What Is the Link Between Diabetes and Alcohol Consumption?


Quick Answer

The link between diabetes and alcohol consumption is complicated. Drinking too much alcohol can lead to type 2 diabetes by causing pancreatitis, which impairs the pancreas's ability to secrete insulin, explains Mayo Clinic and Diabetes Care. However, moderate amounts of alcohol can actually lower a person's risk.

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Full Answer

Individuals who have diabetes should drink with caution, indicates WebMD. Alcohol affects people with diabetes in many different ways. For instance, moderate amounts of alcohol (especially beer and sweet wine) can make the blood sugar level rise, while larger amounts of alcohol can decrease it to dangerous levels. Also, alcohol stimulates the appetite, which can cause overeating. Alcohol can also interfere with the effects of insulin and oral diabetes medicines.

However, most people with diabetes can drink moderate amounts of alcohol, reports the American Diabetes Association. Research shows that drinking alcohol comes with some health benefits, such as a reduction in the risk of heart disease. The American Diabetes Association recommends that men have no more than two drinks per day and women have no more than one drink per day. Diabetics should not drink on an empty stomach or when their blood glucose is low. Eating while drinking is important, especially for those on insulin and oral diabetic medications that lower blood glucose.

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