Christmas 2022: Diabetics, be cautious of alcohol during the holiday season

Heading to a club or a friend's house for Christmas or New Year's eve party? Your friends might try out different drinks, but if you have diabetes then you should stay away from alcohol during holidays.
alcohol risk
Is alcohol safe for diabetics? Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Updated: 23 Oct 2023, 11:11 am IST
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The year is about to end, and there are so many reasons to party. There’s Christmas, New Year’s Eve and probably two or three weddings that you are planning to squeeze in. Well, you can expect a lot of fun at parties, and don’t be surprised to see people indulging in multiple drinks. You may know it already that too much alcohol consumption affects the overall functioning of the body negatively. But for people with diabetes, the risk is even higher. As you try to imbibe the real spirit of the holiday season, the temptation to drink increases, which automatically raises concern about the blood sugar levels of diabetes patients. Read on to know why diabetes and alcohol can’t be friends.

Holiday drinking can have a negative affect on a diabetic. To know more, Health Shots touched base with Dr Amit Gupta, Senior Diabetologist, National Executive Council Member, Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India, Delhi.

Holiday drinking can have a negative affect on a diabetic. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Why alcohol is risky for diabetics?

It can be fun to get a buzz from drinking alcohol once in a while. People also enjoy its slightly sweet taste as well. We know that alcohol consists of starch and sugar. So, consuming alcohol can elevate blood sugar levels, which can be risky for diabetics, said Gupta. Also, drinking alcohol on an empty stomach can affect the health of people with diabetes. Gupta also suggested that if you have other comorbidities along with diabetic conditions, consult your doctor before taking a sip of your favourite alcohol. Sometimes, even a glass of alcohol can be fatal to people with diabetes.

Heavy drinking is bad for health

Too much of alcohol can be detrimental to the health of anyone, let alone people with diabetes. The expert said that excessive alcohol consumption causes blood sugar levels to shoot up, which in turn worsens the diabetes condition. Heavy drinking can also lead to increased heart rate, blood pressure as well as cholesterol levels. Nausea, increased appetite, blurred vision, and slurred speech are some of the immediate effects of heavy drinking in diabetics. Gupta said that drinking can also have lifelong complications like reduced body sensitivity towards insulin.

The link between alcohol and diabetes

Heavy drinking is a big no, but occasional episodes of alcohol consumption in small quantities generally don’t worsen blood sugar control in people with diabetes. Still, it’s best to check with your doctor, who would be able to tell you the safe level of drinking applicable for you, considering your sugar level, the medications you take, and the presence of comorbidities if there any.

no alcohol after Diwali
Diabetics should avoid drinking during holidays. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Things to keep in mind before drinking alcohol

Having a meal with carbohydrates before going for a drink is a wise thing to do. It actually “slows down the absorption rate of alcohol” in the blood, shared the expert. If you are diabetic, then carry a diabetes ID or wear a diabetes ID wristband, so that others will know about your diabetic condition and you can receive immediate help when needed. Make sure that you check your blood glucose before going to bed and after waking up the next day. Also, eat something if the blood glucose level is low and drink plenty of water the next day of alcohol consumption.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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