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September 28, 2007 at 5:14 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

How Does Drinking Alcohol Affect Diabetes

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

If you have diabetes, you know that you need to be aware of your lifestyle; your approach to diet and exercise is impacted by your diabetes. In the same way, you must consider your diabetes when consuming alcohol. As long as you practice awareness, moderation, and good judgment, you don't have to let diabetes keep you from enjoying a night out.

Recommended Intake

Research shows that a moderate intake of alcohol, one to three drinks a day, probably wont have an impact on diabetes. Moderate drinking is also associated with a decreased rate of heart disease among diabetes patients. Some research suggests that drinking in moderation can even decrease your risk of developing diabetes. However, this isn't strong enough to suggest that diabetes patients who don't drink should start.

Risks of Drinking with Diabetes

The main risk of drinking for people who take insulin or other glucose-lowering medications is the possibility that alcohol can make you more susceptible to hypoglycemia. With this condition, your blood glucose level dropps down to an unsafe level. Unfortunately, the symptoms of hypoglycemia are similar to the effects of too much alcohol, so you and your friends may not be able to differentiate between the two, even if you are already passed out.  

Moderation Is Key

If you are drinking moderately, you will also be able to retain your sense of awareness. Be sure to pay attention to any warning signs that something may be wrong. Keep constant surveillance of your blood sugar levels, and remember that drinking is not a vacation from diabetes. Use good judgment, and don't drink to the point where your judgment or awareness is impaired.

Drinking in moderation is also important to diabetics because excessive drinking can cause you to gain weight, which will only complicate your diabetes. If you are dieting and exercising to manage you diabetes, alcohol will only sabotage your progress. Limit your drinking to three drinks a night. Don't allow the alcohol to impact the rest of your diabetes maintenance. For example, if you're too hungover in the morning to work out, you have a problem. If you're too drunk to know that you shouldn't be eating that late-night sub, you have an even bigger problem.

Beer and Wine Aren't Your Drinking Buddies

The carbohydrate content of beer and wine can pose a problem for diabetics. Hyperglycemia, or too much blood sugar, can result from drinking too much beer or wine without the insulin that is needed to break them down. This can result in the familiar energy-sucked feeling many diabetics experience when their blood glucose level is too high. If you're diabetic and consuming moderate amounts of alcohol, steer clear of carb-rich beer and wine, as well as sweetened mixers. If you have diabetes, you can still enjoy alcohol as long as you practice moderation, awareness, and sound judgment.

References:

http://www.battlediabetes.com/beer-and-diabetes/

http://www.battlediabetes.com/drinking-alcohol-and-diabetes/

http://www.annals.org/cgi/content/full/140/3/I-72

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