Diabetes is a common medical disorder and drinking is a social custom (hence drinking is almost ubiquitos in nature i.e. alcohol is consumed by majority of individuals world over). It is therefore very common for these two to mix, i.e. diabetes and alcohol drinking. It is therefore important for all diabetics to know about drinking and alcohol (type 2 diabetes and alcohol as well as type 1 diabetes and other types of diabetes and alcohol).
As far as diabetes and drinking is concerned, the rule is moderation and caution. All diabetics should be careful about what they drink (alcoholic drinks and beverages), how much they drink, when they drink, how frequently they drink, types of drink (such as wine, beer, champagne, whiskey, scotch, vodka, etc.) they drink. It is difficult to give a guideline for diabetics about drinking, which can suit all diabetics. The drinking and safe drinking has to be individualized, by the diabetic himself/herself. The effect of alcohol is not same in all individuals; hence a single guideline can not be applicable for all diabetics, males and females.
In general, keep the following in mind if you are diabetic while drinking, alcohol or alcoholic beverages:
- Moderation and caution is the best approach for drinking by diabetics
- For men, two drinks or less a day is safe. More than 2 drinks a day may lead to problems, associated with alcohol and diabetes
- For women, one drink or less a day is safe. More than one drink a day may lead to problems in females, as females tolerate alcohol worse than males.
- A drink or two a day may actually be beneficial for health (non-diabetics as well as diabetics). Moderate alcohol intake is good for heart health, which is applicable for diabetics too.
- After drinking alcohol (normal limit), switch over to other plain non-calorie drink, such as plain water for the rest of the day.
- Mix alcohol with non-calorie drink, such as plain water, instead of sugary sodas or juices.
- Plan well, about your eating and drinking in social occasions, to prevent overeating and excess drinking.
- Do not drink on empty stomach, alcohol can reduce blood sugar rapidly, which can be prevented if you have food in stomach.
- If you already developed some complications of diabetes, it is best to avoid alcohol completely, because alcohol may worsen the complication and you may also develop new complications of diabetes
- If possible, test blood glucose level before, during and after drinking with home glucose test kit.
- It is not easy to recommend one type of alcohol instead of another, but American Diabetes Association informs that beer and dry wine have lesser carbohydrate content, fewer calories, and lesser alcohol content and may be better for diabetics.
- Do not forget to wear your identification bracelet or necklace, when you drink, which can identify you as diabetic and be helpful in case of emergency.
Follow the above guidelines strictly, if you are diabetic and also fond of drinking. Do not get long-term suffering for one night pleasure. Practice safe drinking and stay healthy as well as enjoy life, even if you are diabetic.