Most people with diabetes can have a small amount of alcohol, but there are some tips to follow to stay safe. People with diabetes should follow the same guidelines as those without diabetes if they choose to drink:
Drinking in Moderation (in Small Amounts)
- Women: up to 1 drink per day
- Men: up to 2 drinks per day
One drink is equal to:
- 12 oz. beer
- 5 oz. glass of wine
- 1 ½ oz. distilled spirits (vodka, whiskey, gin, etc.).
Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar) and Alcohol
Alcohol can cause hypoglycemia for up to 24 hours after drinking. If you are going to drink alcohol, check your blood sugar:
- Before you drink
- While you are drinking
- Before bed
- More often for up to 24 hours after drinking
Before bed, shoot for a blood sugar goal between 100 and 140 mg/dL. If your blood sugar is below 100, eat something with at least 15 grams of carbohydrates to raise it.
Tips to Keep in Mind
- If you choose to drink, do not drink on an empty stomach. This is very important for people on insulin and certain diabetes pills such as Sulfonylureas and Meglitinides (Prandin)
- Do not remove food from your regular meal plan and replace it with alcohol
- Do not count alcohol as a carb
- Wear an I.D. bracelet that notes you have diabetes so if you have low blood sugar, you can be helped quickly
- Drink plenty of zero-calorie drinks like water, diet soda or sugar-free iced tea
- Choose calorie-free drink mixers for mixed drinks. Some examples are: diet soda, club soda, diet tonic water, seltzer water or plain water
- Do not drive or plan to drive after you drink alcohol
- If you drink alcohol regularly, make sure your doctor knows this before he/she prescribes a diabetes pill.