For some people, having a few drinks is part of everyday life and they wouldn’t hesitate to have a few drinks on a Friday night. But if you have type 2 diabetes, drinking alcohol, even occasionally, can become more complicated for your health.
If you live with this condition or are just worried about developing type 2 diabetes, then it’s a good idea to be careful about how much you drink, warns GP Sarah Brewer.
Dr Brewer, working with the diabetes community and supplement brand CuraLife (curalife.com), explained how alcohol can impact people with type 2 diabetes and shared his tips for those who come back to the pub.
Can alcohol cause type 2 diabetes?
One of the largest studies on the effects of alcohol consumption and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes found that, compared to abstainers, drinking less than 63 g of alcohol per day was associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, said Dr Brewer.
She continued, “The greatest reduction in risk occurred with an intake of 10g to 14g per day, which reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by 18%.
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“Once alcohol consumption exceeded the 63g threshold, the risk of developing diabetes also increased.”
“In the UK, 1 unit of alcohol is equivalent to 10ml (or 8g). Men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week on a regular basis, spread over 3 or more days.
“But even the recommended maximum of 14 units provides 112 g (14 x 8) of alcohol, much more than what was found to be beneficial in the diabetes study mentioned above.”
What effect can alcohol have on a person with diabetes?
When you have diabetes, drinking alcohol can cause your blood sugar to rise or fall, depending on how much you have eaten, how much alcohol you drink, and how quickly and how much you drink. carbohydrates in the drink or blender, explained Dr Brasseur. Beer and sweet wine, for example, can raise blood sugar.
She added, “Alcohol also stimulates your appetite, so you’re more likely to overeat.
“It can affect your judgment and willpower, so you’re less likely to make healthy food choices, provides ’empty’ calories which are easily converted to fat in the body, and contributes to fatty changes in the liver and pancreas. , which are associated with insulin resistance. ”
What are the tips for drinking alcohol in diabetes?
If you have diabetes, your doctor may suggest that you drink only one or two units of alcohol per day.
In addition, that you only drink alcohol when your blood sugar is well controlled and that you avoid sugary drinks and mixers.
Dr Brewer also advised, “In addition to making healthier choices, we can turn to herbs and plant extracts to keep blood sugar levels balanced.
“CuraLin (£ 59, curalife.com) is a specially formulated dietary supplement containing ten herbs that are traditionally used to support insulin sensitivity, helping to keep blood sugar under control.”
Janet Husdell, 65, is a retired teacher from Southport, Merseyside who can still have an occasional drink thanks to CuraLin.
She said: “When my doctor diagnosed me with type 2 diabetes, it was such a shock.
“Yes, looking back, I had symptoms for years – thirsty and needing more toilets, a dry and tired mouth all the time.
“I eat a lot of fish and vegetables, and I stay active – with aerobics, swimming and dog walking. I am a size 14 and my weight is fairly constant. But my blood sugar readings remained high. It wasn’t until I started taking CuraLin that they started to come down. I had two tablets before each meal, and within a week my readings were much lower.
“I have now reduced the supplements to four a day, with two more if I go out for a meal. The other night I went out with my husband and had a nest of meringue for dessert and two glasses of Prosecco. The supplement is no excuse for overeating sugar, cakes, and carbohydrates every day. I watch what I eat and make sure to exercise, but the supplement seems to allow me to enjoy the treat without worrying too much.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes can include:
- pee more than usual, especially at night
- be thirsty all the time
- feel very tired
- lose weight without trying to
- itching around your penis or vagina, or repeated yeast infection
- cuts or sores that take longer to heal
- Blurred vision
If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your GP.