Sunday, December 18, 2005

"Can I Get You a Drink?"

The Holidays are here. You may find yourself on the receiving end of that question more often. If you have diabetes and take insulin or oral diabetes medications, keep in mind that alcohol can lower blood glucose.

How Alcohol Affects Blood Glucose

Normally, when you skip a meal, the liver will break down stored carbohydrate and send glucose out through the bloodstream to energy-hungry tissues until you eat again. Alcohol can disrupt this process:
"Your body reacts to alcohol like a poison. The liver wants to clear it from the blood quickly. In fact, the liver won't put out glucose again until it has taken care of the alcohol. If your blood glucose level is falling, you can quickly wind up with very low blood sugar."
- From the ADA's fact sheet on Alcohol

So if you're offered a drink, heed the ADA's advice:
  • Never drink alcohol on an empty stomach.
  • Limit yourself to 1 drink if you're a woman or 2 drinks if you are a man.
Visit the ADA's site for more, including wise drink choices and mixing alcohol with exercise.