Health Questions and Answers

Can people with diabetes drink alcohol?

Yes, but there are certain danger specific to diabetes. Alcohol is a potent inhibitor of gluconeogenesis. Alcohol, especially when consumed separately from meals and without a carbohydrate (dry winw, whiskey and water, etc), can induce hypoglycemia. This is a practical concern in patients who are taking hypoglycemic agents such as insulin or sulfonylureas. The hypoglycemic effect of alcohol is less important when it is consumed with food. Diabetic patients obtain the same salutary effects of moderate alcohol intake as anyone else, such as increased HDL cholesterol and reduced coagulability. Alcohol in moderation is accepatable in most individuals with diabetes provided that it does not add execessive calorie content to the meal (e.g., 1-2 glasses of wine). An exception would be a patient with severe hypertriglyceridemia, bcause alcohol can worsen this condition.

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