Fitting Alcohol Into Your Meal Plan
The use of alcohol should be discussed with your physician and healthcare team. As a general guideline, for persons using insulin, two alcoholic beverages may be used in addition to their regular meal plan. No food should be omitted in exchange for an alcoholic drink. For persons who are not on insulin and are watching their weight, alcohol is best substituted for fat choices and in some cases extra bread/starch choices.
Some alcoholic beverages contain higher amounts of sugar and carbohydrate — these include sweet wines, sweet vermouth and wine coolers. Use these sparingly as they may increase your blood glucose levels too much. Additional guidelines for the use of alcohol are printed below.
Beverage Amount Calories Carbo- Equal to: hydrate (gms) ------------------------------------------------------------- Beer Regular beer 12 ounces 150 14 1 starch &
General Guidelines for the Use of Alcohol
Alcoholic beverages are a common part of our social lives. Each adult must decide whether or not to use alcohol. When making this decision, you should understand what the potential effects of alcohol are on your health. Although alcohol has little effect on blood glucose control, it may worsen other medical problems. Make sure you discuss the use of alcohol with your doctor.
Use alcohol only in moderation
With your doctor's approval, alcohol should be limited to two drinks a day. A "drink" is defined as a 12 ounce beer (preferably light beer), a 4 ounce glass or wine or a 2 ounce glass of dry sherry or 1.5 ounces of a distilled beverage, such as whiskey, rye, vodka or gin. Sip your drink slowly and make it last a long time.
Alcohol has calories
Even though your doctor may approve the use of alcohol, if you are trying to lose weight, you still may want to avoid it. Alcoholic beverages give you calories without any nutritional value. If you do drink, select some of the lower calorie choices.
Never drink on an empty stomach
Alcoholic beverages can make your blood glucose drop. Avoid the risk of a low blood glucose by having your drink at meal time, or having a snack along with the drink.
Avoid drinks that contain large amounts of sugar
The carbohydrate content of alcoholic drinks will vary. Limit those with sugar as they will have a higher amount of carbohydrates and may therefore contribute to a high blood glucose. Avoid sweet mixers and use sugar-free products.
Drink with caution - carry identification
Signs and symptoms of low blood glucose and intoxication are similar! If you take insulin, don't get into a situation where you may be drinking on an empty stomach and getting hypoglycemic — and your friends just think you are a little "tipsy." Make sure your companions know you have diabetes and know how to treat an insulin reaction. Always wear identification that you have diabetes.
Some medications may not mix with alcohol
It is not advised to drink if you are taking certain medications. People taking oral hypoglycemic agents may have a reaction to the alcohol. Discuss this with your doctor.
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Page last updated: September 18, 2019