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Beer And Diabetes Type 2

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Is It Safe To Drink With Diabetes

Diabetes and Beer

People with diabetes do not need to cut alcohol out of their diet. As a matter of fact, many studies have suggested that light drinking may be beneficial to diabetes, including a recent study from China that’s been in the news. However, there are some important safety considerations for people with diabetes.Alcohol competes with your livers ability to make glucose when your blood sugar is low. If you are on insulin or other anti-hyperglycemic medications, this can lead to dangerously low blood sugar up to 24 hours after you stop drinking. Alcohol can also cloud your judgement, so you may not realize that your blood sugar is low.To prevent hypoglycemia, dont drink on an empty stomach. Make sure you have food handy while you are drinking and keep an eye on your blood sugar.

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Symptoms Of Type 2 Diabetes

Common symptoms of type 2 diabetes are:5

  • Feeling particularly tired
  • Feeling more thirsty than usual
  • Going to the toilet to urinate more often than usual, especially at night
  • Genital itching or frequent episodes of thrush
  • Slow healing of cuts and wounds

But, importantly, many people found to have type 2 diabetes have no symptoms, so it is important to get checked by asking at your GP surgery.

You can find out more about type 1 and type 2 diabetes on the NHS website.

Can I Drink Alcohol If I Have Type 2 Diabetes

As you may well know, living with type 2 diabetes often means cutting out or cutting back on foods and beverages that can affect sugar levels in the blood. But alcohol doesn’t necessarily have to be one of them.

In fact, some evidence shows that many people with type 2 diabetes can safely enjoy drinking alcoholic beverages. And believe it or not, moderate drinking may even bring about some benefits.

Your healthcare provider can best determine what’s right for you. But if you do drink, know that not all alcoholic beverages are created equal when it comes to diabetes.

This article explains how alcohol affects blood sugar levels. It addresses some of the risks as well as some of the benefits of drinking alcohol when you have type 2 diabetes. It also provides guidelines for how to safely include alcohol in a type 2 diabetes diet .

Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin

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Alcohol Interacts With Diabetes Medications

Alcohol can cause blood glucose levels to rise or fall, depending on how much you drink. Some diabetes pills also lower blood glucose levels by stimulating the pancreas to make more insulin. Combining the blood-sugar-lowering effects of the medication with alcohol can lead to hypoglycemia or insulin shock, which is a medical emergency.

Dont Drink Energy Drinks Which Contain Sugar And Caffeine

Beer and Diabetes: Can Diabetics Drink Beer? Know the Facts

Energy drinks give you a temporary boost of energy that comes from sugar, caffeine, and other additives, but all of that can also cause heart rhythm disturbances, increase heart rate and blood pressure, and disrupt sleep, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Just one 8.4 oz serving of Red Bull energy drink contains more than 26 g of sugar and 75 mg of caffeine, notes the USDA, and even the sugar-free version has 75 mg of caffeine. For comparison, 8 oz of brewed coffee contains roughly 92 mg of caffeine.

Instead of relying on liquid energy to keep you going, fight fatigue in other ways. Some of the best ways to stay healthy and alert are to focus on getting quality sleep and regular exercise . If you do need a quick energy boost, stick to healthier beverage options like unsweetened coffee and tea.

Additional reporting by Lauren Bedosky.

Learn more about the relationship between diet soda and diabetes in Diabetes Daily’s article “The Truth About Diet Soda“!

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Alcohol Consumption And Type 2 Diabetes Risk

Population studies show a J-shaped relationship between alcohol consumption and risk for type 2 diabetes . Compared to those who do not consume alcoholic beverages, consumption of up to 24 g of alcohol per day is associated with a 30% lower relative risk for type 2 diabetes on average. There appears to be a marked gender difference, the effect being more pronounced among women than men. The putative protective effect was found to be up to 25% for men and up to 45% for women. 149-151Another meta-analysis found the positive effect to be confined to women and non-Asian populations only.152 Higher alcohol consumption results in a comparable or higher risk for type 2 diabetes compared to non-consumers.149-152 The difference in risk reduction between men and women could be explained in part by body fat distribution.151, alcohol metabolism153 or drinking patterns.154

Lifestyle effectThe association between moderate alcohol consumption and type 2 diabetes is not likely to be explained by a healthier lifestyle. In subjects already at lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes based on a favourable lifestyle , alcohol consumption of 514.9 g per day for women and 529.9 g per day for men is associated with an additional 44% lower relative risk of developing type 2 diabetes.156

What Is In Store For People With Diabetes Who Would Like To Consume Beer

  • As seen in the above paragraphs, if you are a diabetic patient, you can go for a moderate quantity of beer consumption.You donât have to give it up entirely and if you stay within the prescribed limits, you would be good to go.
  • Your overall treatment of diabetes should be paired with a good lifestyle, a healthy diet, and adequate physical exercise. That way a small and a moderate amount of beer is something that you can definitely enjoy!

