Overheard On Campus: I was just diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Can I still drink alcohol?

Contributed by Dr. Chris Hayes, M.D.
Introduction by Tyler Achilles

Woman and glass of wine

What a unique and interesting question! My step-father was recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, and I’ve noticed that he’s had to cut out a lot of things he used to eat and drink. But I still see him drink a beer every now and then. Hopefully, Dr. Chris Hayes, M.D., a physician at University of Louisiana at Lafayette and one of our experts, can shed some light on what’s appropriate for those with Type 2 diabetes. Dr. Hayes says …

I suppose the answer to your question depends on your expectations. If by drink alcohol you mean go out and drink until you can’t stand up, then my advice is to not risk your health whether you’re diabetic or not. If you mean one or two drinks at a party or a glass of beer or wine with dinner, then that shouldn’t be any more harmful to your body than an occasional dessert.

Alcohol is metabolized by your liver into water and sugar, so you do need to factor that into the equation. Talk with your dietician or healthcare provider about it. He or she should be able to give you some dietary guidelines. You should probably refrain from all forms of sugar, including alcohol, until you know how changes in diet will affect your blood sugar, especially if you’ve been diagnosed recently. A well-controlled diabetic can generally indulge occasionally in modest portions of alcohol without serious consequences.

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