Tips to Sip By If You Have Diabetes

Preliminary research reporting that alcohol may worsen glucose tolerance in people with diabetes, and that people with diabetes who drink have a higher risk for eye and nerve damage, may lead many people with diabetes to question whether alcohol is off limits. Well, according to the latest recommendations from the American Diabetes Association (ADA), it doesn't have to be. The ADA's recommendations are based on research which has found that people with diabetes may safely consume alcohol in moderation, which they define as two drinks per day for men, and one drink per day for women. And, if you do plan to drink alcohol, you should understand what one drink looks like. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines one drink as equivalent to 12 ounces of beer, 8 ounces of malt liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor. Stick to the serving size and number of serving recommendations to ensure you follow the ADA's guidelines. In addition, the ADA outlines some helpful tips to make drinking as safe as possible:

  • Eat before imbibing. Don’t drink on an empty stomach.
  • ID yourself. Wear your ID bracelet that notes you have diabetes.
  • Use the right mixer. Choose calorie-free drink mixers like club soda or water.
  • Take your time. Drink your beverage slowly to make it last through the night.

Alcohol consumption does have numerous downsides, including risk of addiction and increased risk of several types of cancer. However, if you currently drink moderately (one drink per day for women, two drinks per day for men), it's probably safe to continue to do so. If you don't drink, and you’re considering drinking, ask your doctor first: he or she can help you decide what’s best for you and will take into account your personal medical history, how well-controlled your diabetes is, and other health issues.

Source: American Diabetes Association

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