As a diabetic, you need to be ever mindful of what you put into your mouth. You are careful not to eat treats laced with sugar, but are you careful about alcohol? You may justify drinking because alcohol isn’t a sugar. This is true, alcohol isn’t a sugar; alcohol is a toxin. When you drink alcohol, it goes from your stomach directly into your blood stream and goes to your liver. The job of your liver is to process glucose; however, when you drink, your liver has to stop processing glucose to begin processing alcohol. Your liver can only process a certain amount of alcohol at a time, so it is important that you drink with that in mind. The following tips will help you enjoy alcohol while maintaining adequate blood sugar levels.
Yes, you can enjoy a glass of beer, a mixed drink, wine, and champagne, as long as you drink in moderation. You can have alcohol, but it is best to include alcohol you’re your diet plan. If your doctor put you on a restricted calorie diet, you will need to plan for days that you will drink. If you are going to a party or a wedding, and you want a couple of glasses of champagne, you can enjoy them as long as you act responsibly with alcohol. Being responsible with alcohol, when you are diabetic, means that you should limit your drinking to just a couple of drinks. As a diabetic, alcohol is metabolized much slower than in people who don’t have diabetes. The liver of a non-diabetic can process approximately one alcoholic drink per hour; however, a diabetic’s liver doesn’t process alcohol as efficiently as a non-diabetic’s liver. Therefore, it takes about two hours for a diabetic’s liver to process one alcoholic drink.
If you are going to be drinking alcohol, it is important to eat something before drinking, because you will likely become hypoglycemic when you drink. Yes, alcohol does eventually turn to glucose, but it takes a long time for that to happen; therefore, your blood sugar will drop if you drink on an empty stomach. When you aren’t drinking, if your blood glucose begins to get low, your liver will start breaking down a carbohydrate, called glycogeninto glucose; however, when you drink alcohol, the process of processing glucose stops and your liver has to turn its attention to processing alcohol. As a result you can suffer from hypoglycemia from drinking alcohol. To help prevent low blood sugar levels while drinking, make sure you eat a sandwich or something equally substantial before drinking.
If you take insulin, or you take oral medications to treat your diabetes, it is vitally important that you eat before drinking. Insulin and oral diabetic medications work to clear your circulatory system of excess blood glucose. As mentioned above, drinking alcohol stops your liver from providing you with glucose for energy. If you drink without eating you could pass out from hypoglycemia.
When you have diabetes, you have to be very careful when you drink alcohol. To make sure that you stay safe, you should limit your drinking to one social drink if you are a woman and two drinks if you are a man. The risk is just too high for your blood glucose levels to fall. You may want to check your blood sugar level with a glucometer before you drink any alcohol. If your blood sugar is already on the low side of normal, you may need to make a decision on if you should take that drink or not. However, you should be okay as long as you ate something before drinking.