Can Quitting Alcohol Reverse Diabetes? Read Everything about It

We often stress over questions like can quitting alcohol reverse diseases like diabetes? 

Alcohol is one of the most commonly consumed recreational beverages. Diabetes, on the other hand, is a very common ailment in humans these days. The combination of both, alcoholism and diabetes can be adverse if not managed properly. The article below answers all your concerns relating to the question – can quitting alcohol reverse diabetes?

What is alcohol and different types of it?

What is alcohol and different types of it

Alcohol is any drink that comprises ethanol. Ethanol is produced by the fermentation of fruits, grains, or other forms of sugar. It is one of the oldest recreational drinks that is widely consumed across the world.

There is a wide range of alcohols divided majorly into two categories – distilled beverages and fermented beverages. Listed below are the most common kinds of alcohol. Let us take a look:

Fermented Beverages:

  • Beer – Lagers and Ales
  • Cider
  • Wine
    • Red Wine 
    • White Wine 
    • Rose Wine (soft red varieties of grapes)
    • Sparkling Wine (Champagne and prosecco)
    • Fortified Wine 

Distilled Beverages:

  • Liquor or Spirits 
    • Vodka 
    • Brandy 
    • Gin 
    • Whiskey 
    • Tequila 
    • Rum 
  • Liqueurs (Below, you’ll find a list of some of the most popular liqueur brands)

Others:

  • Cocktail bitters
  • Alcopops 

 What is the glycemic index of alcohol?

What is the glycemic index of alcohol

The glycemic index estimates how much and how quickly a food raises blood sugar levels. Edibles or drinks with a high glycemic index rapidly raise blood sugar levels as compared to the ones with lower glycemic content. 

Can you measure the Glycemic Index of alcohol?

Alcohol generally is low in carbohydrate content. Cocktails are an exception as they are mixed with other ingredients. Glycemic index can be measured when the subject is given about 25 to 50 grams of carbohydrate. The lower carbohydrate content of alcohol makes it difficult to test it for glycemic index. Most of the alcoholic beverages have nearly zero carbohydrate content and to reach the 25 grams level for testing is nearly impractical. 

Glycemic index wine vs beer

Most of the wines have zero carbohydrate content. Therefore, testing them for glycemic content is impossible. 

Beer is one of those alcoholic beverages that contain high carbohydrates. However, the carbs content is still on the lower side. Every 100 ml contains 3-4 grams of carbohydrates. Therefore, one needs to consume beer in large quantities to measure the glycemic index. 

Vodka glycemic index

Vodka along with various other distilled alcoholic drinks contains nearly zero carbohydrates. This makes it difficult to find the glycemic content of vodka. 

Can alcohol cause Diabetes?

Can alcohol cause Diabetes

Diabetes is a very common health condition where the pancreas does not produce a sufficient amount of insulin, or the produced insulin does not properly function. 

The cause of diabetes depends on a number of factors, including genetics and your lifestyle. Excessive drinking can also be a causing agent of diabetes.  

Mainly, there are three factors associated with alcohol and diabetes type 2. Excessive drinking of alcohol often leads to factors that cause diabetes:

  1. Drinking excessively reduces the human body’s sensitivity to insulin. This sensitivity triggers type 2 diabetes. 
  2. Alcoholic beverages mostly contain ample calories. For example, a pint of lager contains calories equivalent to a pizza slice. Hence, drinking can increase the chances of obesity and lead to one becoming overweight. Obesity increases the risk of developing diabetes type 2.
  3. Chronic pancreatitis leads to diabetes which is caused by excessive drinking. 

Can Diabetics drink alcohol?

A diabetes patient must not drink alcohol as consuming alcohol causes blood sugar levels to fall or rise. Also, alcohol is rich in calories, which in turn, is again unhealthy for diabetics. 

Drinking occasionally when your blood sugar level is controlled can be still considered an option. However, one must check with a doctor and decide if drinking is safe or not. 

Can diabetics drink whiskey?

Beverages like whiskey have nearly zero carbs content. They do not shot up the blood sugar levels. Therefore, diabetics can consume whiskey. However, any alcoholic drink in excess can be harmful. So, consuming in moderation is the key. 

Can diabetics drink non-alcoholic beer?

