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Why Does Alcohol Cause Blood Sugar To Drop?

Hypoglycemia And Alcohol

Hypoglycemia And Alcohol

Dear Alice, Are there different sugar levels in different alcoholic beverages? I am hypoglycemic and have noticed different hangover levels contingent on the sugar level of alcohol consumed. Some have told me that Scotch has the least amount of sugar of all alcoholic beverages. Since I occasionally enjoy a drink, I would appreciate knowing the lowest sugar content. Dear Reader, Sugar has a sneaky way of making it into many foods and beverages. Keeping track of how much of the sweet stuff you consume is a healthy habit to get into — especially if you’re also worried about hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). While you’re right that not all alcoholic drinks are created equal, it’s usually not the type of alcohol (for example, scotch, as you mentioned, versus vodka or tequila) that’s contributing to the sugar count. Mixers, on the other hand, such as fruit juices and sodas, can be loaded with sugar, and may be the real culprits behind the differences you notice. To take a pass on a hangover and keep your blood sugar in a safe range, you may want to opt for non-sugary drinks and try to eat plenty of foods with proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates — before, during, and after drinking. Why? Keep reading to find out! So what exactly causes the spikes and dips in your blood sugar (also called blood glucose) after imbibing an alcoholic beverage? Though research is still on-going, one hypothesis is that while the liver is busy processing the alcohol, it isn’t able to store or release glucose into the bloodstream (this can last as long as 16 to 24 hours after your last drink). Imagine a temporary freeze on your body’s glucose account. This leads to acute hypoglycemia and all the uncomfortable symptoms that come with it (such as excessive hunger, headache, s Continue reading >>

Does Wine Help Or Harm People With Diabetes?

Does Wine Help Or Harm People With Diabetes?

With commentary from study author Meir Stampfer, MD, DrPH, professor of epidemiology and nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Doctors have long faced a paradox when advising their patients with type 2 diabetes on drinking alcohol. Moderate drinking has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, which would benefit people with diabetes who are at increased risk of the disease. Yet, people with diabetes have traditionally been advised to reduce their alcohol consumption to help better control their glucose levels. Now preliminary results of a new study presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Prague, found that adults with diabetes may be able to safely drink in moderation and reap the heart benefits. The study randomly assigned 224 patients with controlled type 2 diabetes to have either mineral water, white wine or red wine (about a 5-ounce serving of wine) with dinner every night for two years. All patients were following a healthy Mediterranean diet with no calorie restrictions. Researchers found that red-wine drinkers had a modest improvement in high-density lipoproteins (HDL), the good cholesterol, and also had improved apolipoprotein A1, a component of HDL. Those who drank red or white wine also saw modest improvements in glucose metabolism. Drinking one 5-ounce serving of red or white wine wasn’t associated with any negative effect on medication use, blood pressure or liver function tests. “Obviously excess drinking is harmful, but there is no good evidence to discourage moderate consumption among diabetics who have no other contraindication,” says Meir Stampfer, MD, DrPH, professor of epidemiology and nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and one of the authors of the study. “This first long-term large scale alc Continue reading >>

