Can Diabetics Drink Alcohol? Know The Facts

Wondering if it’s safe for diabetic people to drink alcohol. If you have diabetes and want to drink alcohol, you must know about all the cons and alcohol safety limits.

Can diabetics drink alcohol? It is a tricky subject. For some people, whether they have type 1 or type 2 diabetes drinking alcohol is a part of their everyday life. And diabetes shouldn’t get in the way unless you have been advised based on your medical condition.

But once you have diabetes, it’s a little complicated. You must want to know if it is ok to drink alcohol. And what’s the safe limit? Yes, you can still have alcohol, but you must understand how it affects your body and how to control its effects. Diabetes can affect your weight as it has an excessive amount of calories in it.

Continue reading to know all the facts.

Is It Safe To Drink Alcohol?

Before drinking alcohol, consult your doctor to ensure it doesn’t interfere with your medications or your current medical condition. Sometimes drinking alcohol can have a severe low blood sugar reaction, especially when taking diabetes medications. Alcohol can adversely react with the pills that aid the pancreas in releasing insulin.

Alcohol can also affect other related medical conditions like diabetic eye diseases, nerve damage, and high blood triglycerides. Get guidelines from your medical providers.

What Are The Risks Of Alcohol With Diabetes?

What Are The Risks Of Alcohol With Diabetes?

Hypoglycemia and low blood sugar levels are the main risks of drinking alcohol, especially if you have diabetes. Let’s dig into its details:

To balance your blood glucose levels, the liver releases, and stores glucose. It also filters toxins like drugs and alcohol from your body. When you have diabetes and take alcohol, your liver starts filtering the toxins instead of balancing the blood sugar levels. This situation results in hypoglycemia, which can result in a medical emergency if it isn’t treated.

People who are on diabetes medications are at greater risk of hypoglycemia. It is because diabetes medications and insulin work to lower the blood sugar level. Besides, the hypoglycemia symptoms are similar to being drunk, which cans worse the condition of a diabetic patient.

That means when a diabetic patient drinks, people may assume he is drunk, but he is actually suffering from hypoglycemia. It makes people neglect the medical help they urgently require to treat hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia symptoms include:

  • Shakiness
  • Hunger
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Drowsiness
  • Sweating
  • Weakness
  • Tingling
  • Dizziness

As you can see, all these symptoms are very similar to being drunk. Unfortunately, alcohol intoxication improves with time, but the hypoglycemia symptoms worsen.

Does Alcohol Result In Diabetes?

Different factors increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, including history, age, and ethnic background. If you are overweight, you are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Excess alcohol is also related to the increased risk of diabetes. But the link between alcohol and diabetes is not that simple. It’s better to stay within limits and follow the government guidelines to be on the safe side.

Alcohol also has many calories that can lead to weight gain and increase type 2 diabetes risks.

Can I Drink Alcohol While I Am On Diabetes Medication Or Insulin?

Usually, it’s safe to have a small amount of alcohol if it’s a low-sugar drink, as you must be conscious of your blood sugar levels, as in that case, you are aware of hypoglycemia. Try not to exceed the safe level of alcohol for diabetes patients.

If you are on diabetes medicines or insulin, combining alcohol can have adverse effects; as I mentioned in detail, your liver starts prioritizing the breakdown of toxins and doesn’t care for your blood glucose levels.

If you take:

  • Insulin and alcohol can increase the risk for hypoglycemia.
  • Metformin and alcohol together can put at a high risk of acidosis and hypoglycemia. It is an adverse effect of combining them. Besides, the more than-normal amount of lactic acid causes abdominal pain, muscle cramps, diarrhea, and other symptoms.

Be conscious of your waistline and heart health.

Alcohol is low in nutrients yet high in calories; that is why it is famous as empty calories. When your liver starts working extra hard to remove the toxins and turn the alcohol to fat, drinking alcohol can make you gain weight.

At 7 calories in grams, alcohol is as calorie dense as fat, which is about 9 calories per gram. That’s right, and the calorie-dense alcohol is behind your beer belly. Alcohol can also elevate glycerides and blood fat levels, which, resulting heart diseases.

Are There Any Better Alcoholic Drinks?

To accomplish your health goals, like maintaining blood sugar levels, heart health, and healthy body weight, take note of these tips.

  • Limit your alcohol use if you are planning weight loss. Consider completely getting rid of alcohol to avoid empty calories.
  • Instead of using the regular beer, select the light one.
  • Avoid the carbohydrates and calorie-rich mixers like tonic water, juices, and sodas. Go for the diet tonic water, diet juices, and diet sodas.
  • Select the dry wines and avoid the sweet, sparkling, and sweet wines before purchasing; view the carbohydrate and calorie count on them.

How Much Alcohol Can I Drink?

If you want to have alcohol, then try to be in moderation. Diabetic women should not take more than one serving in a day. For men, it shouldn’t exceed two servings.

One serving size of alcohol equals:

  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 12 ounces beer
  • 1 ½ ounces of distilled spirits like gin, rum, or whiskey

Five Interesting Facts About Diabetes And Alcohol

People should be more careful when discussing drinking alcohol with diabetes as it can complicate the situation. Firstly alcohol disrupts the liver’s functioning in regulating blood sugar levels. Secondly, alcohol can react with the medicines that diabetic people use to control their blood sugar levels.

