Drinking alcohol may cause your blood sugar to either rise or fall. While moderate amounts of alcohol can actually decrease your blood sugar level, sometimes it can cause your blood sugar to drop into potentially dangerous levels, especially if you have a type 1 diabetes. Beer and sweet wine contain carbohydrates that can raise your blood sugar. Alcohol stimulates your appetite, which may make you overeat and affects your blood sugar control.
People often take drinking beer for granted. The fact that alcoholic drinks are full of empty calories and have no nutritional value, this can be a terrible drink for your waistline. Beer, on the other hand, does contain carbohydrates.
Alcoholic drinks often have a lot of calories that can make it more difficult for you to lose excess weight and fat on your waistline. Alcohol consumption increases your triglyceride levels and along with it, your blood pressure levels.
Unfortunately, it also creates a very surprising effect of affecting your judgment or willpower. This leads to making poor food choices and you very well know when you make poor food choices – impacts every cell of your body!
Alcoholic drinks can negatively alter blood sugar levels and put you at risk of developing alcohol related diabetes. If you want to have a drink, enjoy it with food and keep it to a minimum. Drink only with food.
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The WebMD suggests you do not drink more than 2 drinks of alcohol in a day period if you are a man, or 1 drink if you are a woman where 1 alcoholic drink is equal to a 5 ounce glass of wine, or 12 ounces of beer.
These drinks promote weight gain and can make the pain even worse, if you already have a nerve damage from diabetes. It would be wise to skip the alcohol, if you have a diabetic eye disease or high blood pressure.
Having a drink at a barbecue or at home is a popular way to unwind and relax through the long weekend, but for people living with diabetes, there are some serious risks involved. Carbohydrate counting can often be as much a concern as blood sugar levels.
A drop in your blood sugar may happen up to 12 to 24 hours later. Eat when you drink or eat as soon as you get home, before you go to bed. After a few hours you wake up, please check your blood sugar and see if you need to eat something at that point!
Alcoholic beverages can be a source of lapses or slips. Your body sees alcohol as a toxin and as a result, your liver tries to metabolize the substance so it can get rid of it. This can be a bad idea, because it makes the liver so busy that it does not release as much stored glucose anymore.
If you haven’t eaten and choose to drink alcohol, then your blood glucose can get too low. When that happens, you will likely eat more. Drinking alcohol is one bad habit that can ultimately result in undesired fatness.
Because alcohol prevents your liver from producing glucose, it often leads to hypoglycemia, which occurs several hours after drinking. It may also make glucagon less effective.
It takes a long time for your liver to break down alcohol, which increases the risk of severe hypoglycemia. Because of this, sleeping late is particularly dangerous the morning after you have been drinking.
Research has shown that the glucose lowering effect of alcohol is often delayed until the following morning. This means, you should have a good breakfast the next morning.
If your blood glucose is in good control before you drink, depending on the drink’s sugar content, it may not affect the blood glucose. Drinking a limited amount of alcohol is generally okay, even if you have diabetes. Just make sure you drink on a full stomach.
The alcoholic drinks account for 10% of 29 to 64 year olds in the UK’s daily intake of added sugar, and 6% for over 65s. All alcohol is full of empty calories and also, stimulates appetite.
Understanding how alcohol affects your glucose
Alcohol can cause low blood sugar in diabetics if consumed on an empty stomach. Normally, blood glucose levels drop when your stomach is empty.
To avoid a low blood sugar reaction, the liver goes to work and change the stored carbohydrates into glucose, which is then released into the bloodstream.
If the alcohol enters the body on an empty stomach, the liver won’t convert the carbs into glucose. Instead, the alcohol reduces the liver’s production of glucose, and causes the blood sugar to decrease.
If you have a glass of wine that contains a lot of sugar, the blood glucose level may actually increase for a while at first, but then plummet as the liver’s production of the glucose decreases. You may experience hypoglycemia.
You really should not have more than 1 for women and 2 for men drinks per day. Limit yourself to 2 to 3 days per week if possible.
