Diabetes

Diabetics should be careful with alcohol

People with diabetes must be extremely careful with alcohol. Alcohol consumption can cause blood sugar to rise or fall depending on how much you drink and other factors. For some diabetics, excessive consumption can cause blood sugar to drop dangerously low.

The American Diabetes Association suggests that light-to-moderate alcohol consumption (not more than two drinks per day for men and not more than one drink per day for women) is acceptable for some diabetics – providing their doctor agrees. It recommends that diabetics behave cautiously by checking their blood glucose before having an alcohol drink and by eating, preferably carbohydrates, beforehand.

Some diabetics should not drink at all because alcohol can make their condition worse. For example, diabetics with high levels of triglycerides (a certain type of fat in the blood) shouldn't drink alcohol because it can affect the liver's ability to metabolise glucose, which in turn may increase blood triglyceride levels.

Drinking alcohol may prevent diabetes medication from working properly which may contribute to dangerously unstable blood sugar levels.

Alcohol and the onset of diabetes

Some studies have reported that light-to-moderate alcohol consumption can have a mild protective effect against the development of type 2 diabetes for both men and women. On the other hand, other studies suggest that, for some people with type 2 diabetes, even moderate alcohol intake may induce low blood sugar levels.

Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is a health condition that's connected with diabetes. Prolonged, heavy alcohol use can contribute to pancreatitis which, in turn, can lead to diabetes.