What You Need To Know About Alcoholism And Hypoglycemia

What You Need To Know About Alcoholism And Hypoglycemia

Alcoholism and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) go hand in hand, and it is this condition that is often responsible for many of the debilitating symptoms that recovering alcoholics, and other addicts experience, like anxiety, depression, shaking and nervousness, crankiness, irritability, mental confusion, uncontrollable hunger, weakness, impaired concentration, mood swings, fatigue and more. As a matter of fact, the term "dry drunk syndrome" is really the result of low blood sugar. Not only that, hypoglycemia is often a major trigger for relapse. When blood sugar drops too low, so do neurotransmitters, and this can result in cravings for your substance of choice. In End Your Addiction Now, Dr. Charles Gant tells us that we experience hunger as an unpleasant event because there is a drop in neurotransmitters. As you have learned throughout the pages of this website, addiction to alcohol or any other substance, is caused by an imbalance or depletion in neurotransmitters in the brain and the primary goal in recovery is to restore balance to those neurotransmitters. Your brain needs glucose to function and it extracts glucose from the food that you eat. A common misconception in society is that we need to eat sugar and carbohydrates to provide the body with glucose, but that is not really true. Eating sugar and carbohydrates is actually the cause of blood sugar problems. The body can actually convert protein and a fat byproduct called glycerol into glucose, through a process called gluconeogenesis, which is the body's preferred and healthier way of maintaining blood sugar. When you eat sugar, or carbohydrates of any kind,(including whole grains and potatoes) they are broken down very quickly into sugar and this brings the blood glucose levels up very high, which also causes a Continue reading >>

Diabetes & Alcohol

Diabetes & Alcohol

Drinking alcohol can lead to serious low blood sugar reactions. Alcohol can also affect diabetic nerve damage, eye disease, and high blood triglycerides. You may wonder if drinking alcohol is safe for people with diabetes. If you drink alcohol, there are some things you need to know first about alcohol safety. Is it Safe to Drink Alcohol? Check with your doctor to make sure alcohol doesn’t interfere with your medications or complicate any of your medical conditions. Drinking alcohol can lead to serious low blood sugar reactions, especially if you take insulin or types of diabetes pills that stimulate the release of insulin from the pancreas. Alcohol can also affect other medical conditions you may have, like diabetic nerve damage, diabetic eye disease, and high blood triglycerides. Get guidelines for alcohol use from your medical provider. How Much Alcohol Can I Drink? If you choose to drink alcohol, drink in moderation. Limit your intake of alcohol to no more than one serving per day for women, and no more than two servings per day for men. One serving size of alcohol equals: 12 ounces of beer 5 ounces of wine 1½ ounces of distilled spirits (such as rum, whiskey, gin, etc.) Alcohol and Risk of Low Blood Sugar If you are managing your diabetes with diet and exercise alone, drinking alcohol can stil increase your risk of low blood sugars. And if you take insulin or types of diabetes pills that stimulate insulin production, drinking alcohol can lead to even more serious low blood sugar reactions. Normally, the liver releases glucose to maintain blood sugar levels. But when you drink alcohol, the liver is busy breaking the alcohol down, so it does a poor job of releasing glucose into the bloodstream. This can lead to a drop in blood sugar levels if you are drinking alco Continue reading >>

10 Things To Remember About Alcohol And Blood Sugar

10 Things To Remember About Alcohol And Blood Sugar

If you can keep your alcohol consumption to one drink or under, you're probably okay, since most studies don't show increased risks for a single glass. Skip mixed cocktails, since they tend to be loaded with sugar, calories, and carbs, and don't drink on an empty stomach because it can spike blood sugar. Role-play difficult situations. If you dread being asked about why you won't eat cake or drink alcohol, you feel like you can't ask the doctor the questions you want answered, or you have an overbearing family member you don't know how to confront, practice how you'll handle the situation next time with a close friend or a counselor playing the other part. This way you can fine-tune your approach before you have to use it. If you've enjoyed so much as a glass of wine or beer in the hours leading up to your bedtime, do a quick check of your glucose levels. If your blood sugar is low, have a small snack if you need one before crawling under the covers. Alcohol makes it difficult for your body to recover from low blood sugar; having a bite to eat will moderate its effects. Alcohol and vigorous sex both lower blood sugar, and combining the two could cause a dangerous low. Be sure to monitor your blood glucose if you're having 'a glass of wine and thou.' This is critical, and the instructions for you might be different than for somebody else, so pay careful attention, and take notes. Make sure you know if you should take your medication or insulin before or after meals, at night or in the morning, with or without food, etcetera. Do you need to avoid alcohol? Are there potential interactions with other drugs that you should know about? This information will be in the bag when you pick up your prescription, but the language can be hard to understand, so it doesn't hurt to ask Continue reading >>