Alcohol can also affect your triglycerides (blood fats). It is advisable to limit drinking if you already have a high triglyceride level.
Your odds for low blood sugar can be greater if you drink alcohol after exercising, because the body is still busy replenishing the energy your muscles burned by retrieving glucose from the blood.
Taking insulin or diabetes pills with alcohol can also exacerbate your risk for low blood sugar because both treatments work to remove glucose from the blood.
Now, here is your multi million dollar question. If you already drink alcohol, should you refrain when you get diagnosed with diabetes? Read this…
How does your liver respond when you drink alcohol?
Alcohol is metabolized similar to fat in the liver. Your liver supplies you with glucose for energy when you are not eating, but when you drink alcohol, the liver neglects to send out glucose into the bloodstream, which may cause hypoglycemia.
Use a little bit of common sense – there is sugar in beer! If you choose to drink alcohol, moderation is extremely important. Excess alcohol consumption can cause problems with your blood pressure, blood vessels, liver, heart, and brain.
Will the kind of drink matters?
The type of alcoholic drink may not actually matter at all. Wine (red or white), beer, and spirits affect the cardiovascular health in the same way. Alcoholic drinks can also interfere with many medications.
Remember, alcohol delivers 7 calories per gram and is metabolized like fat. The chances of developing diabetes may depend on a mix of your genes and lifestyle. Drinking in excess can definitely contribute to becoming a diabetic.
Diabetes is a serious disease caused by either a deficiency in the amount of insulin or by the body’s inability to utilize it. Insulin is required to particularly convert carbohydrates or fat into energy.
Heavy drinking can reduce the body’s sensitivity to insulin and trigger the type 2 diabetes. Alcohol contains a huge amount of calories. Actually, a pint of lager is equivalent to a slice of pizza.
Regular drinking can also interfere with good diabetes self-care. A large study of nearly 66,000 patients with diabetes published in the Acta Diabetologica found that the more a patient drinks, the less likely he is to adhere to important self-care behaviors like getting enough exercise, not smoking, eating a healthy diet, and taking their diabetes medications. As always, drinking in moderation is the key.
Hamdy, O., & Colberg, S. (2013). The diabetes breakthrough. Canada: Harlequin.
Fox, C., & Hanas, R. (2008). Type 2 diabetes in adults of all ages. London: Class Publishing.
Mertig, R. G. (2012). Nurse’s guide to teaching diabetes self-management, second edition. New York: Springer Publishing.
Sloane, M. P. (2013). Food majesty’s reality diabetes: Type 2. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse.
Yu, W., Stjernholm, M. R., & Munier, A. (2004). What to do when the doctor says it’s diabetes. Gloucester, MA: Fair Winds Press.
When you have a type 1 diabetes, it doesn’t mean you cannot drink beer. However, you need to control your drinking. Drink moderately! Too much alcohol may cause chronic inflammation of the pancreas, which can impair its ability to secrete insulin.
Alcohol slows down your liver’s ability to produce sugar during the fasting state specifically during the time when you were sleeping at night, which is when the body’s sugar levels drop to the lowest levels. If you drink alcohol before you’ve eaten, your blood glucose level will start dropping and that would be a problem for you.
The liver won’t be able to release the necessary glucose into the bloodstream to correct it because the liver has to focus on clearing out the alcohol first. This means you ought to have a balanced meal or a snack that has protein, carbohydrates and fats in it before you drink. You need food to provide sugar to your body and counteract the alcohol’s effects.
Too much alcohol can increase the risk of developing complications by making you put on more weight and increasing your blood pressure levels. Drinking a lot of alcohol can cause hypoglycaemia, if you are taking insulin or certain diabetes tablets.
Drinking alcohol is generally part of any normal social events. It is important to remember that all alcoholic drinks are high in kilojoules and can contribute to weight gain. If you are looking to lose weight fast and have been developing the best weight loss program for this, you should limit drinking beer.