Alcohol can also affect other medical conditions you may have, like diabetic nerve damage, diabetic eye disease, and high blood triglycerides. For example, studies have shown that for people who have type 2 diabetes, occasionally drinking alcohol may slightly reduce glucose levels. This means drinking can make it even harder for people with type 2 diabetes—which is defined by elevated glucose levels—to manage their blood sugar. Type 2 diabetes mellitus affects over 15 million Americans and leads to excess risk of cardiovascular diseases and other morbidities (1–3).
What are the first signs of being diabetic?
- Urinate (pee) a lot, often at night.
- Are very thirsty.
- Lose weight without trying.
- Are very hungry.
- Have blurry vision.
- Have numb or tingling hands or feet.
- Feel very tired.
- Have very dry skin.
While a glass of wine with dinner probably isn’t a big deal, a mojito on an empty stomach at happy hour is. If you never or rarely drink alcohol, you’re not alone—in fact, people with diabetes drink about half as much as other adults. Maybe their doctors cautioned them that drinking and diabetes don’t mix. Perhaps some have health conditions that are incompatible with alcohol.
Consumption of specific alcoholic beverages and the risk of type 2 diabetes
A study limitation is that most of those participating were self-reported white adults and of European descent. It is unknown whether the findings can be generalized to other populations. A healthy range is between 80 mg/dL and 130 mg/dL before bed. If yours is low, follow your physician’s recommendations, such as consuming some carbs to counteract the drop.
However, as we went over earlier, the effects of alcohol are often similar to the effects of low blood sugar, making it difficult for the person to realize their blood sugar levels are low. As a result, they may keep drinking and increase their risk of blacking out. Exercise can also increase the risk of hypoglycemia when coupled with other factors, such as drinking alcohol.
Alcohol and Blood Sugar: How Does Alcohol Affect Blood Sugar?
But if you have diabetes, your blood sugar levels are above normal and would need to be managed. Whenever it is in your body, alcohol is affecting your blood sugar. Upon consuming alcohol, you will experience an initial increase in blood sugar.
If you’re choosing cocktails that are mixed with juice, mixers, or sugary sodas, this can raise your blood sugar levels, especially if you overdo it. In a 2020 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers 5 Tips to Consider When Choosing a Sober Living House found that while light drinking had no effect on blood pressure, moderate and heavy drinking did. If you have type 2 diabetes, knowing the risks and benefits of drinking alcohol can help you make informed decisions.