What You Need To Know About Alcohol and Diabetes

People who have diabetes often think that alcohol is an absolute NO for them. But, understanding the link between alcohol and diabetes is important if you’re a sufferer of this disease. In general, people with diabetes should follow the following recommendations:

  1. Drink light beer or dry wines, as they have low amounts of sugar in them.
  2. Avoid drinking high sugar alcohols, like sweet wine.
  3. For diabetic men, 2 glass of wine are enough.
  4. For diabetes women, 1 glass of wine is enough.
  5. Drinking red wine is rather beneficial for diabetics.


When consumed in excess, alcohol can make the blood sugar levels lower than the normal (hypoglycemia). Therefore, a person should take alcohol in moderation and should measure his blood glucose level before and after taking alcohol.

One thing is important to mention here and it is that usually the symptoms of too much alcohol and hypoglycemia are the same. A person feels dizzy and sleepy. However, they shouldn’t be confused with each other. The best way to get rid of the confusion is to check your blood sugar level when you feel the symptoms. If the blood sugar is normal, then alcohol might be causing the symptoms. However, if the blood sugar level is low, then you have diabetes.

Now let us look at some tips and facts about the alcohol use in diabetics. Some tips and facts about alcohol are mentioned below:

  • Alcohol reduces the chances of heart diseases in diabetics. A study was conducted at Harvard school, in which the scientists divided diabetic women into two groups. One group was given alcohol in small quantity whereas the other group wasn’t given alcohol. Results showed that the group that received alcohol had a better chance of fighting heart diseases as compared to the other group. Another study was conducted on diabetic men, which proved that the use of alcohol doesn’t increase or decrease the heart disease risk in diabetic men.
  • Alcohol can, sometimes, react with other medications. Some medications like meglitinides and sulfonylureas lower the blood sugar level. Alcohol can react with these medicines and cause severe complications.
  • Alcohol disrupts the functioning of liver. When a person takes alcohol, the liver functions to eliminate it from the blood, instead of controlling blood sugar. Therefore, if you already have deranged blood sugar level, you should avoid its use.
  • A person should avoid the use of alcohol with empty stomach. It is a good idea to drink alcohol with meals. The reason is that food will slow the absorption rate of alcohol. Also, when you drink alcohol, sip it slowly.
  • You should measure your blood sugar levels before and after taking alcohol. The reason is that alcohol directly affects the blood sugar level. Therefore, you should avoid alcohol, if you have low blood sugar level.

To conclude, the effects of alcohol on diabetes depend on the type of alcohol consumed and degree of moderation. If you drink the right variety of alcohol in moderation, you can enjoy better glycemic control without facing the side effects.


  1. http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/making-healthy-food-choices/alcohol.html
  2. http://www.healthline.com/health/type-2-diabetes/facts-diabetes-alcohol

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