“Can I have a drink considering that I’m diagnosed with diabetes?” Though it is better to avoid alcohol but you can as long as you consume small amounts of alcohol. However, excessive alcohol intake can have negative impacts on your health and impair the management of your diabetes, thereby worsening any diabetes-related complications. Thus, when you have diabetes and are on medications for the same, you can consume alcohol only occasionally, such that it does not shoot up your blood sugar level. However, many researches conducted have given contradictory results. While drinking during diabetes can lessen your resolve to stay on track with healthy eating, consuming alcohol in moderation has known to reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes and heart disease. Anyways, let us look at the different effects that alcohol intake can cause during diabetes.
Effects Of Alcohol On Diabetes
Due to our daily activities of exercising and fasting, our body is prone to develop lower blood sugar levels. Additionally, even diabetic patients can experience low blood sugar due to incorrect dosages of insulin. As such, liver adds glucose to the blood as and when blood sugar level shoots down. However, with alcohol consumption, the liver is unable to add additional glucose to the blood since it gets busy with filtering alcohol from the bloodstream. Unless a diabetic takes a proper diet to keep his blood sugar in control, alcohol intake can bring down blood sugar to extremely low levels.
Frequent and heavy drinking can damage the liver, which, in turn, can replace the working liver tissue with scar tissue. This scarring of the liver is known as cirrhosis. As such, this scarring obstructs the normal functioning of the liver, thereby affecting the blood sugar levels.
Drinking alcohol regularly in heavy amounts can affect a diabetic person’s ability to manage his diabetes effectively. Extreme low blood sugar will force in glucose from the liver to increase the blood sugar level, which can again shoot up blood sugar to extreme highs. As such, insulin is required to bring the level under control. Therefore, extreme highs and lows can make it difficult for a diabetic patient to maintain a normal blood sugar level.
We cannot ignore the fact that drinking alcohol can add empty calories to our diet. After all, it puts in almost equal calories acquired from fats. And consuming alcohol can only add some more extra kilos to your body weight. These people find it harder to lose the extra weight gained, which only increases the ongoing blood sugar problems. People with a balanced and healthy weight find it comparatively easier to manage diabetes as opposed to those who keep putting on unnecessary kilos to their body.
Researches indicate that diabetics with nerve damage should avoid drinking alcohol completely, as it is nothing, but poison for the body, especially for the nerves. Even occasional drinking can boost the symptoms linked with nerve damage, such as pain and numbness in the extremities.
- Consume alcohol only if your diabetes is under control and after consulting your doctor.
- Do not consume more than 2 drinks per day. For example, one alcoholic drink is equal to 5-ounce wine glass, 1½ ounce “shot” of liquor, or 12-ounce beer.
- To avoid very low blood sugar, avoid drinking on an empty stomach.
- Mixing alcohol with any kind of medication can interfere with the effects of oral diabetes medicines or insulin.
- Drink alcohol slowly to give your liver enough time to break it down.
- Always pick up drinks that contain low amounts of alcohol and sugar, such as dry wine, red wine, dry sherry, light beer, or unsweetened liquor (whiskey, brandy, rum, vodka, or gin). Also, dilute them with plenty of sugar-free mixers, like club soda, diet soda, diet tonic, seltzer, or water before consuming.
- Beverages, such as sweet wine, sweetened beer, wine coolers, spirits with normal mixture, cocktail, and undiluted spirit should be consumed with utmost caution, or, for best results, should be avoided due to their high sugar content.