Last Updated on July 18, 2021 by Dr Sharon Baisil MD
There are plenty of alcoholic drinks out there. Among the sea of drinks available, some are safe for diabetic consumption, while some are not.
Diabetes and alcohol can be difficult match as diabetic patients have to consider their blood sugar levels before drinking alcohol. Alcohol can lower blood sugar levels way below the normal margins and lead to hypoglycemia.
Moderate and limited alcohol consumption with prior restrictions can assist in the management of one’s diabetic health. Moreover, you must consider drinking as a sparring activity and, advisably, not regularly.
You must be aware of the types of alcohol and drinks that you can and cannot drink. Here is a list of alcohols and drinks that you must avoid if you are a diabetic:
- Alcoholic drinks and cocktails like – Pina colada, margaritas, and daiquiris must be avoided in Diabetes. These drinks are sugary and have more calories per serving. Just one serving of these sugary alcohols is enough to affect your health.
- Wines are said to be on the safe list of alcohol when it comes to diabetic patients. However, some dessert wines are an exception. As the name suggests, these wines have added sugars that make them unfit for diabetic consumption. Port, Sherry wines, and Vermouths are common dessert wines. Sherry is also considered to be the sweetest among wines. Added sugar means added calories as well as added health risks.
- Other common drinks like cognac, whiskey, and brandy also fall under high sugar alcohols. Therefore, they are not quite the best ones for people suffering from diabetes.
- Varieties of cream liqueur such as – Kahlua, Irish cream, Malibu, etc., must also be avoided for reduced harm to your sugar levels.
- Fruity cocktails and drinks are also ones to avoid if you have diabetes, as they have added sugar and flavors that can increase the overall calories and carbs.
- Other very sugary alcohols include – schnapps, triple sec, Everclear, etc.
You must be careful about your alcohol choices and consider their compositions to make sure you do not overdo anything harmful to you.
Which alcohol has the most sugar?
Alcopops are ready-made soft drinks that contain alcohol. These are amongst the highest containing sugary alcohols and can be very unhealthy for the body. Some common ones include – Breezer, malt beverages, Smirnoff Ice, Bacardi, etc.
Liqueurs are among the top sugary alcohols. This is because they are added with sugars after distillation. Some liqueurs have around 46grams of sugar in every 100ml.
Cocktails are often sugary mixtures that can vary in composition and affect blood sugar health.
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Any alcohol with added sugar can be harmful to your diabetic body and must be cut off or had in very low amounts occasionally.
It is important to drink responsibly, and this responsibility increases with the diagnosis of diabetes.
Is Vodka good for diabetics?
Any good quality vodka is just water and ethanol. It has no added sugar and is among the purest alcohols out there. Hence, it is said to be safe for diabetics. But there are some considerations that one has to make before taking Vodka as a diabetes-safe drink. It is a mixed case.
Vodka is clear alcohol and has no calories or sugars. It has around 40% alcohol. This makes it a fit alcoholic drink for people with diabetes.
Vodka is among the top on the list of safe alcohol for diabetics. It is, however, important to drink Vodka with caution as it is pure alcohol, and too much of it can have a blood sugar lowering effect.
If you consume too much Vodka, your body’s blood sugar can significantly fall overnight and lead to hypoglycemia. Concentrated alcohol tends to have such effects.
On the other hand, Vodka mixed with other sugary drinks or with added flavors can be dangerous. This can raise your blood sugar levels as the additives have sugar.
As a diabetic-safe alcohol choice, Vodka must always be paired with food so that there isn’t a rapid reduction in blood sugar levels.
Two shots of Vodka in a day are the limited amount you must keep in mind and follow strictly. Moreover, it must be avoided as a drink for late nights.
Too much Vodka also makes you crave more sugary food and may increase your calories. It is also observed that too much Vodka can hamper weight loss.
Hence, the quantities that you consume must be safe and looked after.
There are risks as well as benefits of consuming Vodka. It all comes down to keeping a check on your blood sugar levels and ensuring that you follow the daily limits to stay away from any dangerous effects.
15 best alcohol drinks and Cocktails for diabetics
There are many safe options out there. It is to be kept in mind that alcohol consumption can only be beneficial and risk-free when done in moderation, especially by diabetic patients.
Here is a list of safe alcoholic drinks and cocktails that you can consume:
Beer is one of the first go-to choices for many. Light beers are low in sugar and also keep the lower calories low.
Light beer varieties are healthier and better than regular beers. Twelve ounces of a good light beer can be a refreshing as well as a healthy option.
2. Red wine
When taken in moderate and restricted amounts, wine can be great as it has antioxidants and keeps the heart-healthy. Red wines are lower in sugars as well. Common choices include – pinot noir, merlot, Malbec, St. Laurent, etc.
3. White wines
These tend to be classified as higher in sugar compared to red wines. But when taken in limited quantities, white wines can be great too.
A 5ounce serving is recommended as well as safe for keeping blood sugar levels out of risk.
As we mentioned earlier, two shots of Vodka in a day are harmless and can be great for diabetic control. It is clear and has no added sugars.
It must be had in the concentrated form and not mixed in sugary or flavored drinks.
Rum is a type of distilled spirit, which contains zero carbohydrates. This can be had without much mixing with other sugary drinks for diabetes management.
Gin is another type of distilled spirit known for its low-calorie and no-carb properties. It is hard liquor that does not affect your diabetic health when done in low and controlled amounts.
7. Skinny margarita
We mentioned earlier that diabetics must avoid having margaritas as they are a more sugary option.
But on the other hand, skinny margaritas are a mix of various safe and refreshing ingredients that do not spike your blood sugar levels.
Skinny margaritas not only make a tasty cocktail but also fit into diabetic diets.
8. Sparkling wine
This is another low-sugar and low-calorie alcohol choice. This is deemed safe as a 4-ounce serving of sparkling wine has only 78 calories and 1 gram of carbohydrate.
It can also be mixed with some sparkling water to increase the quantity of the drink without adding any extra calories or sugars. As a diabetic, you can opt for this alcohol over other sugary ones.
Martinis are a popular cocktail choice. They are light for diabetics because they have no sugar as well as no carbohydrates. It is hence a harmless choice when taken in regulated amounts.
This cocktail does not contain sugary ingredients but mostly all distilled alcohols. The taste is also refreshing.
Stick to one serving and pair it with some healthy snacks to keep the diabetic blood sugar levels low and under control.
10. Vodka soda
A mix of club soda and Vodka is also a good alcohol choice that is harmless for diabetic individuals. Using seltzers or club sodas keeps the drink at no carbs and no calories.
This is a cocktail favorite of many for its versatility and refreshing flavor. You can make your mojitos healthier by cutting off the sugar and switching it with seltzer.
12. Bloody Mary
Fresh tomato and bloody herb Mary is also a viable option for diabetics. Make sure to keep the mix low in sodium to ensure total safety. You can enjoy a glass of this with more added fresh veggies.
Scotch is another distilled spirit that can be a safe choice for diabetic patients. It can be harmless when taken within the rightly recommended limits.
Stick to low-sugar and flavorless options.
14. Diet/zero coke long island tea
Making your long island tea with a healthy low sugar recipe and sticking to the recommended quantities of this cocktail is also a great option.
This is an uncommon option but a safe one. Rye is one of the distilled spirits, meaning it has no carbohydrates. You can safely have moderate drinks without worrying about your diabetic levels.