There are two studies about if quitting alcohol reverses diabetes. According to one theory avoiding alcohol for a short duration can improve blood sugar levels, as per a current UK study. Quitting alcohol can safeguard us against other diseases that high blood sugar levels cause.
According to another study, occasional drinking of alcohol does not create high or low blood sugar; rather, it can be beneficial. But, regular intake of even a tiny quantity of alcohol impacts diabetes/ blood sugar levels.
Frequent urination, fatigue, more water intake, unclear vision, and headache are the common symptoms of diabetes.
Treatment for type 2 diabetes includes, checking blood sugar levels, using insulin or medication when needed, eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, exercising, losing excess weight.
Along with these, you can also try any Ayurvedic Supplement to Reverse Diabetes available in the market as well. This should help in closing your quest for the answer of if quitting alcohol reverses diabetes.
What is alcohol and its different types?
An alcoholic drink is a drink that contains ethanol; Fermentation with the help of yeast in grains, fruits or other sources of sugar products. Alcohol can result in euphoria, talkativeness, drowsiness, respiratory depression, coma, or even death.
Experts classify alcohol into two major categories basis the process of its making. One is a Fermented Beverage, and the second is a Distilled Beverage.
As the names suggest, fermented beverage undergoes the fermentation process and are lower in alcohol content. They are more approachable like beer, fermented grain, Wine of grapes, and Cider from fermenting fruits like apple and pear.
A distilled beverage is an alcoholic concentration left post separating water and flavoring liquid after completing the fermentation process. This category has more alcohol content than its counterpart.
Two categories of alcohol and their further subcategories:
- Beer – Lagers and Ales
- Red Wine White Wine
- Rose Wine (soft red varieties of grapes)
- Sparkling Wine (Champagne and prosecco)
- Fortified Wine
- Liquor or Spirits
Liqueurs (Below you will find a list of some of the most popular liqueur brands)
- Cocktail bitters
Glycemic Index of Alcohol
Glycemic index (GI) is a value used to measure how much specific food increases blood sugar levels. It indicates how the body digests a particular type of food and converts it into blood sugar (Glucose). The lower the GI of a specific food, the less it may affect your blood sugar levels, hence reducing obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Foods are classified as low, medium, or high glycemic food and ranked on a scale of 0–100. The table below will help further.
|Low GI||Medium GI||High GI|
|55 or Less||56-69||70 and above|
If we talk about alcoholic drinks, the Glycemic index of beer and non-alcoholic beer are a high GI food. The Glycemic index of whiskey is low (15 GI) and zero for vodka and wine due to the low carbohydrate content.
Can alcohol cause diabetes?
Learning about diabetes is vital to answer this question. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas doesn’t produce insulin, or the insulin it makes doesn’t work. Insulin hormone transfers glucose from the blood to the cells to give the body energy. In diabetes, the body cannot make proper use of glucose and builds it up in the blood.
There are two main types of Diabetes: Type 1 (T1D) and Type 2 (T2D)
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body cannot produce insulin because of genetic factors or some infection.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body can make some insulin but not enough as per need. It can happen because of genetic factors or because of dietary disorders.
A pre diabetic patient whose diabetes is at borderline or who is likely to enter the Type 2 diabetes bracket should be considerate about the cause and effect of alcohol in their body.
There are specific symptoms of a diabetic patient, and early detection is the best way to control them:
- Frequent visits to the washroom
- Feeling thirsty most of the time
- Having an unclear vision
- Feeling hungry and consuming high quantity food
- Slow healing of cuts and soars
Many studies are there to understand the impact of alcohol on diabetes. Most of the results say moderate consumption of alcohol is acceptable for a non-diabetic or monitored diabetic patient, only after a proper recommendation from the doctor.
As per the American Diabetes Association recommendation, women should have not more than one alcoholic beverage per day, and men should consume no more than 2.
Alcohol Chart for Different Drinks
A moderate amount of alcohol may increase blood sugar level, whereas excessive alcohol can decrease blood sugar – which can be harmful to people with Type 1 diabetes. People with Type 1 diabetes must only drink while consuming food. So, eating is essential to avoid blood sugar dropping.
Heavy drinking may result in severe health consequences because of collecting certain acids in the body, particularly in people with diabetes.
Alcohol has an impact on diabetic patients indirectly.
- Alcohol increases the eating urge making a person overeat, further impacting the blood sugar level.
- Alcoholic drinks often have a lot of calories, causing obesity.
- Alcohol plays with the mind, forcing one to make the wrong choices of food items.
