Being Type 1 and drinking Alcohol

I found out I have diabetes nearly 4 weeks ago, and have not had a sip of alcohol since. My doctors recommend I stay away from booze, but I wanted some feedback from people who have personal experience with being diabetic and drinking.

Basically my questions consit of:
What is the best type of alcohol to drink? (whiskey, vodka, beer…etc)

What type of effect does alcohol have on your blood glucose levels?

I have been taught that distilled alcohols (whiskey, gin, etc) and also wines do not contain carbohydrates, but they can LOWER your glucose level some time after you ingest them – some three to five hours, and hence could give you a hypoglycemic reaction. Beer does contain glucose, and can increase your blood sugar levels. I trust others with more expertise can give you more expert advice than I can.

Marty…research the past blogs. I just found a discussion on alcohol last night. Don’t dispare…you can drink.

Hi Marty,
I was dx’d 6 months ago and feared the same…“what, I can’t drink”. Red wine is my friend and tends to lower my bs slightly, light beers (less carbs) have little effect on my sugars as well. Dark beers (porters are my fav) spike my sugars. I also drink vodka with Fuze low carb bottled juice, with little effects.
From other discussions on this site I have read, everyone recommends testing every couple hours and make sure you eat and of course always drink in moderation.
Good Luck & Cheers!

Hello Marty

Unless there are medical reasons why you should completely avoid alcohol, you can still enjoy a drink!

Beers, ciders, lagers, liqueuers, fortfied wines, mulled wine, stout, white wines, rosé wines, sparkling wines and champagne all contain either traces of or a certain amount of carbohydrate that you would have to think about accounting for if you want to drink more than just an odd glass.

Red wine contains no carbohydrate and spirits (gin, brandy, rum, vodka, whisky) contain just negligible traces - but if you mix spirits with orange juice or non-diet soft drinks, you’ll have to account for this accordingly.

Overindulging in alcohol (getting paralytically drunk!) can lower you BG and if you do get dangerously drunk this can mask the symptoms of a hypo and put you in a difficult situation, especially if you’re out on the town with friends and where lots of people have had quite a bit to drink and your hypo is interpreted as just drunkenness.

Mixing drinks and drinking on an empty stomach is not recommended for anyone.

Because you’re recently diagnosed, you might want to think about going to a bookstore and getting a food and diet counter book. These books are generally cheap and they list nutritional information for foodstuffs and drinks. They’re really useful to have. I refer to mine quite a lot.



Welcome to TuD;) there are a few member’s around the community who drinks beer or whatever. If you drink, be careful. Test your bg’s often and think moderation.


It is my understanding that when the liver is trying to filter out the alcohols, it is not produceing glucose, therefore lowers your numbers??

Interesting topic! As I sit and enjoy my rather yummy glass of red wine!!! I was a micro brew crazed beer head before my DX in November 08. I waited for a a bit after my DX before I explored the world of alcohol again. I wanted to get my levels under control and learn as much as I could about the Big D. My first sip after DX was Scotch… OOPS empty stomach dropped low. Not really a fan of Scotch anyways. Next low carb beer. Why not just drink water. Next a good dry red wine. Yes! I have found that a glass is good.

The weather is here, wish you were beautiful.:wink:


Hi Marty,


Several good discussions here on drinking, if you want to do a search.

Like the others have mentioned, drinking lowers my BG as well. I don’t drink on an empty stomach & never have more than two glasses of wine, or two cocktails. Distilled alcohol has zero carbs, just be careful what you use as a mixer.

Red wine does have carbs, but not many. Beer–check the label because it varies.

Test after you drink so you’ll know how it effects you.

Have a drink & enjoy!


No reason to stop enjoying a couple of drinks. Some people report that alcohol drops their BG but I wear CGM and I really have never had an issue with this. It is a good idea to always eat some food that way you never have to worry about going low.

I definitely have a BG drop when I drink - primarily gin and diet tonic, red wine, jack and diet coke, good bourbon, and single malt scotch. None of that blended scotch, though - might as well drink paint thinner.

(Oh, and as a PSA for those who’ll be celebrating Passover, or who don’t like their alcohol with a side of DKA, I’d avoid the Manischewitz-type wines. IIRC, they have 28g of carbs per 8 oz serving, or something obscene like that.)

That is a lot of booze I drink . . . .

I used to make sure i went to bed with a BG of at least 200 after drinking so i wouldn’t go low in the middle of the night. When i finally got honest with myself, I realized one drink was too many, and a thousand was not enough. If you understand that, you’ll understand me. I can’t drink alcohol safely in any amount safely so I asbstain completly and have done so for many years. I’m happy for those of you who can. God bless.

hold on!!!
You mean I can drink!
Both the bottles of Metformin and glimepiride say " Do not drink alchohol when taking this medication".
Holy Moly I emptied out 2 bottles of Jameson 12 y/o and 4 bottles of Maker’s Mark when I was diagnosed and even went through St Patty’s Day and my birthday with nary a drop!
Good thing I found this space…

Hold on again, I am from the David school of partaking. (one’s too many and a hundred’s not enough)
maybe I should stay clean.

Good point! With your Liver taking care of the Alcohol it stops making Glucose when your BG gets low. Case in point… if your sugar is low, you are going to have to treat it, and treat it often to make sure it is on it’s way up. NOT LIKE A NORMAL LOW. More dangerous!

Make sure to check BG before bed and watch out for lows while sleeping and the next morning.

Here’s an article about the topic I wrote not too long ago:

pumpers -to avoid lows that sometimes affect you later on - when you stop drinking decrease your basal by 50% for one hour the number of drinks you have consumed:

2 beers/wine/liquor - means reduce basal to 50% for 2 hours
3 beers/wine/liquor - means reduce basal to 50% for 3 hours
4 beers/wine/liquor - means reduce basal to 50% for 4 hours

I would be a very unhappy camper if I could no longer enjoy a nice red wine with a good meal! Alcohol sugar can actually drop your blg levels, so it should always be used in moderation, and always with food, as the that drop can happen anytime up to 12 or so hours after drinking. It stops or slows your liver from releasing glucose into your system, so along with insulin on board, you can go low.

I don’t know if there’s a best. I suspect it’s more about the amount of alchohol, so one (approx) (Canadian) beer=1 red wine=one highball and so on.