If you have type 1 diabetes, here’s what alcohol does to complicate your condition (and your life):
It provides empty calories, which are calories with no nutritional value that have to be counted in your diet.
The approximate numbers of kilocalories that various forms of alcohol contribute to your diet are:
• Beer (12 ounces): 90 calories for light and 160 calories for regular
• Hard liquor (1.5 ounces): 100 calories
• Wine (5 ounces): 110 calories
It doesn’t have an immediate effect on the blood glucose when you drink it because it isn’t a carbohydrate.
As the carbohydrates in the food you have eaten decline, alcohol has its effect, especially if you drank too much.
It prevents the liver from forming new glucose.
If taken without food by a person who has taken a shot of insulin, the glucose can fall to severely hypoglycemic levels. This usually happens overnight when the patient is asleep. The result can be coma and brain damage.
It reduces the secretion of growth hormone and cortisol, substances that typically raise the blood glucose.
The more you drink, the longer it takes the liver to break down the alcohol, so the effects of a bottle of wine, for example, may be felt for the next 10 to 12 hours.
It interferes with your understanding of how to take the proper amount of insulin in the proper way.
It interferes with your better judgment about the fact that you must eat.
If you have T1DM and don’t eat as you drink alcohol, you’re at great risk for a severe hypoglycemic reaction.
It impairs your ability to recognize hypoglycemia, especially when you’re drunk.
(Taken from the book entitled, “Type 1 Diabetes for Dummies,” 2008, Ch.12, Pg.213)
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