Drinking and Diabetes – Worth the Risk?
If you have diabetes and are taking medication – either insulin or oral diabetes pills – then you run the risk of low blood sugar levels when you drink alcohol. That in turn can quickly become a dangerous, even life threatening situation.
“When the blood sugar levels drop, the liver usually begins to produce glucose from stored carbohydrates to compensate,” explains diabetes educator Evelyn Schumacher, MS, RD, LD/N, CDE, President, Joshua Cares Services, Inc., A Florida Not-for-Profit Corporation.
“Drinking alcohol blocks the liver’s ability to produce glucose. It treats alcohol as a toxin and works to rid the body of alcohol as quickly as possible; the liver won’t produce glucose again until the alcohol has been process and cleared from the body,” she explains.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that if you have diabetes and are going to have a drink, wait until you have had a meal or a snack to help protect yourself from a low blood sugar. If you have had a drink the ADA recommends that you check your blood sugar before going to sleep and have another snack to avoid a low blood sugar reaction while you sleep.