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August 2, 1999

Meal Planning, Food and Diet, Type 2

Question from Illinois, USA:

I am a 64 year-old woman. I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes eight months ago. I would like to know what kind of alcohol I could drink (scotch, vodka, etc.).


From: DTeam Staff

You have asked a good question about alcohol and Type 2 diabetes. The following information is what we discuss in our diabetes classes and I hope you find it helpful.

Type and amount of alcohol recommended to avoid raising blood sugar:

It is recommended that you avoid high calorie/high carbohydrate drinks such as margaritas and drinks mixed with fruit juice and sodas. Dry wines, liquor mixed with diet pops, light beers contain less carbohydrates that will raise your blood sugar. The American Diabetes Association recommends limiting amounts to less than 2 drinks at a time.

Risks associated with drinking and type 2 diabetes:

If you do not take medicines for diabetes, your risk of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) from drinking is rather small. If you do take medicines for your diabetes, especially the medicines that lower blood sugar such as sulfonylureas and insulins, you have a much higher risk of low blood sugar if you drink without eating food. It is recommended that whatever you choose to drink, eat a carbohydrate snack along with it such as pretzels, bread sticks or drink the wine with your meal. Check your blood sugar before and after this to see what affects this alcohol and the additional carbohydrate snack has on your blood sugar. Working with your diabetes team, discussing these results, can help you decide what is best for you.