Alcohol And Nutrition

Alcohol And Nutrition

Alcohol is a part of many social occasions, from family dinners to parties, to sporting events and nightcaps. The problems associated with alcoholism are well known, but what about the impact of social drinking or a moderate intake of alcohol? Does alcohol belong in our diet, or does the risk that it presents outweigh any benefits that may be derived from consuming it? The truth is that no one needs alcohol to live, so regardless of what you've heard or want to believe, alcohol is not essential in our diets. We consume alcohol to relax, socialize, and/or celebrate. Depending on your health, age, and the amount that you consume there may be some added health benefits, but the negative consequences when consumed in excess far outweigh these benefits. Many believe that as long as they are not an alcoholic they are not at risk for any health problems. This may or may not be the case depending on many factors. If you want to be able to drink and gain any benefits that exist, while avoiding any of the negative consequences, you need to understand alcohol and learn about the research and guidelines for safely consuming it in moderation. Good nutrition can help to improve your health and prevent diseases. The essential nutrients that your body needs are carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water. The term "essential" means that if you remove one of these nutrients from your diet, there will be a deficiency that causes health problems. Alcohol would not fall under the category of an essential nutrient because not having it in your diet does not lead to any sort of deficiency. Alcoholic beverages primarily consist of water, alcohol (ethanol), and different amounts of sugar. The calories come from the alcohol and sugar and are considered "empty calories" because of Continue reading >>

Type 2 Diabetes And Alcohol: Proceed With Caution

Type 2 Diabetes And Alcohol: Proceed With Caution

Alcohol can worsen diabetes-related nerve damage.(RON CHAPPLE STOCK/CORBIS)Hoping for a beer at the ball game, or a glass of wine with dinner? If you have type 2 diabetes, that's probably OK as long as your blood sugar is under control, you don't have any complications that are affected by alcohol (such as high blood pressure), and you know how the drink will affect your blood sugar, according to the American Diabetes Association. An alcohol-containing drink a day might even help your heart (though if you don't already drink, most experts say that's not a reason to start). In moderation, alcohol may cut heart disease risk According to a study by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, women with type 2 diabetes who drank relatively small amounts of alcohol had a lower heart-disease risk than those who abstained. A second study found that men with diabetes had the same reduction in heart risk with a moderate alcohol intake as non-diabetic men. In general, the recommendations for alcohol consumption for someone with type 2 diabetes are the same as anyone else: no more than two drinks per day for men and no more than one drink per day for women. (Make sure to measure: A drink serving is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor such as scotch, gin, tequila, or vodka.) People with diabetes who choose to drink need to take extra care keeping food, medications, alcohol, and blood sugars in balance. Janis Roszler, RD, a certified diabetes educator in Miami, Fla., recommends: Mixing alcoholic drinks with water or calorie-free diet sodas instead of sugary (and calorie- and carbohydrate-laden) sodas and other mixers. Once you have had your drink, switch to a non-alcoholic drink, such as sparkling water, for the rest of the evening. Make sure yo Continue reading >>

Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia

Print Overview Hypoglycemia is a condition characterized by an abnormally low level of blood sugar (glucose), your body's main energy source. Hypoglycemia is commonly associated with the treatment of diabetes. However, a variety of conditions, many of them rare, can cause low blood sugar in people without diabetes. Like fever, hypoglycemia isn't a disease itself — it's an indicator of a health problem. Immediate treatment of hypoglycemia involves quick steps to get your blood sugar level back into a normal range — about 70 to 110 milligrams per deciliter, or mg/dL (3.9 to 6.1 millimoles per liter, or mmol/L) — either with high-sugar foods or medications. Long-term treatment requires identifying and treating the underlying cause of hypoglycemia. Symptoms Similar to the way a car needs gas to run, your body and brain need a constant supply of sugar (glucose) to function properly. If glucose levels become too low, as occurs with hypoglycemia, it can cause these signs and symptoms: Heart palpitations Fatigue Pale skin Shakiness Anxiety Sweating Hunger Irritability Tingling sensation around the mouth Crying out during sleep As hypoglycemia worsens, signs and symptoms may include: Confusion, abnormal behavior or both, such as the inability to complete routine tasks Visual disturbances, such as blurred vision Seizures Loss of consciousness People with severe hypoglycemia may appear as if they're intoxicated. They may slur their words and move clumsily. Many conditions other than hypoglycemia may cause these signs and symptoms. A blood sample to test your blood sugar level at the time of these signs and symptoms is how to know for sure that hypoglycemia is the cause. When to see a doctor Seek a doctor's help immediately if: You have what may be symptoms of hypoglycemia an Continue reading >>

Alcohol And Diabetes: How Does It Affect Blood Sugar Levels?

Alcohol And Diabetes: How Does It Affect Blood Sugar Levels?

For many people, a glass of alcohol here and there does not pose a problem. However, for those with health conditions, such as diabetes, alcohol can affect blood sugar levels and pose a health risk. Understanding what you are consuming and how alcohol influences blood glucose levels is particularly important for people with diabetes. Alcohol can interfere with blood sugar levels. People with diabetes should sip drinks slowly and not drink on an empty stomach. Alcohol and the body Alcohol is a depressant; it is classed as a "sedative-hypnotic drug" because it depresses the central nervous system. Every organ in the body can be affected by alcohol. Once consumed, it is rapidly absorbed by the stomach and small intestine and enters the bloodstream. In an average person, the liver can breaks down roughly one standard drink of alcohol per hour. Excess alcohol moves throughout the body. The amount not broken down by the liver is removed by the lungs,kidneys, and skin in urine and sweat. How alcohol affects a person's body depends on how much they consume. At low doses, alcohol can act as a stimulant - people may feel happy, or become talkative. Drinking too much alcohol, however, can impair the body. Alcohol and blood sugar levels A person's overall health plays a big role in how they respond to alcohol. People with diabetes or other blood sugar problems must be careful when consuming alcohol. Alcohol consumption can interfere with blood sugar as well as the hormones needed to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Frequent heavy drinkers can wipe out their energy storage in a few hours. Over time, excessive alcohol consumption can reduce the overall effectiveness of insulin. This results in high blood sugar levels. Many people with alcoholic liver disease also have either gluc Continue reading >>

Alcoholism And Diabetes: Exploring The Connection

Alcoholism And Diabetes: Exploring The Connection

According to the National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014, 29 million people in the U.S. (9.3 percent of the population) have diabetes. About 86 million adults have pre-diabetes, a condition that significantly increases their risks of developing diabetes. The onset of diabetes or concerns over the risk of developing the disease prompts many people to examine their food and lifestyle choices. Among the questions that top their minds is “Can I drink if I have diabetes?” According to the American Diabetes Association, most people with diabetes can drink a moderate amount of alcohol if their blood sugar level is well under control. The key here is moderation. Moderate amount of alcohol is known to be beneficial for the heart and can reduce the risk of developing heart disease. However, you should always consult your doctor to find out if alcohol is safe for you. Before delving into the correlation between alcoholism and diabetes, learn more about diabetes. This knowledge will help you understand why doctors and scientists warn against excessive drinking. Diabetes is a life-long condition where either the body (the pancreas) does not produce adequate insulin or the insulin does not work as expected. Insulin is a hormone that facilitates the conversion of glucose in the bloodstream to cellular energy that fuels us. Diabetics have an excess of glucose in the bloodstream. Over time, excessive blood glucose levels damage all the major organs of the body, like the heart, kidneys, and eyes. Unmanaged diabetes can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, strokes, nerve damage, blindness, and kidney failure. Diabetes: Type I and Type II The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases classifies the types of diabetes. Type I diabetes is the least common Continue reading >>

