For as long as I can remember Friday night has been my preferred time for letting my hair down and having a drink. I suppose it stems from the days when I worked in industry: toiling Monday to Friday with every weekend off.
Many of my friends and work colleagues used to drink all weekend, struggling to work all bleary-eyed at the start of the next working week, but one night a week has always been enough for me.
The burning question on my mind when I was diagnosed was: does this mean that I have to give up drinking alcohol altogether? I would give it up totally if I had to but – just because I have diabetes – do I really have to give up my Friday night tipple?
The fact is that alcohol has no nutritional value at all, so from a health point of view, we could all do better by not drinking it. But from a cultural and social view-point, in the UK, alcohol has become an important factor in our life-style. Therefore being fully aware of how alcohol can affect your blood sugar is very important to diabetics.
The first thing for diabetics to consider about alcohol is that it will, without doubt, have an effect on your blood sugar. But as long as you are careful and take a few precautions there is no reason why you can’t enjoy a drink.
Take a look at this video which was put together and published by Diabetes.co.uk. It has useful information about the effects of alcohol on diabetic sufferers and gives information about certain alcoholic drinks.
In short, the video shows that beer has the biggest impact on blood sugar because of its carbohydrate content. Wine may have less of an effect, although still significant; and spirits, because of their lack of carbohydrates, will have the least impact — providing you don’t use a sugary mixer in your drink.
The main thing to consider is that moderation is the key. Too much alcohol for anyone – including non-diabetics – can damage your long-term health. With that in mind I will continue to drink, sensibly!