Drinking with D: Diabetes and Alcohol

This weekend I was at a friends birthday, and as I poured my 3rd Vodka I rememembered (rather vaguely) something I read somewhere… Diabetics should not drink more than two standard drinks a day.

Here is a post that address a little bit the issue, and was wondering what others think…


Author of D and The Guy

i’ve never had a problem mixing diabetes and alcohol except higher blood sugars and in that case i just take some fast acting to cover what i’m drinking (which is usually beer). i don’t drink often, maybe every 6 months or more, because for anyone it is not healthy. as far as me saying drinking, i mean drinking to get drunk. i don’t see a problem with a glass of wine a day as long as you take insulin to cover it (easier for a type one, i know). i personally find drinking occasionally a huge stress relief even though i still have to think about my d while doing so.

I haven’t had problems w drinking and T1D. I am not a heavy drinker, but when I do, I have not “crashed”. I make sure to eat BEFORE drinking (even if just a few pieces of bread) and inject maybe HALF of my normal dosage.

This is what I’ve heard: drinking inhibits the cells from absorbing insulin. Something about the inebriated liver hindering the normal cell productions? I’m not sure, honestly.

All I do know is that when I drink, after a few carbs (2 servings?) and half the insulin dosage, I’m okay throughout the night with beer. If I drink mixed drinks, I inject throughout the night (sometimes up to five shots in one night) to cover for “Mai Thais” and “Sex on the Beach” and “Smirnoff Ice” and “Mike’s Hard Lemonade” and “Sangria”. I mean those drinks have fruits and sugars in them, so obviously I’d have to cover those.

But, regular beer is no big deal for me. I drink a lot of Michelob Ultra (which is almost a “free” drink), am able to get a bit tipsy off a few of those, and that’s enough for me.

This works for me. I have not had any trouble. I tend to keep myself on the “high” side (around 150-200) on those nights because I don’t want to “crash”.

Totally agree and this is how I do it. Stick with low carb beers Coors light, Miller light etc. Things like Guinness and majority of Micro brews will come in around 20-30 carbs a drink or a juice box. If your drinking liquior clear is the way to go. Bacardi silver and diet coke is 0 carbs 0 sugar if I’m not mistaken or it’s extremely low. Also a common problem i had early on if drinking micro brews or mixed drinks that aren’t light in sugar they will run you very high then come down on their own after a few hours. If you inject any humalog during the high alcohol time you will probably crash. If you do inject go in half doses as stated before. My general rule is stick to clear vodka, clear rum, etc. and diet. And always make sure you have some food or carb handy just in case. Odds are you’ll wake up with an awesome hangover and b.s. around 300 that will probably crash later in the day if you do any sort of exercise. just my 2 cents…

crazy how people are so different. drinking makes me high, even clear stuff and light beers and wine. i usually go to bed high (250-300) and wake up perfect (100-120). i can take the full amount of insulin for the carbs i am drinking and i don’t crash.

one subject i do want to bring up…does anyone think being drunk feels a lot like being low?? i’m always testing when i drink because i can’t tell if i’m low or tipsy.

haha… yeah. I always feel “high” when I drink, even though I’m sometimes completely fine.
I’m a crazy tester when I’m drinking. I think that’s maybe why I don’t do it much- it’s such a hassle! haha.

the worse is when you drop an unused precious strip while testing haha. then talent has to kick in to pick it up!!

I haven’t figured out if it’s the beer or the poor food choices I make while drinking that make me go high, I have never gone low from drinking since the D.

Hi folks! I’m newly diagnosed type 1 at the age of 28, thought I was out of the woods but no such luck! Anyways, I went out drinking tonight for the first time since my diagnosis and after two martinis, vodka and olive, I felt extremely drunk. I tested and was at 430! I didn’t cover my drinks because a diabetic friend told me alcohol will lower bs on it’s own. Three hours later, I’m at 278. How do you figure out how low alcohol will bring down bs? Is it trial and error?


Alcohol, distilled spirits/dry wine, lower BG by preventing the liver from releasing glucose. This will happen until the alcohol leaves the body. Diabetics run the risk of hypoglycemia when drinking because of this, so moderate drinking with food is best.