- Alcohol can interfere with the current medication treatment leading medicines to work less.
- Blood pressure can also fluctuate because of alcohol.
- Mixing different drinks with usual alcohol can also lead to an imbalance in the diet.
- Alcohol reduces metabolism, turning dinner or late snacks into the fat component.
Controlled drinking is the key to find a balance between drinking and quitting alcohol. While we know, beer is the most loved and consumed alcoholic drink. But, knowing about carb content when drinking beer is essential for type 1 diabetes.
Light beer has 3-6 grams of carbs per serving. Non-light beer has 10-15 grams of carbs. Most people don’t drink one bottle of beer (the alcohol content of beer is 4-7%). In those ways, one can always gain a lot of carbs, further endangering diabetes.
How can diabetes spike Blood sugar levels?
Blood sugar spikes occur in people with diabetes because they are unable to use insulin. Sugar remains in the bloodstream for such patience rather than reaching the cells. Untreated high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) is dangerous and can lead to heart disease, blindness, neuropathy, and kidney failure.
Symptoms of Blood sugar spike:
- Frequent urination
- More water intake
- Unclear vision
There are ways to prevent blood sugar spikes:
- Get a professional meal plan developed
- Start weight loss/control program
- Start low glycemic index food
- Eat healthy meals
Alcohol raises blood sugar immediately, especially when mixed with juice and soda. But it can also low the sugar levels a few hours later.
But, the reverse of hyperglycemia is dangerous. Patients on insulin treatment for diabetes can develop low blood sugar levels. This is hypoglycemia.
Symptoms of hypoglycemia include:
- Slurring words
- Double Vision
- Anxiety – Abnormal Behavior
Hypoglycemia’s symptoms are dangerous because people can think that you’re drunk and not understand the urgent medical help required. Also, it prevents the liver from making glucose when you drink on an empty stomach.
Not drinking an empty stomach and checking blood sugar are ways to avoid hypoglycemia. Also, check your blood sugar up to 24 hours, even when you stop drinking. People with diabetes or hypoglycemia need to avoid excessive amounts of alcohol.
Sugar content in beer is shallow, whereas distilled drinks like whiskey, rum, gin and vodka should not have sugar.
What are the risks of drinking alcohol?
As mentioned earlier, moderate alcohol consumption is acceptable but excessive consumption can take your body a toll. It has an impact on most of the parts of your body, leading to severe conditions.
- Impact on Brain
- Slurred speech
- Heart damage
- Lung infection
- Liver damage
- Stomach distress and diarrhea
- Sexual dysfunction and infertility
- Thinning bones, muscles cramps and numbness
Drinking reduces your body’s natural immune system, making it difficult for the body to fight germs and viruses. It is difficult for diabetic patients to heal from cuts and soars, or it takes longer than usual. This makes him/her more prone to infections.
How many people die because of alcohol every year?
As per, World Health Organization (WHO) Report: 2018, around the world, 3 million deaths per year result from excessive use of alcohol, this shows 5.3 % of all deaths. Alcohol consumption at an early age, like 20-39 years, causes 13.5% of total deaths.
Other than direct death, the overdose of alcohol has a social and financial impact on individuals, families, and society.
How many diabetics die because of alcohol?
According to a study, Diabetic patients are more likely to die from accidents, suicide and other alcohol-related factors. The main reason for deaths is the phycological pressure to deal with the disease for the lifetime and changing the lifestyle forever. Also, because of the anxiety and fear of impact, diabetic tend not to control the quantity of alcohol he/she should consume.
Can you drink alcohol if you have diabetes?
Drinking alcohol can lead to a sudden rise or fall in blood sugar level, especially in the case of the diabetic patient. Additionally, alcohol has a lot of calories, making it worsen for a patient. Drinking after checking Blood Sugar Level is the best way to control any health loss.
If you have diabetes but want to relax with an alcoholic drink, it’s essential to know what cocktails are most appropriate for people with diabetes. Avoid mixing sugary ingredients or elements rich in carbs, and select beverages that are not very sugary.
Distilled spirit, neat or on the rocks like whiskey, scotch, bourbon, and rye, are good choices. They have no carbs, so they make a decent drink for someone with diabetes. Avoid flavored whiskies, which may have sugar syrup added.
Club soda and soda water are excellent mixers for people with diabetes because they don’t have any calories, sugar, or carbs. Drinking wine, if you have T1D or T2D, is fine, but check with your doctor. One can drinks sangria and other mixed drink only after knowing the ingredients in them, as they may vary from place to place.
