5 things you must know about diabetes and alcohol use  |  Photo Credit: Thinkstock
New Delhi: Repeated binge drinking can take a serious toll on your health. Studies have shown that heavy alcohol consumption puts you at a higher risk of certain health problems such as liver disease, heart ailments, stroke, brain damage, cancer, etc. Drinking too much can lead to weight gain because alcohol contains a lot of calories. Yet, when you have diabetes, it can be a little more complicated. Hence, people with diabetes are advised to be particularly cautious when it comes to drinking.
First of all, alcohol prevents the liver from performing its job, including regulating blood sugar. Alcohol can also interact with some diabetes medications. It can also worsen some complications of diabetes. If you’re living with diabetes and want to know whether it’s safe to consume alcohol, or how much is okay, read on below. Read – Nearly 98 million Indians will have diabetes by 2030: 5 low-sugar fruits and vegetables to control blood sugar
What you need to know about diabetes and alcohol use
Alcohol and your weight: Studies have shown that losing weight can help prevent or delay the onset of diabetes. A research published in September 2017 in the journal BMJ suggested that weight loss may even help reverse type 2 diabetes. However, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania suggest that alcohol intake may weaken long-term weight loss in people with overweight or type 2 diabetes. Their study showed that participants in the Intensive Lifestyle Intervention (ILI) group who abstained from alcohol consumption over the four-year period were able to lose more weight than those who drank any amount during the intervention. Moreover, since alcohol is very high in calories it can make it difficult for people to shed those extra pounds. Hence, diabetes who are trying to lose weight should be encouraged to limit alcohol intake.
Alcohol and your blood sugar levels: Drinking alcoholic beverages can cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels. For instance, consuming moderate amounts of alcohol may cause blood sugar to rise, heavy drinking can actually make your blood glucose levels drop within a few minutes of taking. Read – Weight loss: The diabetes symptom Nick Jonas experienced – his diet and fitness routine post diagnosis
Alcohol and your appetite: Alcohol can have a significant impact on your appetite and eating habits. It stimulates your appetite, making you overeat. This may affect your blood sugar control.
Alcohol and your liver: The liver stores glycogen, a form of glucose that the body reserves for future use. But drinking alcohol impairs the liver from doing its job. When you drink, your liver has to compromise with its function while trying to remove alcohol from your blood instead of working to regulate blood glucose.
Alcohol and your blood pressure: People with diabetes are more like to have high blood pressure, and having these conditions together can worsen both the diseases. Alcohol can lead to high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Perhaps, being diabetic raises your risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and other health issues.
If you are living with diabetes, it is always safe to check with your doctor to determine whether drinking alcohol is safe for you.