I have a friend whose doctor told him it is okay to drink alcohol. He drinks 10-12 lite beers plus numerous shots of whipped vodka with Sugar Free Red Bull a day. How will this affect his body? What is a safe amount of alcohol intake?
I’m making an assumption that your friend has diabetes. While drinking alcohol is generally safe for most people with diabetes, there are a few cautions. The recommended amount of alcohol for men is no more than two drinks per day, and for women, no more than one drink per day. A “drink” is considered to be 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1 ½ ounces of distilled spirits (vodka, rum, whiskey). The main concern with mixing alcohol and diabetes is that alcohol can lower blood glucose levels; if a person takes certain types of diabetes pills and/or insulin, that person is at risk for low blood glucose, and drinking alcohol increases the risk. For this reason, it’s always advised to eat something when drinking alcohol. However, eating more than usual while drinking may lead to weight gain. Other health concerns surrounding drinking too much alcohol are: high triglyceride (blood fat) levels, high blood pressure, liver disease, and possible worsening of certain diabetes complications, like eye disease and nerve damage. Of course, it’s your friend’s decision to drink alcohol, but perhaps you could gently bring up the topic and suggest that he learn more about the effects of alcohol on his diabetes and his general health, and that he have a discussion about alcohol use with his physician.