Drinking Alcohol & Blood Glucose Level

Drinking Alcohol & Blood Glucose Level

Blood glucose levels, also known as blood sugar levels, can be influenced by alcohol consumption. Interestingly enough, though, different amounts of alcohol can have opposite effects on blood sugar. While moderate amounts of alcohol can create a rise in blood sugar, excessive alcohol consumption can cause blood sugar levels to drop to dangerously low levels. These effects, however, are mostly associated with diabetics. Blood glucose can come from three sources: diet, stored glucose and glucose made by the body from other nutrients. The two key hormones that are necessary in regulating blood glucose levels are insulin and glucagon. When blood sugar drops, the body reacts by producing more, and when blood sugar rises, the body releases insulin to maintain balance. Alcohol can affect the amount of blood sugar and the amount of insulin in the body, particularly when drunk in high amounts. Alcohol Consumption When you consume an alcoholic drink, the alcohol moves directly into the bloodstream without being metabolized in the stomach. It only takes five minutes for alcohol to become detectable in the bloodstream, where it then travels to the liver to be metabolized. For most people it takes about two hours for the liver to metabolize a single drink. If you continue to drink alcohol faster than your liver can metabolize it, the excess alcohol is carried by the bloodstream to the brain and other areas of the body. For those taking insulin -- a hormone that regulates glucose in the blood -- this can lead to low blood sugar because the liver is busy removing alcohol from the bloodstream rather than regulating blood sugar levels. High Blood Sugar and Hypoglycemia In frequent drinkers, the body can become less sensitive to insulin, which can result in high blood sugar levels. Accor Continue reading >>

Can Drinking Beer Lower Blood Glucose Level?

Can Drinking Beer Lower Blood Glucose Level?

Using beer monotherapy to control blood sugar has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. :-) Drinking beer can lower your blood sugar, especially if you drink a lot of it, but not in the way you want it too. If you really tie one on, not that I’m recommending it, your blood sugar will definitely drop. The problem is that it will drop 6-10 hours downstream when you are sleeping it off. Depending on what other meds you are on for your diabetes, it might even drop you low enough to kill you. In the mean time, before your blood sugar drops so low that you die, your sugar will actually go up because beer has quite a few carbohydrates. Let’s face it, a can of beer is just a fermented bowl of oatmeal, after all. But assuming you don’t drink enough to kill yourself, drinking a lot of beer can actually make your diabetes worse because beer has a lot of calories, which can make you fat, which can make your insulin resistance worse, which will make your blood sugars higher, which will kill you very slowly instead. Don’t get me wrong. Sorry wives of beer drinkers: your newly diabetic husband can still have his beer. But like anything else with diabetes, moderation is the key. So don’t overdo it. Remember that too much alcohol is a recipe for too low blood sugar. Enjoy all that life has to offer, just enjoy it in moderation. Continue reading >>

Alcohol And Hypoglycemia

Alcohol And Hypoglycemia

Tweet It’s well known that alcohol can affect our liver in the long term but it also has affects in the short term that can make hypoglycemia more likely. We take a look at why alcohol makes us more likely to go hypo, when this can be at its most dangerous and how we can prevent hypos from occurring. The following information is written to be of use for people that have an increased risk of hypoglycemia, such as those that take insulin, sulfoylureas and prandial glucose regulators. The liver and blood glucose levels To understand how alcohol can raise the risk of hypoglycemia, it helps to understand how our liver works. The liver plays an important part in blood glucose regulation by steadily releasing glucose into the blood through the day. The liver is able to carry a stored version of glucose called glycogen which it can convert into glucose for release into the bloodstream. The steady blood glucose raising effect of the liver explains why people with type 1 diabetes must always have an injection of longer term insulin each day, because otherwise the glucose released by the liver through the day would begin to raise blood sugar levels too high. Read more on the liver and blood glucose levels Alcohol and the liver When we drink alcohol, the alcohol can inhibit the liver’s ability to release glucose into the blood. This can be particularly significant for people on stronger medication such as insulin because it can mean that the liver is not able to release enough glycogen to keep our blood glucose levels from going too low under the influence of the insulin in our body. The impairment of the liver by alcohol can last for several hours after drinking so it is important to be aware of this. A potentially dangerous situation can occur if you go to sleep without beari Continue reading >>

