Monday, June 9, 2008


Before I delve into my discussion about diabetes & alcohol and how they don't mix, I wanted to thank everyone who participated in Brenda Novak's 4th Annual On-line Auction for Diabetes Research. The auction is now over. She raised $252,300!! This brings her total to a little over a half million dollars since she started her fund raising efforts! CONGRATULATIONS Brenda!! That is a phenominal amount of money!

Sending you a CYBER CHEER for your continued success for future online auctions!!

Now on to today's fact~

If you have diabetes, is it acceptable to drink alcohol? While researching this topic, I would've said no. Surprisingly, the answer is yes according to the ADA. But as with anything, the key is MODERATION. And, before you incorporate alcohol into your daily diet plan, you need to have stabilized your blood sugar control first.

Let's review the pathophysiology of how alocohol affects the body. One of the jobs of your liver is to release glucose (sugar) into the blood stream where it can be circulated and used for energy by your body's cells. When you consume alcohol, the liver shuts down sugar production so that it can clear the alcohol from your system. This results in a condition called hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). This can be a HUGE problem for people who have diabetes for two reasons. First, some people drink on an empty stomach. So, no new source of sugar will be forthcoming. Second, if the diabetic person had taken his/her insulin or oral diabetic medication the person's blood sugar will be even LOWER!

Not a good situation to be in. If you're a diabetic in this condition, you'll end up warming one of my ICU beds. We may have intubated you (placed a breathing tube down your throat and hooked you to a respirator) if your level of consciousness is such that you may not be able to protect your airway. Next comes the D-10 drip (a 10%dextrose solution) that we infuse intraveniously (IV). And, don't forget that every hour we'll be drawing blood to check your blood sugar.

So, here's what you want to do if you are a diabetic who will drink alcohol.

Remember, this is for individuals who have well-controlled blood sugars!!!

You have a two drink maximum per day if you're a man. Women are allowed one drink per day. Sorry ladies, but this is because women have a lower body water content than men and we metabolize alocohol more slowly.

One drink is defined by the USDA as:

12 ounces of regular beer
5 ounces of wine
1 1/2 ounces of 80-proof distilled liquor

Also, it is important to know that alcohol has NO nutritional value; and one drink equals 2 fat exchanges; regular beer is an additional 1 starch exchange.

So, go ahead. Enjoy the occasional glass of wine or have a beer with that football game. Just make sure you 1) have your blood sugars well established first; and 2)and don't drink to excess.

Take Care,

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