Can People Living With Diabetes Drink Alcohol?

by Dr. Julian Whitaker
Filed Under: Diabetes, Blood Sugar
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

A common dietary question of people dealing with diabetes is, “Can I drink alcohol?” The answer is, “Sometimes.”

Because alcoholic drinks contain a fair amount of calories derived from sugars, conventional wisdom has long held that people with diabetes should avoid alcohol. We now know that rather than worsening the diabetic condition, judicious use of alcohol actually improves it by enhancing insulin sensitivity.

Moderate amounts of alcohol improve the cells’ ability to respond to insulin, resulting in an ability to more easily manage blood levels of both glucose and insulin.

For most people dealing with diabetes, however, alcohol consumption can be a double-edged sword—that’s why drinking in moderation is your best bet. Too much alcohol can lead to serious health conditions, including liver disease. And for some people, even one drink is too much.

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