The effects of alcohol consumption when you are Diabetic

Learn about the effects of different types of alcohol on Diabetes, and guidelines on alcohol consumption for Diabetic people.

The 9 effects of alcohol and 7 helpful guidelines for you.

Drinking alcohol when you are Diabetic will cause your blood sugar to rise.

Plus, alcohol contains a lot of calories. If you drink, do it occasionally and only when your Diabetes and blood sugar level are well-controlled. If you are following a calorie-controlled meal plan, one drink of alcohol should be counted as two fat exchanges.

It is a good idea to check with your doctor to see if drinking alcohol is safe for you.


How alcohol can affect Diabetic people:

  1. While moderate amounts of alcohol can cause your blood sugar level to rise, excess alcohol can actually decrease your blood sugar level – sometimes causing it to drop into dangerous levels.
  2. Beer and sweet wine contain carbohydrates and may raise blood sugar.
  3. Alcohol stimulates your appetite, which can cause you to overeat and may affect your blood sugar control.
  4. Alcohol may also affect your judgment or willpower, causing you to make poor food choices.
  5. Alcohol can interfere with the positive effects of oral Diabetes medicines or insulin.
  6. Alcohol may increase triglyceride levels.
  7. Alcohol may increase blood pressure.
  8. Alcohol can cause flushing, nausea, increased heart rate, and slurred speech.
  9. These may be confused with or mask the symptoms of low blood sugar.

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Alcohol consumption guidelines for Diabetics:

  • Do not drink more than two drinks of alcohol in a one-day period if you are a man, or one drink if you are a woman. (Example: one alcoholic drink = 150ml of wine, 44ml “shot” of liquor or 340ml beer).
  • Drink alcohol only with food.
  • Drink slowly.
  • Avoid “sugary” mixed drinks, sweet wines, or cordials.
  • Mix liquor with water, club soda, or diet soft drinks.
  • Always wear a medical alert piece of jewellery that states you are Diabetic..
  • Always control blood sugar levels to prevent Diabetic health complications.

Whatever the occasion you may be planning for, remember to keep the necessary medication you may need to supplement and help control sugar levels, appetite and cravings, close at hand.

We all have questions.

Below are some of the answers to the most common questions that you need to know.

Which is worse – Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes?

“Worse” is a harsh comparison. The difference between these two types of Diabetes is that Type 1 requires insulin, and it never goes away. Type 2 requires consistent effort and can be managed over your lifetime.

What is the normal HbA1C level?

It is generally accepted that you should maintain HbA1C below 8%. The following guidelines are suggested by the South African Diabetes Association:


  • 4 – 6% Non-Diabetic range. 
  • < 7% Well-controlled Diabetic 7% – 8% Acceptable Diabetic control > 8% 
  • Poor Diabetic control needs attention.

What is the main cause of Diabetes?

Diabetes (Type 1) is usually a predisposed or genetically inherited condition. Diabetes (Type 2) is caused by lifestyle choices. Gestational Diabetes occurs in pregnant mothers.

What are the first signs of Diabetes?

  • Excessive thirst over a prolonged period.
  • Increased frequency in the need to urinate.
  • Significant weight loss or gain.
  • You find yourself fatigued, tired, and irritable, on a regular basis.
  • Open or ruptured wounds take a long time to heal.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Tingling sensations in your hands and feet.

Can you get life insurance if you have Diabetes?

Yes. AllLife can help you get up to R10million life insurance, when you are a Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetic.

Can I test myself for Diabetes?

Although you can easily test your own blood glucose levels at any time, only your doctor, nurse, or clinic team can confirm your diagnosis as Diabetic. A series of specific tests are required for diagnosis.

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