Diabetes: Can you drink alcohol if you have diabetes?


Diabetes is a dangerous condition, around 3.9million Britons live with it.
Finding healthy ways to help lower your blood sugar is important to manage the condition. But does this mean booze is out?

Those with diabetes are unable to break down glucose (sugar) into energy.

Either they do not have enough insulin to move the glucose or the insulin created by them does not work properly.


This means those with the condition have to be extra careful to monitor and maintain their sugar levels.

This generally means cutting back on sugary foods and drinks.



Booze is rarely seen as a sugary drink, but it contains vast amounts of hidden sugars which can be very problematic for those needing to regulate their sugar levels.

A G&T typically contains up to four teaspoons of sugar, while a vodka and cranberry contains a whopping seven and a half teaspoons of sugar on average.

Despite the ludicrously high sugar levels in alcohol diabetes.co.uk say there is no need for Britons to give up alcohol just because of their diabetes.


That doesn’t mean those with diabetes can drink as usual.

Alcohol will have an effect on blood sugar levels.

But with careful management and a few precautions, those with diabetes can enjoy a drink.


Alcohol intake significantly increases the risk of low blood sugar levels (hypoglycaemia), which can be dangerous if it isn’t managed.

If you have your condition well under control a reasonable amount of alcohol may be fine, but, what are the safest ways to consume drinks this summer?



Not only does alcohol contain a lot of sugar, but it inhibits the liver from turning proteins into glucose.

This is particularly concerning for diabetics as it means the risk of hypoglycaemia is increased when your blood sugars start to come down.

How can you drink safely with diabetes?

Excessive drinking is dangerous for anyone, but diabetics need to be stricter than most when it comes to watching the booze.


Diabetes UK advises strict carbohydrate management if a large amount of alcohol has been consumed.

You should never drink alcohol on an empty stomach, food will act as a sponge and will stop too much alcohol from entering your bloodstream at once.

You should drink water regularly to keep yourself hydrated and to dilute the alcohol in the bloodstream.


Getting drunk could be a big no-no as the symptoms of drunkenness can be very similar to a hypo, which can lead to very dangerous confusion.

If you have been drinking excessively, there could be a risk of hypos for up to 24 hours after you have stopped drinking.

You must check your blood sugar levels before drinking, while you are drinking and frequently for 24 hours afterwards.


So is it wise to drink or not?

The short answer is that it is okay to drink in moderation, paying close attention to your blood sugar levels.

Diabetes.co.uk conclude: “Drinking moderately in accord with the recommended guidelines, should definitely not be ruled out.

“Some alcohol, red wine, in particular, may even offer health benefits… not that that means you should take up drinking.”


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