Alcohol and diabetes


If you take tablets or you are on insulin to control your Diabetes, alcohol can lower your blood sugar levels and potentially lead to hypoglycaemia. It is vital that you eat enough to counteract any alcohol you drink and preferably drink in moderation, perhaps just occasionally with a meal. Alcohol does not necessarily have an immediate affect on your levels; normally, when drinking alcohol your blood sugar level may rise initially and potentially fall later on - the delayed drop could cause a Hypo.

If you wish to drink, be responsible and sensible and consider your blood sugar levels both before and after consuming alcohol. Be aware also that if you have a Hypo, some of the symptoms such as slurred speech and confusion may give the impression that you are drunk.

Here are a few suggestions that may help you:


Drink in moderation only.

Avoid 'low sugar' alcohol as it contains more alcohol than ordinary varieties
and also more calories.

Choose beer or larger with an alcohol content of less than 5%.

If you drink sherry or wine, choose medium/dry varieties in preference,
although the occasional sweeter drink is fine.

If using a mixer - use sugar free varieties.

Eat food with or shortly after alcoholic drinks.

The recommended Units are as follows:

Men 28 Units (4 Units per day)

Women 21 Units (3 Units per day)

1 Unit is equivalent to

½ pint of beer or larger

1 glass of wine (125ml)

1 pub measure of spirit (25ml) Watch out for this! A "Home" measure is typically two or three times a pub measure!

1 small glass of sherry (50ml)


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