Alcohol and Diabetes
This month our good friend and nutritionist Jaz Batchelor talks about alcohol and diates.
Alcohol is a dicey subject, especially in the heavy drinking culture us Aussie's live in. In small amounts, alcohol is generally adequate for your health. In fact, some studies have shown that a small drink of red wine a day can have positive cardiovascular health effects.
However, too much of it is unhealthy for anyone, not just physically, but mentally too. No one loves a hangover, but for diabetics, the effects may be more than just that. Having diabetes means that you'll have extra precautions to keep in mind when consuming alcohol and it's important to know what those precautions are.
As alcohol is generally made up of little nutrients and high energy, it can easily spike your blood glucose levels. Furthermore, you may also be at risk of alcohol related hypoglycaemia which usually occurs after drinking or hours later. This happens because your liver will preferentially process your alcohol first before the stored glucose as an energy source.
Moreover, the symptoms, such as slurred speech, drowsiness, confusion, or difficulty walking, of hypoglycaemia and intoxication can be blurred. This makes it particularly hard to diagnose and treat, therefore, it’s important that the people you are drinking with know that you are diabetic or that you always carry your medical ID with you.
It is also a tricky subject as we live in a society that is surrounded by alcohol and drinking culture is hard to avoid. Luckily, it is possible to live with diabetes and take part in alcohol consumption (we all love a cocktail, right?!), however, extra care is needed. Simple steps such as eating while drinking and monitoring your intake of standard drinks can make drinking safer for you and those around you.
If you are diabetic, it is important to take extra caution when consuming alcohol and follow the health guidelines. Current guidelines recommend no more than two standard drinks a day for both men and women.