Celebrating the New Year: What you should know about alcohol and diabetes

But for those with diabetes, the decision to toast the New Year with a glass of champagne should not be made without planning and consideration.

Having diabetes doesn’t make alcohol off limits. However, just as with food, diabetes can affect blood-glucose levels and should be monitored.

If you’re planning to bring in 2011 by raising a glass containing alcohol to your lips, adhere to our tips for imbibing while maintaining your diabetes regimen.

  • Set a limit and adhere to it. Everyone, but especially those with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, should consume no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks daily for men.  If you struggle with weight management, keep in mind that restricting your alcohol intake also reduces your caloric intake, helping you stay on top of weight and diabetes management.
  • Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Those of you taking insulin to control your diabetes are at a higher risk for low-glucose levels when alcohol enters your body.  It’s important to eat while drinking, particularly food containing carbs (such as crackers) to maintain even levels. You needn’t count the carbohydrates in most alcoholic beverages, but you should tally the carbs in those with a high carb count – for example, mixed drinks that include fruit juices or soda.
  • Always wear identification showing that you have diabetes. Signs and symptoms of low blood glucose and intoxication are similar! If you take insulin, don’ drink on an empty stomach and get hypoglycemic. Otherwise, your friends may think you’re just a little “tipsy.” Make sure your companions know you have diabetes and how to treat an insulin reaction.
  • If you have other health problems, be cautious. The combination of alcohol and the medication you’re taking (for diabetes or other conditions) may exacerbate other health problems. If you’re unsure whether alcohol consumption will cause health problems, talk with your doctor before raising a glass to toast 2011. That way, you’ll have many more New Years to ring in.

Have a Happy and Healthy New Year!


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