Managing your blood sugar levels can be tricky for Type 1 diabetes patients consuming alcohol. Alcohol, lots of alcohol, can make your blood sugar drop too low, leading to hypo when you’re drinking or the day after.
Can alcohol-induced diabetes be reversed?
Avoiding alcohol for a short duration can improve blood sugar levels, as per a current UK study. Yet, few research types suggest that moderate/ balanced consumption can be rather beneficial for a diabetes patient.
Type 2 diabetes is not curable, but proper diet and weight control can help reach the correct blood sugar levels. One can even stop the medications if follow above mentioned things religiously. So, management of type 2 diabetes is possible.
What are the different treatment options?
T1D is the same as T2D, but the former is generally develops during early age and is not related to diet. Scientists are still searching the precise reason for type 1 diabetes. The most common reasons are genetics and hereditary.
If you are suffering fromT1D, your pancreas produces no insulin or very little insulin. Injecting insulin is critical to control it.
Type 1 diabetes is not curable, and it is not possible to reverse it. But it is possible to control it. The symptom of this is like those of type 2 diabetes.
In case of both, always consult/visit your doctor before changing your medicines. Your regular doctor can guide you create a balanced and appropriate meal plan as per your medications and blood sugar levels.
Treatment for type 2 diabetes includes:
- Checking blood sugar levels
- using insulin or medication when needed
- eating a healthy, well-balanced diet
- losing excess weight
The most common factor found in cases of Type 2 diabetes reversal is weight loss and controlled meals. As excess fat in the body affects the production of insulin and how it’s used. Doctors also recommend losing weight through diet and exercise. Few diabetes medications have weight loss as a side effect which can also help treat or manage diabetes.
Other research trusted source has shown that bariatric surgery can reverse type 2 diabetes. It’s one of the few ways to reverse diabetes for an extended period.
One may choose any way; exercise, diet or surgery, still weight control for the long term can only remove/control diabetes.
Alcoholic diabetic life expectancy
People suffering from diabetes who drink alcohol must be aware of some complications. There is a certain alcoholic diabetic life expectancy that one must be aware of. Let us have a look at some facts listed below:
- Alcohol associates with the medication of diabetes – The amount of alcohol you consume affects the blood glucose levels. It makes the blood sugar level rise or fall depending on the quantity consumed. Certain pills like meglitinides and sulfonylureas lower blood sugar levels. They make insulin by stimulating the pancreas. The lowering of blood sugar levels combined with alcohol leads to insulin shock or hypoglycemia. The condition of hypoglycemia is a medical emergency.
- Alcohol bars the liver from doing its job – The liver stores glycogen which is a source of glucose when one has not eaten food. When you consume alcohol, the liver works to eliminate it from your body instead of regulating the blood sugar level. Therefore, you must not consume alcohol when your blood sugar level is low.
- Do not consume alcohol on an empty stomach – Food slows the rate of absorption of alcohol in the bloodstream. In case you plan to drink alcohol, make sure to eat a snack or a light meal comprising carbohydrates.
- Test your blood sugar level before consuming an alcoholic beverage – Alcohol bars the ability of your liver to produce glucose. Hence, be sure of your blood sugar level before you consume alcohol.
- Alcohol can lead to hypoglycemia – After 12 hours of drinking alcohol as well as after a few minutes of consuming it, the blood glucose level lowers. After drinking alcohol, make sure to check your blood sugar level and see that it is within the safe limit. And, in case the blood sugar level is low, eat a snack.
- Drinking slowly can save your life – Drinking way too much alcohol can make you feel disoriented, drowsy, and dizzy. These are also the symptoms of hypoglycemia. These issues can be avoided when you do not drink too much and keep the amounts moderate. Also, if you are hypoglycemic, do carry a snack along in case of emergencies.
- You can live longer by drinking within limits – If you are a diabetic, your healthcare expert would mention your drinking limits. Keeping your health conditions in mind, they may bar you from consuming alcohol. In several cases, females suffering from diabetes are suggested not to consume more than a drink a day. Men are suggested to limit their intake to two drinks a day.
Occasional drinking of alcohol, not create high or low blood sugar. Instead, it can be beneficial. But, regular intake of even a tiny quantity of alcohol impacts diabetes/blood sugar levels. That can shoot up the risk of diabetes-prone diseases. Moderate drinking, frequent blood sugar testing, and regular consultation from a doctor are crucial to strike the balance between alcohol and diabetes impact.