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Surviving Cocktail Culture With Diabetes

Surviving Cocktail Culture With Diabetes

This content originally appeared on diaTribe. Republished with permission.

By Alexandra Frost

For those with diabetes, it may be hard to cope with pressure from friends to drink and to maintain track of their blood sugar levels, but there are ways to bask in a cocktail without harming your health. 

Margaritas the scale of fish bowls at Taco Tuesday. Punch at your friend’s kid’s party. Beers at a tailgate. Cocktail culture is in all places, infused into every aspect of our social lives. But for individuals with diabetes, what’s meant to be a fun, kick-back vibe will be fraught with challenges, from that very same peer pressure you felt as a teen to drink to extra blood sugar monitoring or hypoglycemia concerns when you do partake.

But after an extended day, a couple of drinks with friends will be tempting regardless of the risks, each for individuals with diabetes and without. In the event you do, here’s tips on how to healthily bask in cocktail culture without harming your health.

Keep on with a moderate amount

“Drinking a glass of wine at dinner is suitable, but drinking a mojito on an empty stomach at completely satisfied hour isn’t a great idea” if you might have diabetes, said Dr. Neel Shah, endocrinologist and associate professor at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston.

“The rationale is that the liver prioritizes metabolizing the alcohol over maintaining the steadiness of the glucose within the bloodstream,” he said, “because of this, patients will get hypoglycemic.”

Shah advised that mild to moderate alcohol use (1-2 drinks) is suitable, but higher amounts can result in cardiovascular problems for individuals with diabetes. He added that folks with type 1 diabetes are more susceptible usually to hypoglycemia and DKA than those with type 2, and that hypoglycemia is particularly concerning when individuals with diabetes are taking medications like insulin or sulfonylureas reminiscent of glimepiride or glipizide, which also can increase the danger for hypoglycemia.

Learn to discover carb-filled cocktails

Relating to drinking with diabetes, straight liquor has a significantly different impact than a sugar-filled mixed drink. Specifically, restaurant cocktails and well drinks are sometimes laden with hidden calories, carbs, and sugar from added sweeteners and mixers.

Among the biggest culprits, in accordance with an evaluation of drinks by Eat This, Not That! using USDA’s FoodData Central, include:

  • Mint Juleps, with 400 calories and 13 g of sugar

  • Long Island Iced Tea, with 241 calories and 19 g of sugar

  • Mojitos, with 203 calories and 25.5 g of sugar

  • Margaritas, with 274 calories and 36.1 g of sugar

  • Daiquiris with 286 calories and 39.7 g of sugar

  • Pina Coladas with 340 calories and 39.6 g of sugar

Speak about a buzz kill. Luckily, you’ll be able to still enjoy tasty and fun cocktails with some modifications for lower-carb cocktails.

Skip sugary fillers

Mark Joseph, 32, a parenting coach in St. Louis, says managing cocktail culture with type 2 diabetes is a challenge for him.

“I’ve noticed that some sorts of alcohol affect my blood sugar levels greater than others. Dessert wines can have a better glycemic index which might cause my levels to spike. I avoid these drinks and go for lower-sugar cocktails,” he said, citing tequila or vodka with soda water as examples.

Joseph recalled drinking an excessive amount of one night and it led to some “drastic” blood sugar fluctuations. “Thankfully, I used to be with friends who noticed and helped me regain control,” he said. “Now, I make sure that I all the time check my levels often.”

Shah echoes Joseph’s advice to observe for drinks with fillers or higher sugar. “What makes drinking difficult is that some drinks are high in carbs reminiscent of dessert wines, whereas some drinks are carb-free or low carb like most wines and spirits,” Shah said.

Some tricks for lowering sugar content include:

  • Sweetening beverages with lemon or lime instead of sugary syrups and juices

  • Drinking straight liquor, reminiscent of vodka, relatively than a mixed cocktail

  • Using sugar-free or zero-calorie club soda or sparkling water as mixers with liquor

  • Checking beers for his or her carb content before consuming

Dietician and diabetes educator Crystal Scott at Top Nutrition Coaching recommends working with the restaurant or bartender to find out about drinks offered which can be the bottom in sugar or people who will be modified. Search for menu options that say “skinny” or produce other indications that the restaurant is intentionally leaving out additional fillers, or ask for these options.

Keep things one-for-one with water

One among Joseph’s go-to tricks for stopping one other blood sugar issue while drinking is to mitigate alcohol’s impact with a variety of water.

“To remain protected, I all the time plan to maintain myself hydrated throughout the night and snack on something before I drink,” he said.

The rationale is that alcohol is dehydrating, which provides you that nasty next-day hangover feeling as well. Try having at the least one full glass of water per each cocktail you drink.

“There is no such thing as a universal strategy to tackle alcohol consumption in diabetes aside from keeping consumption carefully, monitoring glucose levels, and listening to symptoms and limits,” Shah added.

Enjoy a drink without fear, but take heed to your body

Scott doesn’t want clients with diabetes stressing an excessive amount of a couple of drink; going out and having a drink occasionally isn’t going to be harmful. “One cocktail is okay! It’s okay,” she said. “I don’t want them to be scared to exit on a Friday night and have a drink with friends.”

Just ensure you grab a bite beforehand. “The most important thing is ensuring you’re eating first,” she said, explaining that skipping food can result in poorer food decisions, which could require more medication, furthering the cycle.

She also advises maintaining a tally of blood sugars – for some, setting alerts before completely satisfied hour will be helpful – and remembering to not go overboard. “Once you’re going out and being social, it may be hard to stop.”

Last but not least: Don’t hide your drinking inclinations out of your providers, most of whom likely care more about keeping you healthy than judging your drinking habits. His final piece of recommendation: “At all times check with your friendly neighborhood endocrinologist if you might have any questions.”


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