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From The Bronx, New York, USA:

Generally, I have my best blood sugar levels almost invariably after consuming five or six beers. For a day or two after, my blood sugar levels are generally between 80 to 85 mg/dl [4.4 to 4.7 mmol/L]. I usually indulge in these beers but once a week. My eating habits remain constant. I had heard conflicting opinions on whether it was prudent to consume alcohol. Does the consumption of beer have a beneficial impact on blood sugar control? Is my situation an anomaly?


Alcohol is a regular part of our lives. It needs to be handled prudently, like other things. However, alcohol has a rather complicated effect on blood sugars. During the first few hours, while you are enjoying the cold beer, the blood sugars will go up. This is often the result of eating foods that are enjoyed with beer. It also occurs because beer has carbohydrates and will raise blood sugars. The more beer, the higher the blood sugars go acutely. After three to four hours, you see the additional effect of the alcohol in the beer. The alcohol has the effect of shutting down the liver's output of glucose. This is a drug effect and is greater with the more alcohol that is consumed. Therefore, this effect is not unique to beer. It occurs with wine and other spirits. The effect can be catastrophic as alcohol has been the cause of severe hypoglycemia in patients taking glucose lowering medications. Since most alcohol consumption is at night, the lows tend to occur in the night after sleep when they can be least perceived and when people are most vulnerable. Seizures, loss of consciousness, and other severe medical problems may occur. It is important to eat food with drinking. In addition, moderation is the key. In your particular case, how the alcohol works is dependent on what your baseline control is like. Do you eat less the next day after drinking? You can see that this form of therapy would be filled with problems and is not a practical solution.


Original posting 11 May 2006
Posted to Other and Type 2


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