Should I drink alcohol?

In Australia, drinking alcohol is generally acceptable and for many people is a normal part of social events. However, for as long as alcohol has been used and enjoyed, some people have experienced problems associated with it. Most people with diabetes can enjoy a small amount of alcohol. However, it’s best to discuss it first with your diabetes health care team.

For people who are on insulin or certain diabetes tablets, alcohol may increase the risk of hypoglycaemia (‘hypos’).


Limit your alcohol intake if you choose to drink. Current guidelines recommend no more than two standard drinks a day for both men and women. For those who need to control weight or lose weight, it's a good idea to cut down your intake. It is also best to drink alcohol with a meal or some carbohydrate-containing food.

One standard drink is equal to:

  • 100 mL wine
  • 285 mL regular beer
  • 30 mL spirits
  • 60 mL fortified wine
  • 375 mL low-alcohol beer (less than 3% alcohol).

It is important to remember:

  • All alcoholic drinks are high in kilojoules and can contribute to weight gain
  • Too much alcohol can increase the risk of developing complications by putting on weight and increasing blood pressure
  • Drinking a lot of alcohol can cause hypoglycaemia if you are taking insulin or certain diabetes tablets
  • Low alcohol or ‘lite’ beers are a better choice than regular or diet beers because they are lower in alcohol
  • When mixing drinks use low joule/diet mixers such as diet cola, diet ginger ale, diet tonic water.

Diabetes and Alcohol

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