The average sugar content in non-alcoholic beer is about 1.7 grams in 100 ml. This quantity makes it quite low in sugar content. Most of the ingredients in a non-alcoholic beer are sugar, tonic water, cola, skimmed milk, and orange juice. Therefore, it is safe for diabetics to consume non-alcoholic beer.

Alcoholic drinks for diabetics list

Several cocktails limit carbohydrates content naturally. Hence, they can be a part of the diet of a diabetic. Let us have a look at such drinks:

  • Bloody Mary
    • Pickle Juice Vodka Shot
    • Sugar-free Cocktail Mixtures
    • Dry Martini
    • Sugar-free Mohito Cocktail
    • Dry White and Red Wines
    • Vodka and Club Soda
    • Low-carb Beer

 How does alcohol spikes Blood Sugar?

The functioning of the liver is essential to understand how blood sugar is affected by alcohol. The liver is an important component that helps to regulate blood sugar levels during an entire day. When you consume alcohol, the liver gets affected. The ability of the liver to produce glucose into the blood gets affected. Alcohol reduces the functioning of the liver and bars it from releasing sufficient glycogen to keep the blood glucose level from dropping low. Therefore, when a diabetic intakes alcohol as well as insulin, they might experience hypoglycemia. 

 What are the risks of drinking alcohol?

What are the risks of drinking alcohol

Alcohol poses ample health issues on the human body. Some of the alcohol-related health ailments are listed below:

  • Digestive ailments like stomach ulcers.
    • Difficulties in sleeping.
    • Liver diseases.
    • Obesity and overweight problems.
    • Cancers.
    • Diabetes.
    • Cardiovascular diseases. 
    • Damaged heart.
    • Suicidal behavior.
    • Malnutrition and dietary deficiencies.
    • Mental health conditions.
    • Reduced fertility and sexual impotence.
    • Memory problems and concentration issues.
    • Stroke and high blood pressure.
    • Personality changes and brain damage.
    • Mood swings.
    • Affects breastfeeding and unborn babies.

How many people die from alcohol every year?

As per a 2016 report released by WHO, over 3 million people die from unhealthy use of alcohol each year. Most of the deaths are that of men. 

Can you drink alcohol if you are diabetic?

Drinking alcohol can be problematic for diabetics. It may cause your blood sugar level to either rise or fall. Additionally, alcohol is also loaded with calories which further, in turn, leads to obesity. Obesity is one of the major factors that lead to diabetes. However, you can drink moderately on occasions if your blood sugar level is well managed. 

 Can alcohol-induced diabetes be reversed?

Alcohol consumption can pose adverse effects on diabetics. Reducing or eliminating alcohol from the lifestyle of a diabetic can improve conditions to quite an extent. As per researches, refraining from alcohol for the short term can enhance insulin resistance. 

 What are the different treatment options?

Alcoholism and diabetes can prove to be a negative combination. It imposes dangerous impacts on the human body. Excessive consumption of alcohol can cause liver damage. However, with a healthy lifestyle and proper treatment, one can successfully avoid serious diabetes complications. Depending on how severe the alcoholism is, treatment can be prescribed based on inpatient or outpatient. The withdrawal symptoms are very painful. In case a detox is required, you can head to a treatment facility and take the treatment under the supervision of medical experts. 

What can diabetics drink besides water?

Diabetics can switch to alternative drinks other than water. Some of the many choices are listed below:

  • Sweet Tea
  • Chai Latte
  • Chocolate Milk
  • Lemonade
  • Orange Juice
  • Hot Chocolate
  • Cafe Mocha
  • Energy Drinks
  • Apple Cider
  • Fruit Smoothies
  • Ginger Ale

Does alcohol lower blood sugar in non-diabetics?

Drinking alcohol increases the secretion of insulin hormone. Even if you are a non-diabetic, consuming excess alcohol can lead to lowered blood sugar levels. 

What can I drink with gestational diabetes?

