Finding out that you are a diabetic can be very difficult. There are many changes that you are going to need to make to your lifestyle. You will not be able to eat all of the foods that you once were able to enjoy without any hesitation. Here are some of the things that you should know about diabetes and alcoholic beverages.
Alcohol and Hypoglycemia
Once of the biggest concerns that diabetics should have with drinking alcohol is that it can cause hypoglycemia, which can last eight to 12 hours later. Hypoglycemia occurs when blood glucose levels are too low. Common symptoms of hypoglycemia include sleepiness, dizziness, and disorientation. It can be very challenging to differentiate these symptoms from those of being drunk, however.
The best thing that a diabetic can do if they are planning to drink is check their blood glucose levels beforehand. If it is between 100 and 140 mg/dL, then it is safe to drink. If it is lower than that, however, it is best to avoid drinking. Usually, you will be able to raise blood glucose by eating something. This is why it is highly recommended for diabetics who do plan on drinking to eat something at the same time. Keep in mind that you will also want to make sure that you are eating something healthy when you drink alcohol, rather than the fattening and junk foods that most people eat while they drink.
Limit Alcohol Intake
For diabetics, especially, it is crucial to limit the amount of alcohol that you drink at one time. Women should not have any more than one drink a day, and men should limit themselves to only two drinks. According to the American Diabetes Association, one drink is the equivalent of either a 12 oz. beer, 5 oz. glass of wine, or 1 ½ oz distilled spirits (vodka, whiskey, gin, tequila, etc). It is recommended that you drink alcoholic beverages slowly to ensure that you will be able to keep the amount that you drink under control.
If you are opting for mixed drinks, it is important to put some thought into what you are going to be drinking. Diet soda, club soda, diet tonic water, and water are recommended by the American Diabetes Association because they are calorie-free. Staying away from none-diet sodas and high sugar fruit juices, such as orange juice, is important for diabetics who intend to drink.
Talk to Your Doctor
The best thing that you can do if you are planning to drink is talk to your doctor. If drinking is a habit that you are unable to break, your doctor should know this before prescribing you with any diabetes medication. Certain diabetes medications can react negatively with alcohol, and your doctor may advise you to not drink on a regular basis.
Diabetics who are planning to drink at a bar or with people who do not know that they have diabetes should put an I.D. tag in their pocket or wallet to let everyone know. If you follow the guidelines that are mentioned above, it is unlikely that drinking will have a negative impact on your diabetes. That being said, if something does happen, you will want it to be known that you are a diabetic.
The American Diabetes Association, “Alcohol.”