How much alcohol is safe for adult diabetics to drink? Should they drink alcohol at all?

Rule #1 - talk to your doctor.

After that, there are LOTS of variables…

Beer & mixed drinks at least temporarily raise blood sugar levels. But alcohol turns off the “creation” of glucose (gluconeogenesis) that goes on in everyone’s liver to keep us from needing to eat every few hours.

Depending upon the carbohydrate content of in the drink itself, and any food eaten with the drink(s), blood sugar can go up, go down, go up then down, or stay level.

Most doctors advise diabetics to use alcohol rarely if at all. For people with type 2 diabetes, who are usually overweight, alcohol adds empty calories, and encourages heavier eating. For people with type 1 diabetes, it can cause very wide swings in blood sugar.

Since both withdrawing from alcohol, and low blood sugar independently lower the seizure threshold (make it easier to seize), and these 2 factors could easily happen simultaneously, diabetics who drink are at higher than normal risk for haing seizures. Since low blood sugar reactions can also cause someone to act as if drunk, driving should be left to someone else.
That being said, if a person is over the legal drinking age, and if their diabetes is in reasonable control, light drinking on special occasions would be condoned by most docs.

Sue from El Paso

Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.

Yes, I read that insulin shock can look like someone is drunk. How does one tell them apart?

The following assumes that you know the person has diabetes.

IF AND ONLY IF a person is alert:

You can have them eat/drink something with sugar in it. That will help someone with a low sugar reaction, but not someone who is drunk.

If they can’t follow simple commands (here - drink this), or are unresponsive, you should go ahead & call 911. If they eat/drink something & don’t improve, and no one present knows them well enough to take them home & watch them closely, call 911. Someone with type 1 diabetes could get into real trouble “sleeping it off”.

Sue from El Paso

Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.