Alcohol is not something that you need to give up when you are diagnosed with diabetes, but you need to take certain things into consideration. People with diabetes can drink but just like people without diabetes too much alcohol is not good.

Alcohol has a variety of affects on your body, the main risk when drinking alcohol is that you will hypo. The risk of hypoglycaemia is greater for patients who treat their diabetes with insulin, however drinking alcohol will lower anyones blood glucose level. It is important to eat before you begin drinking and eat carbohydrates whilst drinking, to try and keep control of your blood glucose levels. Also be aware that you may be less likely to detect a hypo when drunk as the symptoms of a hypo are very similar to those of being drunk.

Drinking a large amount of alcohol also carries other risks, such as increase in blood pressure, increase in weight and increase in cholesterol. These three things are again important to keep under control when living with diabetes. Therefore the current recommendations for alcohol consumption for people with diabetes (and people without) are no more than:

21 units a week for men

14 units a week for women

However for someone with diabetes it is recommended that you have two alcohol free days a week.

It is clear that alcohol is a calorie dense product. Which is why it greatly increase your weight and cholesterol when drunk to excess. The guidelines for the amount of calories you should consume, per day, are:

2500 calories for men

2000 calories for women

If you are interested in learning about how many calories or units of alcohol you have consumed please follow this link to the drinkaware website and use their calculator.

Block A Level One, Queen Mary's Hospital, Frognal Avenue, Sidcup, Kent, DA14 6LT Diabetes Queries: 020 8269 3419