Diabeates #5: Drinking

Ethanol
Ethanol

Last night I had a great time drinking with E.S.  Which reminds me, it’s really hard to control your blood sugar when you go drinking.  Even for non-diabetics I hope this post changes the way you think about drinking.

TIP #1:  Maximum one beer.  It’s hard to go out drinking with friends without drinking beer, since it’s effectively the filler drink between other drinks.  However I can tell you, as a person who quite literally reads his blood sugar density on an hourly basis, nothing is worse than beer.  Especially malt liquor.  A single bottle is manageable, two pints drunk fast you’re basically guaranteed to get a high BG (blood glucose).  Virtually all alcoholic drinks are some sort of carbohydrate, and not all carbs are equal.  Generally speaking, our bodies break down sugar to produce energy.  The easiest sugar to break down is sugar that’s already at a low energy level.  The sugar in beer is quite literally pre-digested by yeast, and so it doesn’t take as much work for our bodies to use it.  It’s like the yeast already did the hard part.  So when I’m looking at my blood glucose after a two beers I often see a spike.  You certainly should dose before you drink a beer, however don’t be surprised if you find yourself with a high blood sugar.  Not only because beer has a lot of sugar, but also because it takes fast acting insulin about half an hour to really kick in, but the sugar in beer is so easily absorbed by your body that your insulin is unlikely to activate in time.  So only one beer, and drink it slowly.

TIP #2 :  I don’t dose for vodka shots.  Maybe your body is different, so I can’t speak for everybody.  But for whatever reason I always get low blood sugar from vodka.  In fact I once used a vodka shot to bring down my blood-sugar after getting a BG of 350 (don’t do as I did, that was stupid).

TIP #3:  Test every hour at least.  I’ve gotten better at drinking (although it’s still a bit tough), and I attribute it completely to this.  It’s always possible to keep a good BG if you do this, and don’t bite off more than you can drink.

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