Hydration is essential during pregnancy. And, when you are diabetic along with pregnancy, staying hydrated is more essential. Staying hydrated flushes out the excess sugar from your system and stabilizes the blood sugar levels

Ideally, one should consume about 2 to 3 litres of water in a day when suffering from gestational diabetes. There are various beverages one can consume during such a condition. Some of the drinks are listed below:

  1. Still water or carbonated water. If you consume flavoured water, make sure that it contains no added sugar. 
  2. Coffee or tea, include these in your daily diet.
  3. Diet drinks like carbonated beverages with zero added sugar.
  4. Raspberry leaf tea.
  5. Zero sugar diluting squash. Do not add additional sugar content or syrups.
  6. A moderate amount of hot chocolate with whipped cream. 

Can diabetics drink beer?

Moderate beer consumption is okay for a person with diabetes. A drink or two never hurts the condition if you take care of your blood sugar levels and maintain a healthy lifestyle. To remain safe from hypoglycemia, it is suggested to not consume beer on an empty stomach. Also, make sure to check your blood sugar level while consuming beer, and 24 hours after drinking. 

Alcoholic diabetic life expectancy

Alcoholic diabetic life expectancy

People suffering from diabetes who drink alcohol must be aware of some complications. There is a certain alcoholic diabetic life expectancy that one must be aware of. Let us have a look at some facts listed below:

  • Alcohol associates with the medication of diabetes – The amount of alcohol you consume affects the blood glucose levels. It makes the blood sugar level rise or fall depending on the quantity consumed. Certain pills like meglitinides and sulfonylureas lower blood sugar levels. They make insulin by stimulating the pancreas. The lowering of blood sugar levels combined with alcohol leads to insulin shock or hypoglycemia. The condition of hypoglycemia is a medical emergency.
  • Alcohol bars the liver from doing its job – The liver stores glycogen which is a source of glucose when one has not eaten food. When you consume alcohol, the liver works to eliminate it from your body instead of regulating the blood sugar level. Therefore, you must not consume alcohol when your blood sugar level is low. 
  • Do not consume alcohol on an empty stomach – Food slows the rate of absorption of alcohol in the bloodstream. In case you plan to drink alcohol, make sure to eat a snack or a light meal comprising carbohydrates.
  • Test your blood sugar level before consuming an alcoholic beverage – Alcohol bars the ability of your liver to produce glucose. Hence, be sure of your blood sugar level before you consume alcohol. 
  • Alcohol can lead to hypoglycemia – After 12 hours of drinking alcohol as well as after a few minutes of consuming it, the blood glucose level lowers. After drinking alcohol, make sure to check your blood sugar level and see that it is within the safe limit. And, in case the blood sugar level is low, eat a snack. 
  • Drinking slowly can save your life – Drinking way too much alcohol can make you feel disoriented, drowsy, and dizzy. These are also the symptoms of hypoglycemia. These issues can be avoided when you do not drink too much and keep the amounts moderate. Also, if you are hypoglycemic, do carry a snack along in case of emergencies. 
  • You can live longer by drinking within limits – If you are a diabetic, your healthcare expert would mention your drinking limits. Keeping your health conditions in mind, they may bar you from consuming alcohol. In several cases, females suffering from diabetes are suggested not to consume more than a drink a day. Men are suggested to limit their intake to two drinks a day.

Can drinking alcohol be a cause of Diabetes?

Alcohol does not cause diabetes but it plays an important role. The role of alcohol in developing diabetes is a topic with no consistent conclusion. Various studies reveal that moderate amounts of alcohol can prove to lower the risks of diabetes type 2, while larger amounts of alcohol consumption can increase the risk. 

Alcohol contributes in several ways of contributing to the cause of type 2 diabetes. Here are some reasons:

  1. Leading a person to intake excessive calories
  2. Leading to obesity
  3. Liver impairment
  4. Causing issues with the task of the pancreas. For instance, pancreatitis.
  5. Changing the reaction of a body to glucose metabolism and carbohydrates.

Alcohol is a major risk factor for diabetics. However, drinking excess alcohol does not ensure a diagnosis of diabetes in the future. 

Ways in which alcohol is related to diabetes

  • Drinking excessive alcohol makes your body less reactive and sensitive to the insulin hormone. This condition is a trigger for type 2 diabetes
  • Excessive drinking often leads to a dysfunction of the pancreas, pancreatitis. Diabetes, on the other hand, is the side effect of pancreatitis.
  • Alcohol consumption is a cause of weight gain and obesity. More the consumption of alcohol more is the gained weight. Obesity is a causing factor of diabetes and several other diseases.  

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