Many people occasionally like to indulge by drinking a beer. Since diabetics know that alcohol can have a negative impact on their Type 2 diabetes, they automatically know that this also includes beer… even just one. But can just one beer cause that much trouble?
It isn’t really about the one beer as long as you don’t drink of an empty stomach or take diabetic medication or insulin. The problem comes when people, especially diabetics, drink beer on an empty stomach. Alcohol stays in your system longer than the glucose from food. And since beer contains a lot of sugar, that’s too much sugar at one time. Drinking on an empty stomach just magnifies the results, which is why drinkers feel the effects less if they drink when they have a full stomach.
Beer, like any other alcohol, has to be closely monitored. When people get together to drink socially they often get caught up in the conversation or the surroundings. Soon, they are not really aware of how much they have consumed. This can quickly bring on a sugar crash or spike, depending on the circumstances.
But beer also contains several other factors that have to be considered… calories and carbs. Some beers contain a lot of calories, and again, when drinking with little or no food in your system to help absorb the alcohol, it can really mess up your blood sugar levels. Even though it takes a couple of hours for alcohol to leave your system, the danger of hyperglycemia… not to mention pancreatitis… continues long after drinking your beer.
For Type 2 diabetics who need to be able to drink beer, they are going to have to enforce certain rules:
- First, drink light beer for greatly reduced calories, or beer that has a much smaller amount of carbs. Of course, there will be a transition period, but it will be minor and it will still allow you to indulge in your beverage.
- Next, you have to limit the quantity of beer. This has more to do with your blood sugar levels than drinking and driving. Even if you are alone in the privacy of your own home, you have to limit your beer intake. In fact, drinking beer alone can be as dangerous as being alone during any other glycemic episode.
Diabetics who are on medication, including insulin, have to be especially careful. Beer can alter the effects of medicines, and in some cases can be very dangerous. For example, metformin, a common diabetes medication, cannot be mixed with beer at all. All diabetics, both Type 1 and Type 2, will want to check with their doctor to see if their medications can be adversely affected by alcohol.