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Things You Need to Know About Drinking and Diabetes


Some avoid eating when drinking because they expect the alcohol to raise their blood sugar, but this is a common misconception as alcohol alone cannot raise your blood sugar. It’s often the sugars in mix drinks that create that unwanted spike.

Alcohol alone won't raise your blood sugar

Joanne Lewis, a dietician and Manager of Diabetes Research for the Canadian Diabetes Association explains, “a lot of people are under the misconception that it can raise your blood sugar, and so what they might do is they might have a drink and not eat, because they’re thinking, ‘ok, the alcohol is going to raise my sugar’.

“But if they’re taking insulin or certain oral medications, they can actually end up with a low blood sugar, because alcohol affects the liver that way. The liver gets busy detoxifying the alcohol to where it’s not producing the sugar it needs to produce to get into the blood to keep everything leveled.”

Go for beer, wine, or spirits not mixed drinks

Keep it simple, not sweet:
Go for dry wines (Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Malbec, and Pinot Grigio), beer or straight liquor.
Lewis says that many experts no longer count carbs from alcohol as they did carbs from food, “With a regular beer we don’t count the carbs in it. It (alcohol) neutralizes it, or balances out the carbs that are in the beer with the effect is has on the liver to lower the blood sugar.”

Do not ever binge drink

Avoiding ‘saving’ drinks up for an event

Limiting consumption of drinks to no more than 10 a week for women and between 12-15 for men is ideal.

Binge drinking should be avoided as a drop can happen from 12-24 hours.

Prepare for a low with a meal after a night of sipping

You can help remedy this by having a meal after a night of drinks. Setting an alarm when you fall asleep and waking up to check your blood sugar and have a snack can help you avoid a low, as well.


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