Diabetes and Alcohol

With your doctor's permission, you may enjoy alcohol in moderation. Moderation is defined as no more than one drink per day for women; no more than two drinks per day for men. One drink is equal to 5 oz. of wine, 12 oz. of beer, or 1½ oz. of distilled spirits.

Here are some guidelines for drinking alcohol if you have diabetes:

  • Check with your doctor before drinking any alcoholic beverages. Discuss the safety and possible side effects of mixing alcohol and your medicines.
  • Never drink on an empty stomach. Drink alcohol with food to avoid low blood sugar reactions.
  • Do not drink alcohol before, during or after exercise.
  • Wear diabetes identification if drinking away from home in case of a low blood sugar reaction or any other emergency.
  • Avoid alcohol if you have pancreatitis, high triglycerides, significant nerve damage or a history of alcohol abuse. Limit use if you are overweight.
  • Do not drink alcohol if you are pregnant. It increases the risk of birth defects.

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