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best alcoholic drinks for diabetics

best alcoholic drinks for diabetics

best alcoholic drinks for diabetics

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best alcoholic drinks for diabetics

The best type of alcoholic beverage depends, in part, on what you enjoy drinking. If your tastes run to wine or champagne, consider:

  • Red wine, which provides antioxidants that may help lower the risk of heart disease
  • White wine
  • Dry sparkling wines, such as Champagne, prosecco, or cava

Go easy with sweet wines, which include Port, Riesling, Moscato, Sauterne, and ice wine, as these contain more sugar than drier red and white wines.

If beer is more to your liking, you might consider a light or low-carb beer. Light beers are brewed in a way as to lower the calories and carbs. Most regular beers contain about 15 grams of carb per 12 ounces; a light beer contains about half as many carb grams, and maybe even as few as 2 grams of carb per 12-ounce serving. Some light beers to consider include:

  • Michelob Ultra Pure Gold
  • Miller Lite
  • Coors Light
  • Amstel Light
  • Beck’s Premier Light
  • Yuengling Lager Light
best alcoholic drinks for diabetics
best alcoholic drinks for diabetics

best alcoholic drinks for diabetics

What about no- or low-alcohol beer? It can be an option if you have diabetes and want to skip the Alcohol , but you’ll need to keep an eye on the carbs: some brands may only have a few grams of carb, but other can have close to 20 grams per serving.

If a cocktail is more up your alley, steer towards mixed drinks made without fruit juice, regular soda, milk, or ice cream. Here are some options to consider:

  • Gin and tonic (made with diet tonic water)
  • Rum and diet cola
  • Gimlet
  • Martini
  • Vodka soda
  • Bloody Mary

There’s always the option of drinking a distilled spirit on its own, either “neat” or “on the rocks” (which means with ice cubes added).

Unfortunately, most alcoholic beverages don’t list the nutrition information or ingredients on their labels, since they’re not required to do so. That’s because alcohol is under the purview of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). Labels are optional, but not required.

Red Wine

It’s time to break out the wine glasses; in moderation, red wine has heart-healthy benefits and antioxidants. Pour a glass of about 5 ounces and sip with dinner. If you’re craving something sweet with your wine, try roasting these mocha pumpkin seeds for a protein-packed treat.

Light Beer

You might be thinking about this very question, “Can diabetics drink beer?” The short answer is: Yes. However, it is important that you only consume light beer. Regular beers have higher calories compared to light beers.  Note that the darker the color of the beer, the higher the calorie contents. You can have saisons, sours, and wheat. You won’t have to worry about gaining a beer belly, either.

Dry Martini

Here is one of the very few low sugar cocktails to order at a bar. While you may think of a martini as being a sweet even somewhat fruity adult beverage, I’ll share with you a little secret I learned in bartending school: A TRUE martini consists of gin as its main ingredient. Nowadays, one often thinks of vodka when it comes to martinis, and there is an array of different flavored martinis out there, but here I am talking about your old-fashioned dry martini with gin and preferably extra dry vermouth. Martini & Rossi is among the most popular brands of vermouth and in a dry martini, there is less than the 1 oz serving size in the beverage. The drink itself should be around 120 calories with only .2 grams of carbs even with the gin.

best alcoholic drinks for diabetics
best alcoholic drinks for diabetics

Bloody Mary

A 10-ounce Bloody Mary (like this one) can be a healthier choice when it comes to alcoholic drinks for diabetics. Look for low-sodium tomato juice and load yours up with veggies like fresh celery and peppers to keep your blood sugar stable. Serve it with a healthy breakfast like avocado toast on whole-grain bread or a veggie omelet.

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.

Hot Toddy

Speaking of cocktails, you can also have one without worrying about your blood sugar level. If you have scotch or bourbon at home, you can definitely make this. You just have to add hot water, lemon, cinnamon, and honey. You can minimize the calories by adding more water. You can also add a bit of honey together with cinnamon and lemon juice.


I’ve already mentioned how certain brands of different alcohols vary when it comes to the number of calories they have. Typically, gin runs around the 70 calorie range. However, there are definitely numerous brands out there that offer substantially fewer calories. While Beefeater and Tanqueray—two very popular top-shelf gins—are both 67 calories per serving, Bombay Sapphire only runs at 56 (although, I’ve had a few customers who were not too fond of this particular brand) and Gordon’s has even fewer with 52 calories.

Gin, which ranks 8th on our list of best alcoholic drinks for diabetics type 1 or type 2, is a pure spirit, so it has 0 carbs. Now, I wouldn’t go ordering straight gin on the rocks. Yuck! Gin and Tonic is a popular choice; however, you want to avoid the tonic. Diet tonic would be a more suitable option for you or even better seltzer/soda water. It literally is just carbonated water and has no carbs or calories whatsoever.

Light Eggnog

While regular eggnog can rack up the fat and calories, choosing a lighter version is a fun and festive way to celebrate the holidays. Light eggnog is lower in carbs and calories; it also still tastes sweet so one glass (about 4 ounces) will satisfy your sweet tooth. Enjoy a small glass with a chocolate pistachio biscotti and then switch to water or herbal tea.

best alcoholic drinks for diabetics
best alcoholic drinks for diabetics

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.

Is Vodka good for diabetics?

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.

Does alcohol cause diabetes?

There are several risk factors for type 2 diabetes, these include your family history, age and ethnic background. We also know you’re more likely to develop it if you’re overweight.

Excess alcohol intake is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, but the relationship between alcohol and risk of type 2 diabetes can be a little bit complicated and staying within government guidelines is the safest way to drink alcohol.

Alcohol can also contain a lot of calories, which can lead to putting on weight.

Take a look at our information about risk factors and find out your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

best alcoholic drinks for diabetics
best alcoholic drinks for diabetics

Benefits of Alcohol in Type 2 Diabetes

Alcohol can lower blood sugar. And those with diabetes need to bring down elevated glucose levels. It makes sense, then, that drinking could play a role in preventing and treating type 2 diabetes.

Some evidence supports this stance. For example, studies have shown that for people who have type 2 diabetes, occasionally drinking alcohol may slightly reduce glucose levels.6

Drinking alcohol in moderation has also been linked to a number of other health benefits, such as increasing the amount of good cholesterol (HDL) in the blood. This may help lower the risk of heart disease, which you’re at greater risk for if you have type 2 diabetes.

People who drink red wine may derive another benefit. According to the American Heart Association, red wine contains antioxidants, which are compounds in certain foods that help prevent cell damage.7

They do this by counteracting free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can cause disease. People with type 2 diabetes tend to have especially high levels of free radicals. (They sound wild because they are; they’re unstable molecules that damage the cells in your body.)

The important thing to understand, though, is that this presumed benefit is just a theory. There is no research to show a definite link between drinking red wine and improved diabetes management.7

With all of this in mind, the risks of drinking alcohol when you have type 2 diabetes may outweigh any benefits. It’s important to keep your personal health top-of-mind, right along with the advice of your healthcare provider.


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