Can a diabetic drink rum?

What to watch out for with beer, wine & co

It should be one and a half to two liters of liquid a day for adults. Mineral water and unsweetened herbal and fruit teas are ideal for this. But what about alcohol? How does it go with diabetes?

Alcohol and diabetes are possible if a few things are looked out for. Beer, wine and the like are generally not recommended during pregnancy and breastfeeding, with diseases of the liver and pancreas, disturbed lipid metabolism, diabetes-related nerve damage and an increased tendency to hypoglycaemia. Alcohol lowers the blood sugar level - this can be the case even in small amounts.

The release of sugar is disturbed from a blood alcohol level of 0.45 per thousand. Female diabetics are therefore advised not to drink more than 10 g of alcohol per day. This corresponds to about an eighth liter of dry wine or 250 ml of beer. This amount is twice as high in men with diabetes. Even if the recommendations refer to the day, alcohol, whether with diabetes or metabolically healthy, should not be part of everyday life.

Otherwise habitual effects can easily develop, weight increases, liver damage and appetite increased. With type 2 diabetes in particular, it is important to keep an eye on calories so that the weight does not increase. Alcohol can disrupt fat metabolism, make fat loss more difficult and thus promote obesity. So a glass should best be dosed well and drunk with pleasure.

What beer and co do with blood sugar

No matter what alcohol is consumed, they can contribute to hypoglycaemia. This is particularly important for diabetics who inject insulin or take drugs that lower blood sugar such as sulfonylureas or glinides. Nocturnal hypoglycaemia is typical for alcohol consumption: because it blocks the necessary new production of sugar in the liver. Blood sugar fluctuations and hypoglycaemia can be the case for up to 30 hours after drinking alcohol.

How quickly and how strongly beer, sparkling wine, hard liquor or wine affect blood sugar and well-being varies from person to person and also depends on how you feel on the day. The more concentrated or higher the amount, the stronger the effect and the possible risk of hypoglycaemia. In addition, high-proof foods such as grappa, cognac and the like can delay gastric emptying, so that carbohydrate-containing foods that are eaten enter the blood more slowly than usual.

The general rule: When you drink alcohol, you eat carbohydrates with it. After consulting your doctor, reduce the insulin dose in the evening and on the following day. Be sure to measure your blood sugar before you go to bed. Make a note of the fact that you have drunk alcohol along with your blood sugar readings. It is best to write down the amount directly.

Beer and wine - that's what counts

Beers like Pils, Kölsch or Alt have a high malt sugar content. Drink this with a main meal containing carbohydrates, do not cover the beer with insulin. In this case it is better to tolerate a briefly high blood sugar than to accept a possible hypoglycaemia caused by the alcohol.

Special attention is necessary when the glass of beer, dry wine or dry sparkling wine is combined with exercise: when dancing, walking to the public viewing, to friends and back or after sports. Because exercise uses up part of the sugar reserves in the liver and helps to lower blood sugar levels in a natural way. If you then drink something containing alcohol, the risk of hypoglycaemia increases.


by Kirsten Metternich
Diabetes Journal editorial staff,
Kirchheim-Verlag, Kaiserstraße 41, 55116 Mainz,
Tel .: (0 61 31) 9 60 70 0, Fax: (0 61 31) 9 60 70 90,
Email: [email protected]

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