Somos Inside

Alcohol and diabetes: Effects, blood sugar levels, and guidelines

It eventually winds up in the the liver, which is the only organ that metabolizes alcohol. There are a few medical conditions that have the potential to make you appear intoxicated. Among them is diabetes, a common condition throughout America.

How does a diabetic get rid of belly fat?

While everything from slashing stress to eating fewer processed foods has been shown to help combat belly fat, exercise is one of the best things you can do to reduce weight in this area and live healthier with diabetes, says Pat Salber, MD, an internist and the founder of The Doctor Weighs In, who's based in Larkspur, …

Limit your alcohol consumption ideally to no more than 2 to 3 drinks, with a strict cut-off at 5 drinks if you do intend to drink more heavily. “Everybody’s can diabetics get drunk a little bit different, so you can’t just copy how a friend with diabetes manages their insulin around a glass of wine,” says Harris.


Numerous studies have investigated alcohol’s effects on the control of blood sugar levels in diabetics. Insulin resistance does not immediately lead to overt diabetes, because the patient’s pancreatic beta cells initially can increase their insulin production enough to compensate for the insulin resistance. In fact, insulin-resistant people have higher than normal insulin levels (i.e., are hyperinsulinemic1). Ultimately, insulin secretion declines even further, to levels below those seen in nondiabetics .

Conversely, long-term alcohol ingestion in diabetics who are not adequately nourished can lead to dangerously low blood sugar levels. Heavy drinking, particularly in diabetics, also can cause the accumulation of certain acids in the blood that may result in severe health consequences. Finally, alcohol consumption can worsen diabetes-related medical complications, such as disturbances in fat metabolism, nerve damage, and eye disease. Hypertriglyceridemia is an important risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, elevated triglyceride levels can cause severe inflammation of the pancreas (i.e., pancreatitis). In fact, from a practical standpoint, heavy drinking should be considered as a possible contributing factor in all patients with hypertriglyceridemia. Abstinence from alcohol generally leads to normalization of the triglyceride levels, unless the person has an underlying genetic predisposition for hypertriglyceridemia.

Alcohol-related hyperglycemia with diabetes

Boden G, Chen X, Desantis R, White J, Mozzoli M. Effects of ethanol on carbohydrate metabolism in the elderly. Alcohol can cause flushing, nausea, increased heart rate, and slurred speech. Alcohol can interfere with the positive effects of oral diabetes medicines or insulin. Alcoholic drinks often have a lot of calories, making it more difficult to lose excess weight. Learn more about which beverages are best and worst for someone with diabetes. It is often possible to get DUI charges reduced or dismissed.

  • How different types of alcohol affect your blood sugar and consider making changes to your insulin dosing before, during and after drinking alcohol.
  • Hoppy craft beers like IPAs and stouts tend to be much higher in carbs, usually 15 grams or more per serving.
  • Individuals who have been diagnosed with diabetes have to be very careful when it comes to drinking alcohol.
  • The effects of alcohol can make it harder for you to detect symptoms of a low blood sugar.
  • Alcohol can increase and decrease blood sugar levels to dangerous levels if you have diabetes.

Women with diabetes should check their blood sugars often when consuming alcohol. After consuming a couple of drinks they may notice their blood sugar is high but as said before this initial spike can drop to dangerous levels. So they must be careful about medicating high sugar levels caused by alcohol use. It is also safe to check their blood sugar at night before going to sleep after consuming alcohol to ensure they are not hypoglycemic or entering into a period of hypoglycemia while sleeping. Different drinks vary in alcohol, carb, and sugar content and in how they affect a person’s blood sugar levels.

Is it safe to drink with diabetes?