If you rarely drink alcohol, let your healthcare provider know so he can prescribe the ideal medications for you. Here are five interesting facts about; can diabetics drink alcohol:

  1. Alcohol Interacts With Medications:

Depending upon the amount of alcohol you take can raise and fall your blood glucose level. Some diabetic medications like meglitinides and sulfonylureas can lower your blood glucose level by increasing the pancreas’s insulin production. When the blood sugar level is reduced by the medicines and alcohol simultaneously, it can result in “Insulin shock” or “hypoglycemia,” a medical emergency.

  1. Never Take Alcohol On An Empty Stomach:

Our food slows down the rate of alcohol absorption in our blood. Make sure to have your meal or carbohydrate-rich snacks before drinking alcohol.

  1. Hypoglycemia:

Alcohol can make your blood glucose fall within a few minutes of drinking or up to twelve hours. After drinking alcohol, please keep track of your glucose level to ensure it’s accurate. If your sugar level falls, eat a snack to bring it down.

  1. Save Your Life by Slow Drinking:

Drinking more than recommended can make you sleepy, dizzy, and unsettled; these are the same symptoms as hypoglycemia. Make sure to have someone around who is aware of your diabetes or have a bracelet that alerts other about your diabetes. So once you start getting these symptoms, they know it can be due to hypoglycemia. They can give you food or glucose tablets as emergency help.

  1. Alcohol Stops The Liver From Doing Its Job:

The primary purpose of our liver is to store the glycogen that is the stored glucose form. It provides you with energy in the time you haven’t eaten. Once you drink alcohol, your liver removes it from the blood instead of regulating blood sugar levels.

That’s the leading cause you should avoid alcohol if you already face low blood sugar.

Alcohol, Fertility, And Pregnancy

Alcohol consumption can affect fertility in both men and women. So it’s vital to cut back if you are trying to get pregnant. Besides, it’s safest not to drink alcohol for pregnant ladies. Again, alcohol intake during the first trimester increases the miscarriage chances.

Excessive drinking during pregnancy is a terrible idea. The more you drink, the greater the risk will be for your baby. Some hazards include fetal alcohol syndrome, premature birth, and stillbirth.

Alcohol And Emotions

Some people like drinking alcohol because it helps them deal with stress and anxiety. It makes some people relaxed when they are feeling low. But is it a healthy way to manage your feelings? Not!

If you are stressed, get active help. Start enjoying a hobby or reading books, and have long baths; it all helps. You can talk with a healthcare provider to get advanced support and suggestion. Or you may prefer talking to a family member or your best friend. There is always someone ready to listen to you anytime. Just adopt any healthy option instead of alcohol.

How To Be Safe While Drinking With Diabetes?

In addition to what you are drinking, it also matters how you are drinking. Here are some tips that help avoid the possible dangers of drinking with diabetes.

  • Stay hydrated while drinking.
  • To lower the hypoglycemia chances, eat before having a drink.
  • Avoid the high-carb-alcoholic drinks.
  • Keep track of your alcohol after drinking.
  • If you are hypoglycemic and notice a blood sugar level below 70mg/dl, then take the necessary steps to maintain it.
  • You must wear conservative credentials, so someone can recognize them and help you in any emergency.
  • Have a designated driver.


Can diabetics drink alcohol? Yes, moderate drinking can be safe, but heavy drinking should be strictly avoided. Alcohol can disturb blood sugar control and can also react with diabetes medications that can, making the condition worse.

After interacting with diabetic medications, alcohol increases the hypoglycemia risks. Before drinking alcohol, consult your healthcare expert so that it’s safe for you to do so.


  • Which alcohol is safe for me during diabetes?

The best alcohol for diabetic people is the one with low carbs and sugar content. That category includes white and red wines, light beers, low-carb cocktails, and distilled spirits. It may be safe for you if you restrict yourself from sugary syrups and juices.

  • Can diabetics drink alcohol?

Yes, a person with diabetes can drink alcohol as long as he takes it moderately. But for people with trouble with blood glucose management, it’s better to avoid it altogether.

  • Does alcohol affect your blood sugar levels?

It is usually observed in drinkers as drinking too much alcohol can reduce the insulin working ability, causing a sudden increase in blood glucose levels. Alcohol disturbs the blood sugar level every time it’s consumed. That means occasional drinkers will also have to face the negative impact.

  • Which alcohol is low in sugar?

If you want the one with low sugar, then go for the hard spirits. The hard shades include whiskey, vodka, gin, and rum. Watch out for the mixer. Wine is also a better option; go for the dry white or red. Beer has high calories, but it has low sugar in it.

  • Is there any sugar-free alcohol?

Purest alcohol forms like gin, tequila, vodka, whiskey, and rum are all sugar-free. At the same time, light beer and wines like Budvar and Sapporo have minimal carb content.

  • Is alcohol safe for diabetics?

Moderate alcohol consumption with no more than 2 or 1 drink per day is safe for diabetic people. If you are hypoglycemic, then avoid drinking it on an empty stomach. Check your blood glucose level for at least 24 hours to see if you have any drastic change in glucose levels.


Rabia Sehar
Rabia Sehar

Hi! I’m Rabia Sehar, a motivated, passionate and sophisticated writer aspiring to make my dreams come true. Writing about health, wellness, mental health, and lifestyle is something I specialize in and am passionate about. I love traveling, reading, composing, and entertaining. As a health advocate, I am passionate about creating content that educates people on leading a healthy life. Health is the actual wealth so try your best to keep it.