In addition to storing glucose, your liver is responsible for removing alcohol and other drugs from your body. It is also responsible for processing medication. If you are taking medication, drinking too much alcohol can cause damage to your liver.
You should avoid binge drinking if you are taking metformin to control your diabetes. Doctor Jalloh says, “Drinking alcohol while taking metformin can increase the risk of metformin’s infamous rare side effect of lactic acidosis. Patients should avoid excessive amounts of alcohol (i.e., more than 2 drinks a day for men or 1 drink a day for women) while taking metformin. One drink is equal to a 12 oz beer, 5 oz glass of wine, 1 ½ oz distilled spirits such as vodka, whiskey or gin.”
Tips for Drinking Alcohol
- Do not drink alcohol if you have:
- Hypoglycemia or hypoglycemia unawareness
- Elevated triglyceride levels
- Abstain from alcohol if you are pregnant or attempting to become pregnant.
- Avoid high calorie, sugar-laden mixers. Opt for diet soda, club soda, diet tonic water or water.
- “Make simple swaps for traditional favorites—think rum and diet coke instead of rum and coke,” says Theresa Link, RD, CDE, a clinical dietitian at VirtaHealth.com, an online specialty clinic for reversal of type 2 diabetes. If you prefer a sweet drink, Link suggests you try her recipe for low-carb Kahlua: ¼ cup strong brewed coffee, ¼ cup Splenda, 1 tsp vanilla, 4 oz vodka, and 4 oz brandy.
- If beer is your beverage of choice, watch out for craft beers. They can have twice the alcohol and calories as a light beer.
- Link says, “Choose dry wines and distilled spirits instead of sweet wine because they have the least amount of carbohydrate.”