If you have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, drinking alcohol is something to be mindful of. Here are five important things to keep in mind before you pop open that bottle of wine with friends.
1. Don’t consume alcohol on an empty stomach
Food slows down the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream. The Diabetes Teaching Center at the University of California in San Francisco recommends eating a meal or snack containing carbohydrates when you drink alcohol.
2. Watch how Alcohol interacts with medications
Depending on how much you drink, alcohol can have the effect of causing blood glucose levels to rise or fall. Hypoglycemia or “insulin shock,” can occur when there is a combination of blood-sugar-lowering medication with alcohol .
Alcohol prevents your liver from doing its job.
When you drink alcohol, your liver has to work to remove it from your blood instead of working to regulate blood sugar. For this reason, you should never drink alcohol when your blood glucose is already low.
3. Before drinking alcohol, test blood sugar
Your liver is working hard to produce glucose by alcohol can impair the process. That makes it all the more important to know where your blood sugar level stands before tossing back that drink.
4. Check your blood sugar after a drink
Studies have shown that up to 12 hours after consuming an alcoholic beverage, alcohol can still cause your blood glucose level decrease. Take the time to make sure you’re in the safe zone. A general rule is that if your blood glucose is below 100 mg/dL, eat something to bring it back up.
5. Take it slow
For the average person weighing about 150 pounds it takes roughly two hours for your liver to break down the alcohol in one drink. Don’t push it.
As always, it’s a great idea to talk to your doctor first. They know you best and can tell you how much alcohol is safe for you to drink, depending on your condition.