The Truth about Alcohol Consumption and Diabetes

Information on alcohol consumption and diabetes(diabetes mellitus) would be of great help for those who are diabetes-free, pre-diabetics and diabetics. Diabetics must be extra careful with alcohol consumption as the combination of their health condition with alcohol can be quite tricky.


If a diabetic does not take alcohol at all, it is best to keep off it permanently, after all none of the recommended diabetes menu contain alcohol consumption anyway. But if your diabetes is properly controlled and pleasure is found in alcohol consumption, then this article would be of tremendous help. We will look into these points:

  1. Negative and positive impacts of alcohol
  2. Types of drinks to take
  3. Consumption limit and when to drink

Impacts of Alcohol (Diabetes alcohol side effects)


Effect on pancreas and liver

Excessive consumption of alcohol, popularly known as  alcohol abuse, can negatively impact pancreas, the hormone responsible for the secretion of insulin(1, 2) in the body, leading to the incidence of diabetes. The liver is also retarded from its basic work of transport of sugar to the bloodstream.

Effect on diabetic neuropathy(nerve damage)


One of the bad effects of alcohol abuse is the worsening of nerve damage to the diabetic who cannot properly control his/her diabetes. Indeed experts strongly advise these group of diabetics with nerve damage to completely keep off alcohol use.

Effect on blood pressure


Excessive drinking leads to high blood pressure, which on its own is one of the causes of diabetes. It does makes sense that diabetics who are unable to control their drinking habit are on the way to worsen their diabetic conditions.

Effect on proper diabetes management

Any diabetic in the uncontrolled habit of alcohol abuse will sooner or later lose his/her memory, known as alcohol blackout. It follows that his/her proper management of the disease – for example the timely use of medical prescriptions – would suffer.

Alcohol Consumption Limits and When to take

The whole thing about alcohol consumption and diabetes is drinking in moderation. Fortunately there are proven recommendations about what to set as goals for diabetics who choose to enjoy drinking. According to Mayo Clinic, one drink a day should be safe for all women regardless of their age and for men older than 65 years. For men up to and below the age of 65, a maximum of two drinks a day is recommended.

Several studies have shown that although drinking on an empty stomach or just after an exercise without food may not raise blood sugar, there is a high probability that the blood sugar can drop below normal level. It is for this reason the American Diabetes Association advises that alcohol intake should not be on an empty stomach.

What kind of drink to take?


Studies on the safest and most protective types of alcohol point only to low-calorie light liquor like beers and wine. This is also recommended by the American Diabetes Association. On the other hand, hard liquor like spirits are not recommended as they produce no beneficial effects to diabetics. One study even showed that they pose a threat of diabetes affliction to women.

Concluding, it is clear that diabetics who can properly control their medical condition can safely drink if they choose to, but in moderation. They cannot engage in alcohol abuse and should avoid hard liquor.