Type 2 Diabetes and Alcohol – Can I Still Drink?

After a long week I like to come home and sit on the couch with a glass of wine. Ok, let’s be real – I could go for a glass of wine any day of the week. Cocktails

When I was in college I definitely went through my binge drinking stage. I’m sure most of you can relate.

Drinking alcohol was more of an event and I didn’t really enjoy what I was drinking – just wanted to get the ‘buzzed’ feeling. I like to blame alcohol and 24 hour Mexican food on my 30 lb weight gain when I younger. Anyways, I digress…

Now that I’m older and more mature (insert giggle) I really have to enjoy the taste of what I’m drinking. I love wine. Red or white. I’ve learned to pair wine with certain foods and enjoy it in a different way. However, I choose wisely because I know alcohol is calories and excess calories lead to weight gain which, naturally, increases your blood sugar.

According to the Mediterranean Diet, a glass of red wine with dinner is perfectly acceptable and may even provide heart healthy benefits. For people with Type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance,  a glass of red wine or other alcoholic beverage is not completely off limits.


I have type 2 diabetes, can I still drink alcohol?

If you have diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure you should be particularly cautious when it comes to drinking alcohol because alcohol can interact with some medications that you are taking.
The risks and benefits of alcohol use among people with diabetes have been controversial. While studies suggest possible benefits to moderate alcohol use, both with diabetes and without it, it’s questionable whether healthcare providers should tell their patients to drink it.

Personally, I tell my patients “If you do drink, drink in moderation and if you don’t drink – don’t start!” Moderation is considered 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women. One alcoholic beverage is as follows: 12oz beer, 5oz wine, 1.5oz liquor.

As I mentioned before, alcohol = calories. Choose wisely.

12 oz Coors light = 102 calories (5 grams of carb)

5 oz wine = 121 calories (average 4 grams of carbs for red and white wine)

1.5 oz vodka = 96 calories (0 grams of carb)

4 oz cosmopolitan = 215 calories (13 grams of carb)

8 oz margarita = 375 calories (average 18 grams carb)

8 oz white rum and diet coke = 105 calories (0 grams carb)

It’s important to note that while I would not have any major concerns if you wanted to add a glass of wine or beer with dinner, wine itself can impact people’s blood sugar. Drinking alcohol along with food is a better idea than drinking alcohol alone.

Bottom line, what you need to know:

1. Make sure to always check your blood sugars before and after meals to see if alcohol is having any immediate impact on your glycemic control.

2. never drink alcohol on an empty stomach.

3. Alcohol can cause blood sugars to rise or fall, depending on how much you drink. Some diabetes pills (including sulfonylureas and meglitinides) also lower blood glucose levels by forcing the pancreas to make more insulin. If you are taking these medications please consult with your doctor OR refrain from drinking alcohol.

Author: Katie

Hi! I'm Katie, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. This website it dedicated to those looking to heal their bodies from the inside out - and it all starts with balancing out your blood sugar. Let's heal disease together one plate at a time.

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