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Diabetes - Type 1 Community
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Avatar universal

Diabetics and Alcohol

I have been diabetic since I was 5, I am 24 now.

I had lead a very unhealthly life style, I eat alot of fast and unhealthy foods, but my portions are quite limted (I only eat when hungry really). Sometimes I go through a whole day by snacking countless times during the day, eating only 1 decent meal. I am not over-weight, but I have found myself to have a very fast motablosim. But I still eat very very unhealthy.

Regardless:

My question is... does alchohol really affect diabetics?
I've found the best thing for us diabetic to drink is vodka, and belive me, I am turning into a conisour on the stuff. But is drinking period, safe for a diabetic?

I drink alot, and I mean alot... so I am just wondering, what damage may I be doing to myself, other than my liver?

Side Questions:

Cane Sugar; I assume I already know the answear to this, but is cane sugar differnt than "NORMAL" sugar, found in products?

Sucerlous: How differnt is it really? I drink this vitamin water that has sucerlous listed as the 2nd ingedeant, but I am unsure it's acctual sugar content. For better or worse?

Rum: Now like I said, I drink vodka, but rum is made from sugar cane, yet some may say it has no sugar in it at all? Comments?? I also wonder about gin, any idea what the sugar content of that is??


Wierd question, I know. But I need some answeres that have not officaly been defined or easy to find in documents.
3 Responses
Avatar universal
Some of your questions are tough ones. Let's start with the first...

1. The effect of alcohol on diabetics. The main danger that I have read about concerns alcohol's impairs the liver's ability to release its stores of emergency sugars in case of severe hypoglycemia. A hypoglycemic episode can be life-threatening if your body is unable to help you by making those sugars available, and also if your alertness to the warning symptoms is dulled by alcoholic haze. Most doctors therefore suggest that all diabetics drink only small amounts of alcohol. Hypoglycemia can kill within hours if nobody finds the person, or if the person is just assumed to be drunk and nobody takes his or her inability to function seriously.

2. Cane sugar IS 'normal' sugar. You need to know what the carb content is in any food or drink, not just how much sugar and what kind of sugar is in it. The only thing that the different types of sugars is to perhaps change how fast a food with a certain number of carbohydrates in it is digested and therefore absorbed by the body. So diabetics need to be aware of the glycemic index factor of all that we eat or drink as well as the carb content. Sugars of different types alone are not the only factors in how long it takes to digest the food or drink. Fat content is also a big factor. So a candy bar, for instance, while having much more sugar than a glass of orange juice, also contains fat which slows down the digestion rate. So if my blood sugar is low, the candy bar, while perhaps higher in carbs, is a much worse solution for that low blood sugar episode than the juice or bowl of cereal.

3. As for your vitamin water, it should have the carb content listed. That's what you need to know in order to know if you need to take insulin when you drink it. If you cannot find a carb listing on the label, then call the company that makes it and find out what its carb content is. By law, all U.S. made food products are supposed to list carb contents as well as other nutritional info.

4. The carb content of several major alcoholic beverages is available on several websites. Check this one out for info:
http://www.vhi.ie/experts/diet/diet_q292.jsp
Avatar universal
It adds to more questions, but thank you, quite informative.

I am wondering tho...

Does Carbs vs Sugar content really affect the absorbtion rate that much?
Time's when I've had sugar lows, almost anything with high sugar content raised my levels to normal, quite effective too. Liquids naturally are best but..... Is their really a differnce? Concerning carb's and sugar?
Avatar universal
The difference is in absorption (digestion) time. Tests in recent years on the situation of loss of warning signs of hypoglycemia have proven that it is imperative at all times to fix a low blood sugar as quickly as possible in order to prevent the brain for sending out signals to the liver to dump emergency sugars. When this happens in episodes too close together, the result is loss of warning symptoms of hypoglycemia. So it is important for you to know that the liquids will start raising sugar levels quicker than carbs in solid foods, especially in foods with high fat content.

Both will of course raise the sugar levels at some point, but the difference is in timing. I personally find that on the fairly uncommon occasion when I eat something high in fat such as pizza or french fries, my insulin peaks considerably before the food digests, and I will run low, have to drink some juice to pick it up, and then later on as the insulin peters out and the fatty foods continue to digest, I will need a bit more insulin. Each person is different, and you may not notice as much of a difference as I do, but there is a difference in digestion times between liquids and solids mixed with fat or protein.

But the carb content can be identical and the net result can be the same amount of rise in glucose levels. I find that if I eat fatty foods, I do best to split my mealtime dose of insulin, taking some with the meal and the rest an hour or even two hours later so that the insulin absorbs at the same pace as my digestion. If I don't, I often have the low followed by a high later.
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