Cheers to the Holiday Season!

Cheers to the Holiday Season!

Cheers to the holiday season! Many of us celebrate the holiday season with family gatherings, parties with friends, and special work events. Alcohol is commonly offered at such gatherings. While many people can safely consume alcohol when done so in moderation, make sure to discuss with your doctor to learn if should abstain from alcoholic beverages.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) advises the following: “If adults with diabetes choose to drink alcohol, daily intake should be limited to a moderate amount, one drink per day or less for woman and two drinks per day of less for men.”

One drink is defined as:

  • 12 ounces of regular beer
  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits

The ADA goes on to recommend the following people avoid alcohol:

  • History of alcohol abuse
  • Women during pregnancy
  • Those with any of the following medical conditions: liver disease, pancreatitis, advanced neuropathy or severely elevated triglycerides.

Moderate alcohol intake has received much attention for its health benefits, some of which include:

  • Reduced risk of coronary heart disease
  • Improved HDL (“good cholesterol”)
  • Increased insulin sensitivity

How many calories and carbs are in your beverage of choice?

  • 12 ounces of regular beer: 153 calories, 13 g carb
  • 5 ounces of red wine: 125 calories, 4 g carb
  • 1.5 ounce shot, 80-proof distilled spirits: 97 calories, 0 g carb

Something important to keep in mind:

While 80-proof distilled spirits are carb free, such drinks are often mixed with carb containing beverages, some of the more common mixers include:

  • Tonic water (6 ounces): 62 calories, 16 g carb
  • Cola (6 ounces): 69 calories, 18 g carb
  • Orange Juice (6 ounces): 84 calories, 19 g carb
  • Cranberry Juice (6 ounces): 90 calories, 23 g carb

Consuming alcohol can lead to a serious low blood sugar if you take insulin or an oral diabetes medication that stimulates insulin production. *See below for a list of such medications. Drinking alcohol impairs the livers ability to release stored sugar into the blood stream (the body always needs some sugar in the blood stream). If you have not recently eaten a meal or snack that contained carbohydrates your body will need to rely on the liver to make and release sugar (glucose) into the blood stream. However, the liver is unable to effectively make sugar (glucose) while it is busy detoxifying alcohol. The combination of alcohol, no recent carb intake and either insulin or a medication that stimulates insulin release can result in a low blood sugar.

  • *Sulfonylurea:
    • glyburide, glipizide, glimepride, chlorpropamide, tolbutamide, tolazamide
  • *Meglitinides:
    • repaglinide, nateglinide
  • *Insulin

Tips to reduce your risk of having a low blood sugar:

  • Don’t consume alcohol if your blood sugar is low
  • Monitor your blood sugar more closely when drinking as intoxication can mimic symptoms of a low blood sugar
  • Avoid drinking on an emptying stomach

For those who choose not to drink or have been advised to avoid alcohol the following is a list of fun drink ideas that exclude the alcohol:

  • Sparkling water with lemon and lime slices: 0 calories, 0 g carb
  • Diet tonic water with 1 ounce cranberry juice: 15 calories, 4 g carb
  • Virgin blood Mary recipe:
    • 6 ounces tomato juice, 2 tablespoons diced cucumber, 0.5 teaspoon lemon juice, 0.5 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to taste: 34 calories, 8 g carb
  • Virgin pina colada recipe:
    • 1 tablespoon coconut cream, 7 ounces Sparkling Ice Coconut Pineapple favor (zero calories), crushed ice: 54 calories, 2 g carb

Remember if you choose to drink alcohol, do so in a responsible manner, to keep yourself and those around you safe.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Type2Diabetes.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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