Getting to Know Alcohol Options for Diabetics

Alcohol is a chemical that has calories but no particular nutritional value, although it has been shown that a moderate amount (a glass or two of wine a day) may reduce the risk of a heart attack. Notice that alcohol is called a chemical. That's because alcohol is often taken to excess and does major damage to the body. It wrecks the liver and can lead to bleeding and death.

Because alcohol has calories, if you drink some, you must account for it in your diet. The proof of the alcohol is the percentage of alcohol in an ounce of the drink multiplied by 2. Wine that is 12.5 percent alcohol is 25 proof. Beer is 12 proof most of the time. Liquor is often 80 proof. To determine the calories, you use the following formula:

Calories = 0.8 x proof of the drink x number of ounces

So, for example, for a 12-ounce can of beer, you use the formula 0.8 x 12 x 12 for a total of 115 calories.

For a couple of 6-ounce glasses of wine, you use the formula 0.8 x 25 x 12 to come up with 240 calories.

In addition to the calories, alcohol plays other roles in diabetes. If alcohol is taken without food, it can cause low blood glucose by increasing the activity of insulin without food to compensate for it. Some alcoholics, even without diabetes, go to bed with several drinks and are unconscious the next morning because of a very low blood glucose. They can have brain damage unless their body is able to manufacture enough glucose to wake them up.

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If you're having a couple of glasses of wine or other alcohol, make sure that you eat some food along with it.

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