Early diagnosis and treatment helps prevent complications. The below information can help someone adhere to the one-drink-per-day limit for females and the two-drinks-per-day limit for males. Diabetes Strong does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you found this guide to diabetes and alcohol useful, please sign up for our newsletter (and get a sign-up bonus) in the form below.

can diabetics get drunk

Even for individuals with diabetes, they could be on different medications so their body may react differently to alcohol. Your overall health plays a significant role in how your body responds to alcohol and blood sugar. Does alcohol lower blood sugar even if you are not diabetic? Yes, alcohol can still lower your blood sugar because drinking increases insulin secretion. The liver’s functionality is an important part of understanding how alcohol affects blood sugar. Your liver is a key component in regulating your blood sugar levels throughout the day.

Alcohol’s Effects on Blood Sugar Levels of Diabetics

Accordingly, patients who abuse alcohol and are therefore at risk for liver damage must not take metformin. Many impotent diabetic men also have lower than normal levels of the sex hormone testosterone in their blood. Alcohol reduces blood levels of testosterone and may thereby further exacerbate the existing hormonal deficit.

But often, the hard questions are the ones we most need answers to. Below is an exhaustive list of questions you might be thinking about, but may or may not have asked a healthcare professional. If your question isn’t here, we’re happy to help – send it along, and we’ll get it answered. Check out our FAQ below, which includes many of the common questions young adults have regarding drinking, and make sure to check out our partners at Drinking with Diabetes for additional information. Matt Gonzales is a writer and researcher for He graduated with a degree in journalism from East Carolina University and began his professional writing career in 2011.

Speak with your physician before making any changes to your therapy. Knowing the alcohol-related diseases and disorders can prevent you from experiencing severe physical complications. Treatment for addiction takes many forms and depends on the needs of the individual. In accordance with the American Society of Addiction Medicine, we offer information on outcome-oriented treatment that adheres to an established continuum of care. In this section, you will find information and resources related to evidence-based treatment models, counseling and therapy and payment and insurance options. However, certain food groups also have benefits when it comes to helping with the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms and detoxification. Blood sugar is the concentration of sugar in the blood at one time.

  • It’s important to consider medical conditions that may be making them act this way.
  • He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs.
  • This can make it hard for people to get enough oxygen and can lead to problems like frostbite.
  • Diabetes can be reversed if the person manages their blood sugar levels.
  • If you have diabetes, you may find yourself unfairly charged with DUI as a result of either hypoglycemia or ketosis–or both.
  • Certain types of alcoholic beverages may be more detrimental for people with diabetes, including heavy craft beers due to the number of carbs and sugar that are in alcohol.

Too much drinking, on the other hand , can lead to higher blood sugar and A1C. If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol addiction and you have been putting off getting help, please contact New Directions for Women today. High-protein/low-carb diets (such as the “Atkins” or “Paleo” diet) can also cause the body to produce ketones. Health’s content is for informational and educational purposes only. Our website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Once you have had your drink, switch to a non-alcoholic drink, such as sparkling water, for the rest of the evening. The editors at Health are a dedicated team of experienced health editors, writers, and other media professionals who strive to bring trustworthy and responsible health and medical content to their readers.

Moderate drinking can be safe, but excessive alcohol use can exacerbate diabetes symptoms, damage the liver and create severe health problems. However, eating before drinking and periodically monitoring glucose levels can reduce the effects of alcohol on diabetes. Alcohol breaks down in the liver, where the body’s blood sugar is regulated. For people with diabetes, drinking can decrease blood sugar levels and block the production of glucose. Instead of regulating glucose during drinking sessions, the liver is working to eliminate alcohol from the body.

  • As mentioned earlier in this article, poor food intake can lead to depleted glycogen levels.
  • In those patients, the immune system attacks certain cells of the pancreas, called beta cells.
  • Everyone’s specific situation is different, and no one should make an important medical decision without first speaking with their doctor.
  • While the liver is dealing with the alcohol, it can’t convert stored glycogen into the glucose needed to keep blood sugar levels normal.
  • Some people treated with chlorpropamide experience an unpleasant, disulfiram-like reaction5 after drinking alcohol.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Selecciona tu Moneda
USD United States (US) dollar