Non-diabetic Hypoglycemia

Non-diabetic Hypoglycemia

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: What is non-diabetic hypoglycemia? Non-diabetic hypoglycemia is a condition that causes the sugar (glucose) in your blood to drop too low. This can happen in people who do not have diabetes. The 2 types of non-diabetic hypoglycemia are fasting hypoglycemia and reactive hypoglycemia. Fasting hypoglycemia often happens after the person goes without food for 8 hours or longer. Reactive hypoglycemia usually happens about 2 to 4 hours after a meal. When your blood sugar level is low, your muscles and brain cells do not have enough energy to work well. What causes non-diabetic hypoglycemia? Fasting hypoglycemia: Certain medicines or herbal supplements such as fenugreek, ginseng, or cinnamon Alcohol Exercise Medical conditions such as liver disease, hypothyroidism, and tumors Eating disorders or malnutrition Stomach surgery or hemodialysis Reactive hypoglycemia: The causes of reactive hypoglycemia may be unknown. Hyperinsulinism Meals high in refined carbohydrates such as white bread or foods high in sugar Prediabetes Any surgery of the digestive system What are the signs and symptoms of non-diabetic hypoglycemia? Blurred vision or changes in vision Dizziness, lightheadedness, or shakiness Fatigue and weakness Fast or pounding heartbeat Sweating more than usual Headache Nausea or hunger Anxiety, Irritability, or confusion How is non-diabetic hypoglycemia diagnosed? Blood tests are done to measure your blood sugar levels. These tests may also be done to find the cause of your hypoglycemia. Fasting tests may be done. You may have an overnight fasting test or a 72-hour fasting test. After you have fasted overnight, your blood sugar levels will be tested 2 times. For a 72-hour fasting test, you will not be given food for a period of up to 72 hours. During th Continue reading >>

Some Words About Alcohol

Some Words About Alcohol

SOME WORDS ABOUT ALCOHOL Alcohol can provide calories, or energy, without directly raising blood sugar, but if you’re an insulin-dependent diabetic, you need to be cautious about drinking. Ethyl alcohol, which is the active ingredient in hard liquor, beer, and wine, has no direct effect on blood sugar because the body does not convert it into glucose. In the case of distilled spirits and very dry wine, the alcohol generally isn’t accompanied by enough carbohydrate to affect your blood sugar very much. For example, 100 proof gin has 83 calories per ounce. These extra calories can increase your weight slightly, but not your blood sugar. Different beers—ales, stouts, and lagers—can have varying amounts of carbohydrate, which is slow enough in its action that if you figure it into your meal plan, it may not raise your blood sugar. Mixed drinks and dessert wines can be loaded with sugar, so they’re best avoided. Exceptions would be a dry martini or mixed drinks that can be made with a sugar-free mixer, such as sugar-free tonic water. Ethyl alcohol, however, can indirectly lower the blood sugars of some diabetics if consumed at the time of a meal. It does this by partially paralyzing the liver and thereby inhibiting gluconeogenesis so that it can’t convert all the protein of the meal into glucose. For the average adult, this appears to be a significant effect with doses greater than 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, or one standard shot glass. If you have two 1.5-ounce servings of gin with a meal, your liver’s ability to convert protein into glucose may be impaired. If you’re insulin- dependent and your calculation of how much insulin you’ll require to cover your meal is based on, say, two hot dogs, and those hot dogs don’t get 7.5 percent converted to gluc Continue reading >>

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