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Alcoholic Beverage Safe for Diabetic?

Posted on July 22, 2010 | No Comments

It all depends on your answers to these three basic questions as posted by the American Diabetes Association (ADA):

1. Is my diabetes under control?
Your doctor usually sets a target glucose level for you to maintain, and asks you to make a diary of your blood glucose readings. Based on your blood glucose diary and blood chemistry, your doctor will say if your diabetes is under control or not.

2. Does my doctor or health care provider agree that I am free from health problems that alcohol can make worse — for example, diabetic nerve damage or high blood pressure?
Alcohol intake may increase blood pressure to a harmful level, which is why you need to be cleared from such conditions by your doctor or health care provider.

3. Do I know how alcohol can affect my diabetes and me?
You might be interested to know how alcohol may affect you and your diabetes. Below are some important information on how alcohol affects you and your blood sugar:

• Alcohol has a glucose lowering effect that may result in hypoglycemia (defined as blood glucose level below 70 mg/dL.), especially if alcohol is taken on an empty stomach.
• Alcohol produces empty calories. If you are following a calculated diet regimen, ask your dietitian to provide for calories from alcohol in the computation of your total caloric requirement. This will guide you so that you don’t exceed your caloric intake and gain weight.
• When calories from alcohol aren’t used for immediate energy, they are changed to fat and stored as triglycerides. High alcohol intake may increase blood triglycerides.
• Exercise should be done with caution after alcoholic drink intake to avoid hypoglycemia.
• If you are overweight, alcohol will provide unwanted calories.
• Alcohol gives a feeling of fullness and may rob you of more essential nutrients from food.
• Most alcoholic drinks, mainly mixed drinks, contain sugar.

If your answers to the above questions are all yes, then, according to the ADA, it’s “OK” to have an occasional drink. ADA defines occasional drink as “no more than two drinks a day if you are a man, and no more than one drink a day if you are a woman.” The same recommendation holds for people without diabetes. Mayo Clinic defines a drink as 12 ounces of beer, or five ounces of wine, or one ounce of 100-proof whiskey.

If you really want to have a drink or two a day, it is important that you keep your diabetes under control.

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