Diabetes and Drinking

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Diabetes and Drink Planning

During the spring and summer party season, people with diabetes may wonder if enjoying a few cocktails is safe.

According to the American Diabetes Association, most people with diabetes can have a moderate amount of alcohol, as research has shown that there can be some health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart disease.

Moderation is key for those with diabetes. Obviously your first step before taking a sip should be consulting with your physician to see if it is a good choice for you.

Here are some basic tips to keep in mind from the ADA:

  • Practice caution when drinking. If you have diabetes, be cognizant of when and how much you are drinking. Do not drink on an empty stomach or when your blood glucose is low. The food you eat gets digested and broken down into a sugar your body’s cells can use. This is glucose, one of the simplest forms of sugar. If you choose to drink, have it with food.
  • Do not count alcohol as a carbohydrate in your meal planning. Do not omit food from your regular meal plan and replace it with alcohol. If you use carbohydrate counting as a method of meal planning, do not count alcohol as a carbohydrate. Carbs, which get digested quickly and easily turn into glucose, are the foods that affect the blood glucose levels the most.
  • Keep it light. Try a light beer or wine spritzer made with wine, ice cubes and club soda. Avoid heavy craft beers, which can have twice the alcohol and calories as a light beer.
  • Take it slow. Sip your drink slowly to savor it and make it last. Have a zero-calorie option by your side to keep yourself hydrated. Water is best for keeping your body running at an optimal level.
  • Check your blood glucose. Alcohol can cause hypoglycemia shortly after drinking and for up to 24 hours after drinking. If you plan to drink alcohol, check your blood glucose before you drink, while you drink and for up to 24 hours afterwards. You also should check your blood glucose before you go to bed to make sure it is at a safe level.
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