As St. Patrick’s Day rolls around, people around the world celebrate in remembrance of a saint. Some remembrances are marked by religious celebration, while others are known for their bawdy displays and vibrant green offerings. One tradition associated with the holiday is the consumption of green beer—and in some circles, consumption in excess.
Beer and Diabetes
Although a single serving of beer is not going to send your blood sugar reeling, alcohol does have a unique effect on the body, and consuming it in large quantities can harm a diabetic’s body. Of course, significant amounts of alcohol will cause damage in anyone’s body, but alcohol has an interesting effect on blood sugar, and can cause sharp rises and falls in blood sugar in the same way eating straight sugar has a significant impact on sugar levels.
For this reason alone, diabetics should exercise more caution when consuming alcohol, even in a beverage with a low alcohol content, such as beer. Fortunately, if you keep your wits about you and exercise caution, you can enjoy a St. Patty’s Day celebration, too.
Staying Safe with Beer
#1. Check Your Levels
If you are having an off day, or you are currently experiencing poorly-controlled blood sugar levels, it is best to avoid any type of alcohol altogether. If, however, your levels are within normal limits and you enjoy stable blood sugar as a whole, having a drink or two should be perfectly safe. Make sure you kept an eye on your levels as you drink, and pay attention to any shifts in your brain or body chemistry.
#2. Limit Your Intake
Unlike your diabetes-free counterparts, it is not a simple matter to drink with abandon. 1 beer should keep you within safe levels, but three or four may prove to be far too much for your body. Limit your overall alcohol intake carefully, and try to savor a single drink or two, rather than slamming down an armful.
#3. Always Eat With Your Drink
As a rule of thumb, drinking on an empty stomach is ill-advised. This is especially true for diabetics, however, as alcohol can take a nasty toll on your blood sugar. To circumvent the likelihood of dramatic spikes or drops, make sure you have some food with your beer—preferably a heartier meal with protein and some carbs, rather than a light snack.
Ultimately, you can enjoy a beer with diabetes, without wrecking your hard-won efforts at keeping stable blood sugar levels. Keeping your consumption low, watching your body’s reaction, and making sure your settings are ideal will help keep you safe and happy this holiday.