Can Quitting Alcohol Reverse Diabetes? Learn Everything In 5 Mins!!

Dr. Pakhi Sharma (MBBS)
Dr. Pakhi Sharma (MBBS)

General Physician | 6+ years

Can Qutting Alcohol Reverse Diabetes
Living with diabetes, hypertension or any other chronic disease requires you to do multiple things – track vitals, take medicines & stay on top of your health at all times. If this overwhelms you, switch to Phable – India’s No. 1 BP & Sugar Management App to manage your condition better. Take charge of your health and stay connected with doctors, order medicines and do a whole lot more from the comfort of your home.

Few studies have shown that alcohol consumption can affect blood sugar levels which is true to have been believed over centuries. However, most people are skeptical about how alcohol consumption can potentially harm blood sugar levels. Can alcohol cause diabetes? OR can quitting alcohol reverse diabetes entirely? 

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    Is Alcohol Safe for Diabetes?
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    How is Alcohol Risky for Diabetes?
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    Can Quitting Alcohol reverse Diabetes?
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    What is the Safe Limit of Alcohol for Diabetic Patients?
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    Risks of Overconsumption of Alcohol for Diabetics
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    Precautions to Be Taken by Diabetics while Consuming Alcohol
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    Don’t Have Time To Read?
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Is Alcohol Safe For Diabetes?

According to scientific studies, alcohol is not considered entirely safe for people with diabetes. Experts and medical professionals suggest that the relation between alcohol and diabetes has never been beneficial, especially when the consumption is higher. However, occasional drinking in limited amounts does not drastically affect blood sugar levels.

How Is Alcohol Risky for Diabetes?

Alcohol indirectly impacts blood glucose levels in people with diabetes. Most alcoholic drinks have a very high glycemic index (GI). Thus, these beverages can drastically increase and spike blood sugar levels. It is caused due to the artificial sugar present in alcoholic drinks.

Can Quitting Alcohol Reverse Diabetes?

Diabetes is a lifestyle condition that must be managed through a healthy diet, medication, and regular exercise. Hence, while giving up alcohol cannot entirely reverse diabetes, abstaining for a short term has been proven to improve insulin resistance and lower blood sugar levels in moderate drinkers. Alcohol abstinence can reduce the risk of obesity, which further helps stabilize blood glucose levels.

What Is The Safe Limit of Alcohol For Diabetic Patients?

Diabetic men can drink up to two alcoholic drinks a day, whereas diabetic women can drink one beverage a day. A drink can be five oz. of wine, 1½ oz. of liquor, or 12 oz. of beer. Also, do not mix alcohol with sugary beverages like cold drinks or sweet wine. 


Risks of Over Consuming Alcohol For Diabetics

Excessive alcohol consumption can intensely affect significant organs, prompting extreme reactions. Within a few hours of drinking, alcohol can cause your blood sugar levels to drop. It may react with insulin and intensify your diabetes medication’s effects, causing dangerously low blood glucose levels or hypoglycemia.

  • Nerve damage
  • Slurred speech
  • Heart damage
  • Lung infection
  • Liver damage
  • Pancreatitis
  • Fatigue
  • Stomach pain and diarrhea
  • Sexual dysfunction and infertility
  • Thinning bones, muscles spasms, and numbness

Precautions To Be Taken by Diabetics While Consuming Alcohol

  • Do not have multiple drinks or more than 30 ml liquor beverages in a one-day time frame.
  • Drink liquor only with food, as the carbohydrates slow down the rate at which alcohol is absorbed, thus preventing blood sugar fluctuations.
  • Drink slowly.
  • Avoid ‘sweet’ blended beverages, sweet wines, or cordials to prevent glucose spikes.
  • Mix alcohol with water, club pop, or delicate diet drinks.

Don’t Have Time To Read?

  • According to experts, excessive alcoholic drinks for diabetics are not safe.
  • Alcoholic drinks are rich in artificial sugar and have a high GI, which increases blood sugar levels.
  • Abstain from alcohol to lower insulin resistance and reduce the risk of obesity, which helps stabilize blood sugar levels.
  • Male diabetics must not consume over two alcoholic drinks per day, while female diabetics should not drink more than once per day.
  • Alcohol can lead to sudden drops in blood sugar. It may react with insulin and diabetes medications to cause hypoglycemia. Other risks of overconsumption include liver damage, lung infection, fatigue, and pancreatitis.
  • People with diabetes must drink alcohol only with food to slow its absorption and avoid sweet alcoholic beverages.
  • Use Phable Care App to consult India’s leading diabetologists, order medicines, book lab tests, integrate Accu-Chek instant and other devices to get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Let’s treat diabetes together.

Frequently Asked Questions

A regular intake of even a little alcohol can affect blood sugar levels. While quitting alcohol cannot reverse diabetes, abstaining has proven to be beneficial for lowering insulin resistance, even for a short period. It also reduces obesity risk, which helps stabilize glucose levels. 

Alcohol in itself isn't exceptionally safe. The additional sugar in alcoholic drinks adversely impacts glucose levels in people with diabetes. Excessive consumption can react with insulin and diabetes medication to cause hypoglycemia.

Diabetic men can drink twice a day, whereas women can drink once daily. Closely monitoring blood glucose, drinking along with food, and having plain, unsweetened drinks are advised.

Diabetic men should stick to the safe limit of two drinks, whereas women should stick to one drink, i.e., five oz. of wine, 1½ oz. of liquor, or 12 oz. of beer. Avoid mixing with any sugary beverages like cold drinks or sweet wine.

The safest alcoholic drinks for diabetics are those with a low sugar or carb content. That includes light brews, red and white wine, refined spirits, and low-carb mixed drinks, as long as you stay away from sweet squeezes or syrups. Conventional mixed drinks, dessert wines, and cream alcohols will generally have higher sugar counts, which might spike glucose levels.

Dr. Pakhi Sharma
Dr. Pakhi Sharma, MBBS
(General physician, 6+ years)
An expert in obstetrics and medical emergencies, Dr. Pakhi Sharma, an alumni of Sri Devaraj Urs University of Higher Education and Research Centre, is a general physician working at Phablecare. She has 6+ years of work experience spread across gynaecology and obstetrics, family medicine, and medical emergencies at renowned hospitals and clinics.

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