Learn how to control diabetes by restricting your alcohol consumption.

Diabetes and Alcohol Consumption

You can drink alcohol if your blood sugar level is well controlled. Check with your doctor to see if it is okay for you to drink alcohol.

If you do drink, take the following precautions

  • Do not drink alcohol when your diabetes is poorly controlled
  • Avoid alcohol if you have high triglyceride levels, kidney, liver or heart problems
  • Do not skip or delay meals
  • Do not drink on an empty stomach
  • Drink slowly
  • Avoid sweet wines such as sherry and port

If you have diabetes and you drink alcohol, you are at risk of getting hypoglycaemia or low blood glucose​. This is especially if you drink on an empty stomach after taking your diabetes medicine or insulin. Besides, the effects of alcohol are similar to signs of low blood glucose or low blood sugar level. Therefore, low blood glucose may be mistaken for the effects of alcohol and be ignored.

It is important to let your friends and family members know that you are on diabetes treatment, and tell them that the effects of low blood glucose and alcohol may be similar.

How much alcohol can I take without adversely affecting blood sugar levels?

Do not drink more than one standard drink per day. Remember - all types of alcoholic beverages are high in calories. They may interfere with your meal plan and blood glucose control, especially when you are taking medicines or insulin for your diabetes.

What is a standard drink?

A standard drink contains 10g of alcohol. Examples are:

  • 330ml of regular beer (2/3 can)
  • 100ml of wine
  • 60ml of fortified wine (sweet wines like sherry, port)
  • 30ml of spirits or liqueurs (brandy, vodka, whisky etc.)

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