Insulin should NOT be taken to cover a glass of wine, if it’s dry wine.

Distilled alcohol has zero carbs, dry red wine has very few. Higher carb drinks like beer can raise BG. Of course, the sugary mixes raise BG.

Two vodka martinis should not have raised your BG. Were they just plain vodka martinis, not flavored ones? Vermouth has carbs, but not many & not enough to raise you that much. Do you know what your BG was before drinking?

Some people experience rebound hypoglycemia. Their bodies respond to a low by release of glycogen from the liver that send them high. This may be what happened, though I’m not sure if this would occur because alcohol actually inhibits this from happening.

I recently ended up in the 400s for drinking two Baileys without covering them with insulin. I checked the carb count on the Baileys and a small glass had around 25g of carbs. So you need to figure what is in the drinks. I don’t think there are carbs in a martini, unless they add something to it. SO it is strange.

I find that feeling tipsy or drunk feels similar to feeling low. So I actually hate feeling tipsy now (by association). So I usually only 2 drinks in an evening (unless it’s a really long evening).

Like Gerri said, I do not cover for 1-2 glasses of dry red wine. For white wine, I cover 10g per glass.

I find that I am likely to have lows many hours after drinking if I drank a lot (i.e. lows while sleeping). So I usually have a 15g snack (without covering for insulin) before going to bed. This is not true if i just had a glass of wine with dinner.

I still think it’s trial and error though …

i don’t think it holds true for everyone that alcohol lowers your bs. i’ve NEVER gone low from drinking. ever. in my teen years i had a little more than i should have had and i’m not talking frufru mixed drinks either, we were always doing shots just to be cool (straight shots of like captian morgan and vodka and bacardi). never went low. i was always 300-400 before going to bed. i love wine also. a good dry red too and it makes me high. i need to cover it with insulin. even if it’s one glass with dinner i have to account for it to be at least 15 carbs or it will make me high. i don’t think it’s a rebound either because i test a lot when i’m drinking to make sure i don’t go too high. i’m never below 160 when i drink. also if i eat while drinking i take insulin to cover that as well. after these highs at night before bed i always wake up perfect in the morning with little hangover feelings. it’s really strange.

It’s interesting to hear people’s experience in relation to alcohol.

Some stories sounds very familiar and others are completely different to what happens to me.

Thanks everyone so far for sharing.


Author of D and The Guy

i enver noitced muhc diffarance wehn i drunk


Seriously, I was just being funny. (in my own mind) you folks might enjoy joining our diabetes and beer forum, we are always looking for new members.



So I woke up this morning and my bs was 114, which is a little high for me first thing in the morning as I usually am in the upper 70s. So maybe the high was a fluke? My martinis were just Chopin vodka, it’s a potato vodka which I was told is better for me than grain vodka, not sure if that is true, but anyways just vodka and olive juice. Before we started drinking my bs was 184. I’m learning that diabetes isn’t a logical disease and it sucks!!!


Yeah, my BG fluxuates often. I can’t seem to get a “constant” in there… but I’m slowly starting to figure it out being 11 years diagnosed now. It’s frustrating. Everything seems to affect my BG up to and including simple stress hormones.

Omg! You’re too funny!

I have nothing to contribute in terms of how to manage BG with alcohol because I don’t see the point of drinking at all. You are ingesting pure poison that is doing nothing but destroying your body. Is it really worth the lowered inhibitions? As we speak my father is back in Greece hooked up to an IV and being monitored by a nurse that stops by his house every day because he has done so much damage to his liver through drinking. He was never an alcoholic, but a couple of whiskeys with lunch and a couple of bloody marys with dinner every day for 40 years eventually took their toll and now he is dying.

I don’t mean to sound preachy or judgmental and I know that we are talking about a couple of drinks once and a while, but I just can’t see how it’s worth it at all. Especially since we have the added “bonus” of being diabetic and at risk for enough complications as it is.

because it clears your mind for a few hours. that’s why i do it and it’s only maybe 5 drinks every 6 months or so.

i understand where you are coming from though because my dad had a heart attack of the age of 53 and was lucky to survive it…all because of smoking. because of this, and many other reasons, i loathe smoking and i don’t understand why anyone would do it. i understand where your feelings are coming from.