www.diabeticretinopathy.org.uk

General

Alcohol & insulin  

David Kinshuck

 

Alcoholic drinks contain different amounts of alcohol and sugar and so will have different effects on blood glucose levels.

1 unit =

The recommended healthy intake is

 

drink alcohol how to manage
red wine 9-13%
  • 1-2 units should not produce a hypo
  • more than this, you will need to reduce your next dose of background insulin, and/or eat extra CP to avoid a hypos late
  • for Lantus users, it may be best to eat more CPs
  • do not take extra quick-acting insulin (unless you have lots of sweet wine/sherry) ... other drinks contain little carbohydrate
white wine, sparkling wine, Champagne  
Dry Martini or Sherry 14-16%
Spirits, eg vodka, rum, brandy,whisky, gin 40%
sweet wine 1/2 glass 10%
sweet martini & sherry 1/2 glass 13-16%

 

beers
lagers & cider
Carbohydrate portion
(CP) value
alcohol how to manage
standard bitter
standard lager
1 per pint 3-3.5%
  • these cause an initial rise in blood glucose
  • in large amounts they may cause a delayed hypo
Start with the following, but you will need to make individual adjustments
  • 1 CP worth of alcohol requires no action
  • more than this...1 unit of QA insulin for every 2 CPs
  • or a 0.5 QA unit : 1 CP
  • monitor blood glucose before and after drinking to discover your own requirements
  • to prevent a hypos later on, you either need to reduce your next dose of background insulin, and/or eat extra CPs
  • for Lantus users, it may be best to eat more CPs
  • you need to consider the effect of exercise such as clubbing, sex, sport as it will add to the hypo effect
strong bitter 1.5 per pint 5%
strong lager 1 per pint 5%
continental lager 1.5 per pint 2.5%
brown ale bottle 4%
stout... .Guinness etc 1 per pint  
Murphy's 1 per pint  
Dry Cider 1 per pint 4%
Sweet Cider 2 per pint 4%
alcopops eg Hooch, Bacardi, Breezer 2 per bottle 5%
Liqueurs Baileys, Tia-Maria, Cointreau, Drambuie 1/2 per measure  
Port
(60mls...small glass)
1/2 per measure  

 

low alcohol drinks Carbohydrate portion
(CP) value
alcohol how to manage
Kaliber 1 per 275ml bottle none These drinks contain carbohydrate but no alcohol, so they will have no hypo effect. They are similar to drinking ordinary sugary drinks. You will need to inject quick-acting insulin, but because they produce a spike in glucose levels They are not ideal in diabetes.
Swan light 1 per 275ml bottle 1%