We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is the Relationship Between Beer and Diabetes?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Beer and diabetes relate in several ways. First, diabetics must monitor the amount of any alcohols consumed, because most alcohol contains sugar or carbohydrates, which affect blood sugar levels. Beer affects medications used to treat diabetes, and there are times when beer can dramatically lower blood sugar, which proves problematic if a person is incapacitated from drinking and doesn’t realize he has become hypoglycemic. Lastly, beer does not have great nutritional value and consuming it may mean consuming a lot of empty calories that make it difficult to maintain a healthy weight.

Any diabetic has to keep constant watch on blood sugar levels. It is dangerous when sugar levels rise above normal (hyperglycemia), or sink below normal (hypoglycemia). A diabetic uses medication to maintain sugar levels within a safe range, and depending on when beer is consumed, the beer and diabetes connection may mean creating a scenario where a person becomes hyperglycemic or hypoglycemic. On an empty stomach, a beer can dramatically lower blood sugar levels, and after significant eating, one or more beers may raise these levels. Essentially, beer and diabetes are connected in one way because they act together to make it more difficult to control blood sugar levels.

Much of the time the real danger with beer and diabetes is that the beverage may induce hypoglycemia. Alcohol can shut off sugar production in the body and when this is combined with medications for diabetes that do the same, people can end up with dramatically low blood sugar. The symptoms of low blood sugar can be mistaken for intoxication, and the more beer a person drinks, the less likely he or she is to notice the hypoglycemic state to take medications that can correct it. For this reason, doctors recommend that patients not consume much of any type of alcohol in one sitting, or at any time, and they should especially not drink beer on an empty stomach or after taking medication to lower blood sugar.

Diabetics are enjoined to keep healthy diets and maintain a healthy weight. Many people are even able to discontinue medications simply by losing weight. Beer and diabetes have a further connection when it comes to weight maintenance. Beer can have a lot of calories, and sometimes contains more calories than a soda. Just because beer isn’t sweet, it does not mean that it isn’t caloric and an obstruction to weight maintenance. People are better off avoiding it completely, or restricting their consumption of beer and other types alcohol to minimal and occasional use.

There have been some interesting studies on diabetes and beer drinkers, and though some of the studies are several decades old, they do suggest correlation between beer drinking, diabetes and higher earlier mortality rates, when compared to diabetics who principally drank other alcohols like wine. Additionally, significant beer drinking may increase risk for diabetes, if they gain a lot of weight from empty calories. There’s suggestion that beer and alcohol consumption of all other types are best in moderation, whether or not people have diabetes.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon331179 — On Apr 21, 2013

We are all slaves to some vice. For some, it's food, some it's pills, alcohol, smoking, excessive anything isn't good. Just stay lean. It's the best advice I can give, and if you're not lean, than start lowering you intake to lean down.

Everything in moderation. Excess due to overindulging will result in some form of breakdown, mental and physical.

By oasis11 — On May 30, 2011

@SauteePan - I think that sugar free foods taste so good because they often add more fat and other ingredients to make the food taste good.

There was a package of sugar free shortbread cookies that I would buy because I really liked the taste until I realized that they contained over 50% fat.

From then on, I bought the regular cookies and just modified the amount that I would eat.

Also, I noticed that with some of the sugar free foods they tend to create constipation if you eat too many of these types of foods. So I try to eat these types of food in moderation.

By SauteePan — On May 29, 2011

@Brickback - I agree with you. In fact many of the diets that offer lean protein and whole grain carbohydrates are also recommended for diabetics as well. I am also glad that I never had a problem with alcohol because I really do not like the taste of it. At least it is one high calorie drink that I don’t have a problem eliminating from my diet.

I also wanted to say that there are a lot of sugar free foods that do taste pretty good. With some of them I can’t really tell the difference between regular foods and foods are sugar free. These sugar free foods have really come a long way.

By BrickBack — On May 28, 2011

@Sunshine31 - I know that the diabetic diet requires an elimination of sugar and processed carbohydrates, but if you think about it, a diabetes diet is actually a healthy diet for everyone to follow. Even if you don’t have diabetes, if you follow a type 2 diabetes diet for example, most people would lose a lot of weight and would actually have a lot more energy along with healthier hearts.

I heard that it has something to do with sugar and the way that the body metabolizes it. When a person ingests sugary foods it tends to hinder the body’s mechanism for burning calories which is why the removal of sugar is the first thing that is required in all diets in order to lose weight.

By sunshine31 — On May 26, 2011

@Anon143368 -I am so sorry to hear about your condition. I know that a lot of young kids start drinking at an early age and later develop a dependence to alcohol. It also happens with cigarette smoking too.

So you are definitely not alone. Alcohol and diabetes are a big problem but thankfully there are a lot of support groups and treatment options available for those that are suffering with both conditions.

By anon143368 — On Jan 15, 2011

Scary. I've been drinking beer excessively since high school and now I'm 57, recently diagnosed with type 2. This article helped me understand why it's been so difficult to "manage" my alcoholism lately.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.