If you choose to drink alcohol, it is recommended to consume alcohol in moderation. Alcohol can2:
- Contribute to weight gain, given that alcohol is an energy-dense beverage.
- Cause blood glucose levels to go too high or too low (a concern especially for people with diabetes).
- Interfere with medications.
- Increase triglycerides (type of cholesterol) in your blood, and therefore increase the risk of heart disease.
The Australia Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol recommend for men and women to consume no more than 2 standard drinks per day. It is recommended to have at least 2 alcohol free days per week1. If trying to lose weight, reduce blood pressure, reduce triglycerides or improve glucose levels, aim for 1-2 standard drinks at special occasions only.
Tips for when drinking alcohol2,3
- Sip your drink slowly over a meal.
- Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
- Alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
- Drink alcohol with meals to reduce the effect of alcohol in blood glucose levels.
- Fill glasses half-full to reduce alcohol consumption.
- The alcohol content is equally important as the sugar content of drinks. If a drink is sugar-free it can still interfere with medications or affect your blood glucose levels.
- Use diet mixers (e.g. artificially sweetened, diet drinks) or soda water, if you like to mix alcohol with non-alcoholic drinks.
- Limit intake of pre-mixed drinks with sugar.
- Avoid eating salty foods as they can make you thirsty and more prone to drink more.
- Avoid energy drinks as the caffeine can reduce cognition and mislead how much you have drunk.
- Have at least 2 alcohol-free days.
- Avoid binge drinking (consuming more than 2 standard drinks per day).
- Quality over quantity, savour the flavour and enjoy a quality drink that you enjoy!
For more information see
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2. The Dietitians Association of Australia, Alcohol, viewed 28 March 2013
4. Borushek, A 2011, Calorie Fat & Carbohydrate Counter, Family Health Publications, WA