Expert Q&A

Alcohol: How Much Can Diabetics Drink Safely?

It's girls' night out. How do I safely consume alcohol if I am diabetic?

For those with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, alcohol consumed in moderation and with food does not affect blood sugar. Daily intake should be limited to no more than 1 drink for adult women and 2 drinks for adult men. Alcoholic drinks should be an addition to the meal plan. Do not omit food due to the possibility of alcohol-induced hypoglycemia.

For women, a drink is defined as a:

  • Single 12-ounce beer
  • 5-ounce glass of wine
  • 1½ ounces of hard liquor.

Drink alcohol only when blood sugars are under control, typically in the range of 80 to 120mg/dl. To make a drink last, sip it slowly. Also, make sure to drink your alcohol with food. Wear a medical identification bracelet in case you have hypoglycemia, a low blood sugar reaction. Test your blood sugars 2 hours after you drink to see how the alcohol has affected you.

A sensible drink to order is a white wine spritzer. It is made with 5 ounces of wine and 8 ounces of plain carbonated water. Pair this with a handful of cocktail peanuts and pretzels for a winning combination that will last long into the night.

Cindy Guirino, RD/LD, CDE, CNSD, ACE PT
Contributing Expert

Have a question for our Experts? Send it in!