 ml of strong (vodka, whiskey, gin, etc.);
– Men can consume at most 2 alcoholic drinks a day, ie twice the amount recommended for women;
– If you drink alcohol several times a week, tell your doctor so you can adjust your dose of antidiabetic drugs;
– Consume alcohol only if you are sure that your blood sugar is within normal limits and do not omit main meals or snacks between meals;
– Check your blood sugar before drinking alcohol;
– Drink slowly and make sure that with each glass of alcohol you consume a glass of water or another calorie-free drink to quench your thirst;
– Consume spirit instead of wine;
– Mix alcoholic beverages with calorie-free drinks, such as diet juices, tonic water or, why not, even water;
– Make sure that when you drink alcohol you eat a small snack besides, such as popcorn, pretzels, chips, fresh vegetables.
Remember that alcohol also contains calories, which are as important as those in solid foods, almost as many calories per gram as fat. If your goal is to lose a few pounds, be careful to limit alcohol consumption. Keep in mind that a 350 ml beer contains about 90 calories!
Some medications, including antidiabetic medications, require the elimination or limitation of alcohol consumption. If you suffer from pancreatitis, have a high level of triglycerides, gastric problems, diabetic neuropathy, chronic kidney disease or other types of heart disease, it is advisable to avoid all alcohol consumption.