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Enjoying Summer Sips While Keeping Your Blood Sugar in Check

Summer vacation is almost here. Many people are excited to relax and enjoy a refreshing adult drink. Like most things in life, moderation is key. Drinking alcohol affects the body, especially for those living with diabetes. It is important to understand how alcohol impacts blood sugar levels.

Alcohol lowers your blood sugar. This is because alcohol stops your liver from making glucose. Glucose is the fuel your body needs to work. When blood sugar is low, this is called hypoglycemia. You may feel dizzy, weak, and sick. These symptoms can last for up to 24 hours after drinking.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) says moderate drinking for women is one drink a day and up to two per day for men. A drink is defined as:

  • 12 ounces of beer
  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits

Light beers or dry wines are good choices. They have less alcohol and fewer calories. If you like mixed drinks, use diet soft drinks, water, or seltzer as your mixers. Avoid drinks high in sugar, including sweet wine and mixers like pina colada.

So, how can you enjoy your summer while making the best choices for your health? Here are a few tips:

1. Avoid drinking when your blood sugar is low.

2. Do not drink on an empty stomach: Eat a meal or snack before drinking alcohol.

3. Drink in moderation: Stick to the ADA’s guidelines for moderate drinking.

4. Always be careful drinking alcohol while on medication: Be aware of the side effects.

5. Check your blood sugar regularly: Be able to adjust to the effects of drinking.

6. Stay hydrated: Drink water in between drinks.

Understanding how alcohol changes your blood sugar when drinking is key. Check with your doctor or pharmacist for advice on drinking alcohol and managing diabetes. Cheers to a safe and healthy summer!

Author: Chandra Matthews, RDN, CDCES | CCS Health

This site is for educational purposes only. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider before making any decisions about your health.


Alcohol and diabetes. Alcohol and Diabetes | ADA. (n.d.).’s%20one%20drink%20a%20day,glucose)%20management%20and%20insulin%20sensitivity.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). What is a standard drink?. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.