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Drinking and type 2 diabetes: What you need to know

by , 22 August 2017
Drinking and type 2 diabetes: What you need to know
Studies have proven that an alcohol-containing drink a day may help your heart. But what about if you have type 2 diabetes? If you're diagnosed with the disease, is it okay to have a beer while watching a sports game or a glass of wine with dinner?

The short answer is yes, if your blood sugar is under control and you don't have any complication that are affected by alcohol, such as high blood sugar. It's not as simple as this though - read on for what you need to know when it comes to drinking and type 2 diabetes.

Studies have proven that alcohol can have heart health benefits for everyone – even people with type 2 diabetes...

According to one study by Harvard School of Public Health researchers, women with type 2 diabetes who drank small amounts of alcohol had a lower risk of heart disease than those who didn’t drink.
 
Another study found that men with type 2 diabetes had the same reduction in heart disease risk with a moderate alcohol intake as non-diabetic men.
 

Men with type 2 diabetes shouldn’t have more than two drinks per day, while women shouldn’t have more than one

Generally speaking, the recommendations for alcohol consumption for someone with type 2 diabetes are the same as anyone else: No more than two drinks per day for men and no more than one for women. One drink is equal to 350 ml of beer, 150 ml of wine or 45 ml of hard liquor such as vodka, scotch, gin or tequila.

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A doctor’s top tips for people with type 2 diabetes who choose to drink

People with type 2 diabetes who choose to drink have to be extra meticulous when it comes to keeping alcohol, food, medications and blood sugar levels in balance.
 
Janis Roszler, a certified diabetes educator based in Miami in the United States, shares his top tips for diabetics who drink:
 
  • Mix alcohol with water instead of sugary soft drinks and other mixers.
  • After your drink, switch to a non-alcoholic drinks such as sparkling water.
  • Have an eating strategy in place – alcohol can make you feel more relaxed, which may lead you to make poor food decisions.
  • Don’t drink on an empty stomach because alcohol can have a rapid blood glucose-lowering effect.
  • Wear your diabetes identification bracelet or necklace whenever you drink.
 
Share this information on drinking and type 2 diabetes with friends and family who also have the disease!

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