Can Alcohol and Type 2 Diabetes Mix?

We all know alcohol can have some pretty positive effects. It can potentially protect against heart disease. It can make dinner with your in-laws more bearable. It’s a good way to unwind.

Of course, it can also lower your inhibitions, cause you to eat more (and usually not more celery sticks!), and, depending on the type of drink, raise your blood sugar. Margaritas, I’m looking at you.

Can alcohol help with blood glucose control?

However, one research study showed it’s possible that wine, or perhaps alcohol in general, can actually lower blood sugar.1

Before you get super excited and go buy a case of something bubbly, let’s talk about the details.

224 people who had well-controlled type 2 diabetes were put on the Mediterranean diet for two years. One group of people was assigned to drink mineral water, one group was assigned to drink one glass of white wine per day, and one was assigned to one glass of red wine per day.

In addition to the regular old benefits of the diet, which all groups enjoyed, the red wine drinking group saw lowered bad cholesterol, and both wine-drinking groups saw moderate improvements in their blood sugar levels.

There’s one caveat, though. Some people are fast metabolizers and some of us are slow, it’s determined by genetics, and only those who are slow metabolizers saw the blood sugar benefit.

In addition, it’s good to remember that these improvements were only moderate, however, if you miss a glass of wine with dinner, it may be safe, or even beneficial, to add it back in.

Things to know if you do decide to drink alcohol

Talking to your doctor about changes in your lifestyle, especially if you haven’t been drinking at all, is very important. Make sure that none of your medications will be impacted by alcohol, and double check that trying this out fits with your treatment plan.

Limit yourself to one serving of alcohol, which is 12 oz of beer, 5 oz of wine, or 1 oz of liquor, per day. If you’re a guy, you can probably get away with two servings, but any more than that is bad for your health.

Don’t drink too close to bedtime, as it will completely mess with your rest. This has nothing to do with whether or not you have type 2 diabetes, it’s just something to be aware of. Alcohol may help you fall asleep faster, but it messes up the second half of your night’s sleep and you’ll end up feeling groggy and awful, which makes it much harder to stick to plans of getting enough exercise or skipping dessert! Aim to have a glass of wine with dinner, at least 3 or 4 hours before bed.

If you have a history of struggles with alcohol, don’t start drinking because of potential blood sugar benefits, it’s just not worth it.

Check in regularly with your doctor to make sure things are going well with your blood sugar.


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