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Resources On Beer Drinking And Diabetes

This whole process also made me look more closely at the beer-brewing process, trying to understanding how the making of different brews might play into their diabetes effect.

Four key resources I found the most helpful came from the Diabetes Daily Grind, and a carb-calorie count list over at

All helpful stuff, if I do say so myself, and a lot of this factored into my experiment.

So, what did I find?

No matter the beer, it took about 30 minutes to start raising my blood sugar, but my levels began to smooth out within a couple of hours post-consumption. Sometimes they even started dropping.

Typical beer takes about 1.5 units of insulin for me . If I had a couple beers in one session and took 3 units stretched out over the course of an hour, I found I could stay in range, nice and steady on the CGM graph.

With a 25-minute pre-bolus, after drinking I typically see the alcohol liver effect, which is caused by your liver being too busy processing the residual alcohol in your system to naturally release the necessary glucose needed when your BG starts to drop. As a result, you can get hypoglycemic even though the initial beer may have raised your BG level. I found that my blood sugar usually starts dropping within 6 hours after drinking two or three brews. But its not a dramatic drop, so nothing to worry about too much for me.

Beer: High Glycaemic Index Versus Low Diabetes Risk

Reversing Type 2 diabetes starts with ignoring the guidelines | Sarah Hallberg | TEDxPurdueU

Beer is classified as a high GI food, with the GI of lager beer around 100178,179, comparable with the GI of potatoes or breakfast cereals. 180However, the GL of beer is only 7.5 because of the low carbohydrate content . In comparison with other products, a glass of a regular soft drink has a GI of 63 and a GL of 16, and a boiled potato of 150 g has a GI of 96 and a GL of 24. 180Although diets high in GI or GL have been associated with an increased risk of diabetes, 181alcohol consumption up to 24 g per day is related to a lower diabetes risk. 149-151This contradiction might be explained because when beer is consumed with or before a carbohydrate meal, beer tends to reduce the blood glucose peak after the meal. The biological mechanism behind this is likely to be alcohols ability to acutely inhibit glucose production in the liver and so counteracts the blood glucose response as a result of glucose absorption from the food/meal by the gut, and thereby reducing the overall GR . This results in more stable blood glucose levels after the food/meal, and that might consequently reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. 182As alcoholic beverages are often consumed together with a meal, the GR of beer consumed together with a meal might be more important to consider for diabetes risk than the GI of beer itself.

*Based on an average carbohydrate content of 2.5 g per 100 ml. Some beers will be higher or lower.

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Iii Form Of Alcoholic Beverage

Clearly, moderate drinkers have a much lower risk of type 2 diabetes than abstainers. Heavy drinkers have an increased risk. Its as high as that of abstainers. The pattern has the shape of the letter U. But does the U-shaped risk pattern apply to wine, to beer, and to spirits. In other words, does the form of alcoholic beverage matter?

The Study

Researchers conducted a meta-analysis to answer this question. It included 13 prospective studies. Each study examined the effects of specific types of alcoholic beverage on the risk of type 2 diabetes. Together, they provided data on 397,296 study participants and 20,641 cases of the disease.

The Results

The meta-analysis found the U-shaped risk pattern for wine, for beer, and for spirits. Thus, the moderate consumption of any or all of these beverages reduces the risk of IV. developing type 2 diabetes.21

Benefits Of Alcohol For Type 2 Diabetes

Yes, there are risks associated with drinking alcohol if you have type 2 diabetes. However, there is also evidence for potential benefits with occasional or moderate alcohol drinking. Moderate alcohol consumption can briefly lower your blood sugar levels by inhibiting the liver from releasing glucose into your bloodstream.

This could be useful for people with type 2 diabetes aiming to reduce their high blood glucose.

Moderate alcohol consumption has links to other health benefits, such as increasing good cholesterol levels . This can lower your risk of heart disease.

Those who drink red wine in moderation with food can also benefit. Red wine contains antioxidants that prevent cell damage. Type 2 diabetes triggers several metabolic reactions, leading to cell death, inflammation, and cytokine secretion.

However, antioxidants in red wine might prevent cell damage.

Still, the risks of consuming alcohol if you have type 2 diabetes outweigh the benefits. That’s why doctors recommend keeping your drinking to moderate levels or quitting altogether.

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A Reviews Of Research

Of 26 Studies

This meta-analysis examined the dose-response relationship. That is, the relationship between amount of alcohol consumed and the degree of risk reduction.

The authors analyzed the 26 prospective cohort studies that had the necessary data. Included were 706,716 persons . There were 31,621 cases of diabetes.

Compared to non-drinkers, those who had an average of about one drink per day had a 17% lower risk. Those who had about two drinks per day had a 26% lower risk of the disease. Those who drank more had an insignificant 2% lower risk than abstainers.

Researchers analyzed subjects separately by possible confounders. These were age, sex, BMI , smoking, physical activity, and family history of type 2 diabetes. The results were similar in every case.

