Can I Drink Alcohol If I Have Type 2 Diabetes?

Vomiting can lead to dehydration and a reduced blood volume, which, in turn, increases the levels of certain stress hormones in the blood called catecholamines. Catecholamines further decrease insulin production and increase glucagon production. Accordingly, physicians who treat diabetics known to consume large amounts of alcohol must be aware of the risk of alcoholic ketoacidosis in those patients.

  • Food slows down the absorption of alcohol and prevents the sudden drop in blood sugar levels.
  • Having low blood sugar when you’re sleeping is potentially dangerous.
  • Limit your intake of alcohol to no more than one serving per day for women, and no more than two servings per day for men.
  • This glucose is released into the bloodstream to bring levels up to normal.
  • However, their carb content can be virtually the same as that of red wines.

If you enjoy heavy drinking, have a drinking problem, and have diabetes, alcohol can make your diabetes worse so it is important to get help for alcohol abuse or alcoholism. Avoid sugary mixers and drinks and limit alcohol consumption to moderate amounts, no more than one or two drinks per day. If you have diabetes, it is important to talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of alcohol consumption. Have a snack or meal as you sip or immediately beforehand to lower the risk of hypoglycemia.

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If a person chooses to drink, they should always eat at the same time and include carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables, or grains, in their meal. Exercise can also increase the risk of hypoglycemia when coupled with other factors, such as drinking alcohol. Doctors strongly encourage people with diabetes to engage in regular physical activity because it reduces blood sugar. However, exercising, drinking alcohol, and taking blood sugar-lowering medication could cause hypoglycemia. Diabetic eye disease (i.e., retinopathy) is another troublesome tissue complication of diabetes and one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States today.

  • Insulin primarily serves to lower blood sugar levels by promoting the uptake of sugar (i.e., glucose) in the muscles and fat (i.e., adipose) tissue as well as the conversion of glucose into its storage form, glycogen.
  • Sugar alcohols are also easily identifiable in the “ingredients” section of the nutrition label.
  • Be sure to consult your doctor or a nutritionist ifyou have specific questions.
  • Currently, only three drug treatments exist for alcohol use disorder.
  • If you’re taking medication, talk with your doctor about whether and how you can safely drink alcohol.
  • Drinking alcohol can also lead to weight gain, which can further complicate diabetes management.

This means drinking can make it even harder for people with type 2 diabetes—which is defined by elevated glucose levels—to manage their blood sugar. As noted above, the studies on glucose tolerance and insulin resistance in alcoholism focused on the impact of chronic heavy use of alcohol on the development of T2DM. Accordingly, deterioration in glucose homeostasis and insulin secretion in alcohol dependence may not only represent a consequence of T2DM, but also plays an important role in its cause, as well as its treatment. Normally, the liver releases glucose to maintain blood sugar levels. But when you drink alcohol, the liver is busy breaking the alcohol down, so it does a poor job of releasing glucose into the bloodstream.

The Direct Effect of Alcohol Consumption on Diabetes

Nocturnal hypoglycemia is common in people with diabetes who are taking medications to regulate their blood sugar. Your body processes alcohol differently than most foods and beverages. And if you have type 2 diabetes, drinking alcohol may have some benefits—such as lowering glucose levels in the blood—and some real risks, like driving glucose levels down too low. Because of the effects alcohol can have on blood sugar control and other aspects of the disease, you face certain risks by drinking alcohol if you have type 2 diabetes that otherwise healthy people may not. The risk of hypoglycemia is why experts advise people with diabetes not to drink alcohol if their blood sugar is already low.

diabetes and alcohol

Under the influence of excess glucagon, some of the free fatty acids are converted to ketone bodies and secreted into the blood, causing severe health consequences. Gluconeogenesis, which also occurs primarily in the liver, involves the formation of new glucose molecules from alanine and glycerol. Alanine is generated during the breakdown of proteins in the muscles, whereas glycerol is formed during the metabolism of certain fat molecules (i.e., triglycerides). Alcohol metabolism in the liver, however, actually shuts down the process of gluconeogenesis and thus the second line of defense against hypoglycemia.

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Brief interventions have been shown to be effective for at-risk drinking in addition to alcohol use disorders (e.g., [40]). In addition, T2DM patients are typified by a decreased fat oxidative capacity and elevated levels of circulating free fatty acid [27]. The letter is known to cause insulin resistance by reducing stimulated glucose uptake, which most likely accumulated in the lipid inside the muscle cell [28].

  • This organ stabilizes glucose levels by storing carbohydrates and releasing them into the bloodstream between meals and overnight.
  • In all five patients, the alcohol-induced hypoglycemia induced neurological changes, such as incontinence, inability to follow simple commands, perseveration,4 disorientation, and impairment of recent memory.
  • Alcohol-related hypoglycemia can cause dangerously low blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, especially if you take medication for your condition.

If you can’t face food or you’ve been sick, drink as many fluids as you can, including some sugary (non-diet) drinks if your blood sugar levels are low. While a lot of alcoholic drinks contain carbs, you might not need to take your usual mealtime amount of insulin to cover them. To help keep health risks from alcohol at a low level, it’s safest not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week. The guidelines also recommend that if you choose to drink up to 14 units a week, spread this over at least three days. Even for people who don’t have diabetes, drinking too much, too often, can be risky.

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If someone with diabetes chooses to drink alcohol, the ADA recommends limiting consumption to a moderate intake. This translates to one drink per day for females and up to two per day for males. A 2015 meta-analysis reviewed 38 cohort studies to determine whether alcohol is a risk factor for diabetes.

  • Fleming and colleagues evaluated an intervention consisting of nurse-delivered brief advice split across two 15-minute sessions and followed up by two 5-minute telephone calls [48].
  • This can happen if you drink large amounts of alcohol or if you have untreated diabetes.
  • Department of Health and Human Services and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 2022 National Survey of Drug Use and Health, the most recent data available.
  • Managing type 2 diabetes isn’t just about taking prescribed medication; it’s also about maintaining a healthy diet.
  • Drinking alcohol when you take glucose-lowering medications (insulin) or certain oral medications can increase the risk of low blood sugar.

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