Ask the RD: Alcohol during the Holidays

Q: So many of my holiday dinners, parties and family celebrations involve alcohol.  Can I drink alcohol during the holidays?

A: For some, a celebration just isn’t the same without a glass of wine or sparkling champagne. Drinking a lot of alcohol can be dangerous for everyone, not just people with diabetes. On top of the immediate effects of alcohol, these drinks contain a lot of calories without any nutrients. However, enjoying your beverage of choice can be done in a safe manner.

  • Make sure to eat something with your drink; alcohol will be absorbed much quicker on an empty stomach and has a lowering effect on blood sugar. Enjoy your drink with the main meal and try alternating between the alcohol and a glass of water.
  • If you are taking insulin or certain oral medications, you may experience delayed hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). It’s a good idea to check your blood sugar before you go to bed to make sure you’re in a safe range. If your blood sugar is below your target, you might need a snack before you go to sleep. Try combining 15g of carbohydrates with a source of protein to ensure your blood sugar stays level throughout the night. Some examples could be a piece of whole grain toast with peanut butter, a few crackers with cheese, or a fruit with a handful of almonds.

Assistance provided by Leandra Rabinovitch, dietetic intern

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