Diabetes & Alcohol? Here's what you need to know

People suffering from diabetes should never have to feel left out when it comes to having a good time. One thing that has forever gone hand in hand with social gatherings and festivities is alcohol. Everyone has their own relationship with it, but for diabetics, it is especially important to understand what alcohol intake involves

Key Points:

  • Beers and Carbo-loaded Cocktails are Bad-for-you. Much of the adult beverages we consume are filled with harmful carbs and calories all of which pose a serious threat to one’s health.
  • Know your limit! Getting drunk is dangerous, excessive drinking is easy to do and difficult to recover from, whether you have a pre-existing condition or not. Essentially what alcohol does is damage the functionality of most of your organs. For instance, cirrhosis can occur in the liver, which causes intense cell damage and scarring.
  • Not all booze is bad! New studies find that certain alcohols can help maintain sugar levels at healthy levels. Unlike carb heavy beers or sugar filled cocktails red wine and gin have been found to improve the conditions of diabetes. Studies coming out of Europe and the Middle East are showing that alcohol can be used to help produce healthy amounts of insulin in the body.

What can I drink and how much of it?

Many sources offer different systems but the most simple one is to just be aware of what types of alcohol have which effects. Just remember that any considerable amount of alcohol is a bad idea, these recommendations are to be kept in great moderation and with great consideration.

Diabetes beer


Due to the large amounts of carbs, beer it is often considered even more dangerous than hard liquor for a diabetic. Even in a light beer one is consuming at the very least 5-10 g of carbs per glass, which is a considerable amount for someone trying to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Thus, most experts recommend that one beer a day is plenty for a diabetic, while two is very much the daily limit. That being said with a light enough beer (yes, we know they aren’t as delicious :)), one can have 2-3 along with a healthy snack, and pose to much a risk to themselves.

Diabetes Wine


Depending on the sugar content, many wines can actually have positive effects on the progress of one’s condition. Dry wines have shown to help maintain insulin production. Nevertheless, many wines include quite a bit of sugar and thus can pose just as great a threat as beer or cocktails. Wine has, in almost all cases, a degree more alcohol than beer, putting you at risk there as well. With wine limit yourself to only the driest whites and reds, with two glasses being your hard limit.

Hard Liquor and Cocktails Diabetes

Hard Liquor and Cocktails

Spirits contain a great deal more alcohol on average than any wine or beer. As mentioned before, significant alcohol consumption can pose a huge threat to somebody with an illness. Nevertheless, there is a positive to sticking to liquor, due to the process of distillation most strong alcohol has no sugar in it. This is not to say that the effects of alcohol alone aren’t just as dangerous, but when consuming moderate amounts gin and some tonic water is a whole lot better than a can of beer. What’s important here are two things, moderation, and the right mixer. Always keep the actual amount of hard liquor extremely low, that way you can drink more for longer, and not have to worry about it affecting your health. Second, find a mixer that is diabetes-friendly, seltzer, tomato juice, or even just ice cold water, don’t go for a soda or sugary juices when looking for a tasty cocktail combination.

Healthy Daily Drinking Recommendations:

Beers: 1 Pint, 1-2 Cans/Bottle (possibly more if it's a light beer)
Wine: 1-2 Glasses of any dry white or red
Liquor: 1-2 Cocktails, (with a healthy mixer and large mixer to alcohol ratio)

Remember, Diabetes is a condition that can be managed!
Do not let the condition define you or what you do.
Just because you should watch your glucose levels doesn’t mean you should stop enjoying the simple things in life!

Have some fun, but be responsible!
Cheers from the CuraLife Team!