By Shannon George (LiveStrong.com)
Glucose, a substance obtained by eating carbohydrates such as cereal and pasta, is an important source of energy. Drinking alcohol can cause hypoglycemia, or dangerously low blood glucose levels resulting in dizziness, disorientation, and even coma. While a maximum of one alcoholic beverage per day is considered safe for most people, including individuals with blood glucose disorders, it’s important talk to your doctor about the amount of alcohol that’s safe for you, especially if you have diabetes or another health condition.
Can a Shot of Vodka Lower My Glucose?
Liquor and Blood Sugar
Drinking alcohol can lower your blood sugar, particularly if you drink hard liquor such as vodka. When you have alcohol in your system, your body will process it before it breaks down carbohydrates or other nutrients. Thus, your liver does not release glucose, the end-product of carbohydrate metabolization, while it is busy removing alcohol. Liquor also causes the pancreas to sustain its release of insulin. Unlike beer and wine, distilled liquors such as vodka do not contain any carbohydrates and are thus more likely to cause a drop in blood sugar, especially if you drink it straight or on an empty stomach.
Recommendations for People with Blood Glucose Disorders
While alcohol consumption can cause hypoglycemia in otherwise healthy people, individuals with diabetes who take insulin or other blood glucose-lowering medications are especially at risk for developing hypoglycemia from drinking alcohol. While it’s probably safe for most people with diabetes to have a single alcoholic drink — the equivalent of a 1.5-oz shot of vodka or another distilled spirit — per day, you should not exceed this amount. Your doctor may recommend testing your blood glucose levels and eating some food before drinking alcohol with diabetes.