There was a clear U-shaped curve between drinking alcohol and type 2 diabetes risk. The lowest risk was among both men and women who had an average of about two drinks per day. Alcohol reduces the risk of diabetes. And it does so greatly.1

Of 20 studies

An analysis of 20 longitudinal cohort studies looked at alcohol and type 2 diabetes risk.

Investigators compared drinkers at different consumption levels to lifetime abstainers. This was to eliminate any possible sick-quitter effects.

For men, the risk of type 2 diabetes was lowest among those who consumed about one and one-half drinks daily. The benefits continued for up to four drinks per day.2

Of 15 studies

Review of the Literature

Alcohol Consumption In People Having Diabetes

Beer And Diabetes

For people who have diabetes, moderate alcohol consumption may affect blood glucose level and complications related to diabetes.

Hypoglycaemic effect of alcoholAlcohol has acute effects on carbohydrate metabolism since it inhibits the production of glucose by the liver. When alcoholic beverages are consumed without food, this may result in hypoglycaemia in subjects with diabetes using insulin or insulin stimulating medication . 169Low blood glucose level after alcohol consumption is specifically a risk when glycogen stores are depleted, which could be the case for people on a low carbohydrate diet or those who are fasting. Therefore, consuming alcohol with a meal is the preferred option for people with diabetes and using insulin or insulin stimulating medication.170

Risk of coronary heart diseaseIndividuals with diabetes are at higher risk of coronary heart disease . 171Consumption of 18 g or more alcohol per day compared with non-drinking lowers the risk of developing CHD in these individuals by 40% and the relative risk of dying of CHD by 66%. 172In a follow-up study, a CHD relative risk reduction of 61% was observed with the consumption of 100200 g of alcohol per week.173

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Traditional Home Glucose Monitoring

You can easily test your blood glucose at home with a glucose monitor. It uses a testing strip to measure the glucose levels in your blood.

You obtain a blood sample with a short needle You put a drop of your blood on the testing strip, and the meter displays your blood glucose levels.

These meters deliver results at varying speeds. A standard strip should show results within fifteen seconds. Some meters can calculate your average blood sugar levels over a timeline, while others can display a reading on a graph or meter. All these meters are available at your local pharmacy.

Ensure that you follow these steps while using a traditional home glucose monitor:

  • Wash your hands and dry them before handling the kit.

  • Cleanse the testing area with an alcohol swab, soapy water, or warm water.

  • Note and record your blood glucose level after every test.

Moderate Consumption As Part Of A Healthy Lifestyle

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As beer contains alcohol, it can have an effect on diabetes. There is considerable scientific evidence that alcohol consumption of up to 24 g per day can lower the relative risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 30%. In people with diabetes, moderate alcohol consumption may improve glycaemic control and convey cardiovascular risk reduction and mortality benefits. These effects apply to all alcoholic beverages.

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The Difference Between Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetes

There are two main types of diabetes:.

  • Type 1 diabetes develops if the body cant produce enough insulin, because insulin-producing cells in the pancreas have been destroyed. People who have this type of diabetes are usually diagnosed before theyre 40 and the causes remain largely unknown
  • Type 2 diabetes develops when the body can still make some insulin, but not enough, or when the body becomes resistant to insulin.

Type 2 diabetes can happen when people are overweight and inactive, and may be influenced by genetic factors. For example, people who are an apple-shape have a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes. And, in the UK, people of south Asian, African-Caribbean, or black African descent are two to four times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, compared with white people.

The risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases with age. But while White people are more at risk over the age of 40, people of South Asian, African-Carribean, or Black African descent are more at risk from the age of 25 and at lower levels of overweight.

Type 2 diabetes is now far more common in the UK than type 1. In the UK, around 90% of all adults with diabetes have type 2.4

Alcohol And Type 2 Diabetes: What You Need To Know

Here’s The Number Of Beers You Can Drink If You Have Diabetes

Drinking isn’t off limits when you have type 2 diabetes. Still, it’s important to understand how alcohol can affect your blood sugar, diet, weight, and more.


Many people with type 2 diabetes think they need to eliminate alcohol completely from their diet. But, in moderation, alcohol may actually have some health benefits.

For instance, moderate alcohol consumption may reduce the risk of developing diabetes in people who dont have the condition, particularly women, according to a data analysis published in the September 2015 issue of Diabetes Care. And in people who have type 2 diabetes that is well-controlled, a glass of red wine a day as part of a healthy diet may help improve heart disease risk factors, according to results of a two-year study published in Annals of Internal Medicine in October 2015.

However, you need to be thoughtful about including any type of alcohol, even red wine, in your type 2 diabetes management plan.

The most important thing is to make sure you arent drinking alcohol on an empty stomach, says Liz Brouillard, RD, LDN, CDE, nutrition manager at the Boston Medical Centers Center for Endocrinology, Nutrition, and Weight Management in Massachusetts. She recommends only drinking alcohol with a meal or snack that contains both carbohydrates and protein. That’s because alcohol can lower your blood sugar, creating a risky situation for people with type 2 diabetes.

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