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Can a "pre-diabetic" drink wine or beer? If so, how much?

By January 29, 2009 - 1:32pm
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My mom has recently been diagnosed with "pre-diabetes", and wants to know if she can still drink wine? Or beer? Is light beer better, or is there a type of wine that is better? How can I find out how much sugar and carbs are in each of these beverages?

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March 25, 2015 - 5:45pm
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I too was diagnosed with pre diabetes and needed to know what liquor was safe for me , thanks for the information.

July 18, 2014 - 10:27am
EmpowHER Guest

Thank you for this. I was just diagnosed with what the doctor calls pre-diabetes. I am not a carb eater, exercise 4x week, no family history, crazy eating habits (don't eat enough). I am of Cape Verdean decent, don't smoke and was shocked by the diagnosis. I know that exercise and dieting are a great part of controllin this awful disease but my eating habits are great (so I think). I don't have enough information to make a good judge of that. I don't eat much but maybe eating the wrong things. I need help to understand this more. Thank you for any information you can give me. He sent me away with no amunition to combat this.

June 9, 2014 - 11:10am

Dear Free2Bme: This is one of my favorite subjects and I believe Americans are becoming more educated about the benefits of wine drinking (in moderation). I think pre-diabetes is just an advance alarm and you mom has a great chance of getting it under control provided she follows the nutrition recommendations, including MODERATE drinking of alcoholic beverages which tend to spike up glucose levels.

There has been a lot of data on the benefits of RED wine and diabetes. Here is a link to the American Diabetes Association that shows a very favorable article on the benefits on red wine. Resveratrol is the key to these benefits, a powerful antioxidant which is seeing at higher levels on the skin of red grapes. http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-cholesterol/faqs-redwine.jsp

Another article was published in Wine Spectator (of course you may think, a more biased publication) last year about this topic http://www.winespectator.com/Wine/Features/0,1197,4332,00.html

The journal Cell Metabolism, Oct 2008 edition also published data from research conducted on the benefits of resveratrol found in red wine to curve diabetes. So, as you can see the data is ovewhelming in favor of red wine.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) asserts that alcohol can be incorporated into a diet plan, provided that blood sugar control is already well established and other conditions that aren't compatible with alcohol consumption (such as pregnancy or certain diabetic complications) don't exist.

Whether beer or wine, the main thing is to exercise MODERATION and make sure to keep food intake balanced with the drinking. Your mom has probably been adviced to follow a low carb/high protein diet as a result of her "pre-diabetes" diagnosis. This will include wine and beer. Depending on which beer she consumes, the carb count will be important. I do not know much about beer because I do not drink it, but I found this blog that lists the different types of beer and their carb content: http://www.battlediabetes.com/beer-and-diabetes/

January 30, 2009 - 9:49pm
HERWriter Guide

Hi Free2Bme

Thanks for your question, it's a really good one. I'm sorry your Mom has been diagnosed with pre-diabetes. I hope it doesn't develop into the real thing. Since she is "pre-diabetic" I am assuming this is for type 2 - and the good news is that there are very viable ways, through careful diet and exercise, to avoid the real thing altogether!

For your question - yes, it is usually fine to have a drink. A drink. One would probably be wise to limit oneself to a single drink or maybe two over the course of an evening.

And there are better kinds of drinks for a pre-diabetic than others.

Light beers and dry wines are generally low in carbs. These days, you can see marketing for low calorie and low carb beers all over the television. These would be wise choices. Your mom should ask for dry wines like a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, amongst others, and for red wines - Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir or a Bordeaux would work.

If in doubt at what would be served at a private party, she can always bring her own; that is perfectly acceptable and she will know the content of the drink she is consuming.

Your mother may have high levels of triglycerides (a fat) in her blood. Advise her to have it tested. If the levels are high, she may want to avoid drinking completely. And she should always have her glass of wine either with food or on a full stomach. She should also avoid having a glass of wine directly after working out; this might lower her blood sugar.

So all in all, having a glass of wine or low carb drink is usually pretty safe, as long as a person with pre-diabetes is very moderate in their drinking, picks a wise choice of drink and eats healthy food with it.
I hope she can enjoy a glass now and again.

And I am attaching a list of beers, wines and spirits that will give a pre-diabetic a lot of information in terms of the content that affects blood sugar levels, and give advice on whether a diabetic would be wise to pick that particular drink. There is also information here for non-alcoholic drinks.


And as always, your mom should talk with her doctor about alcohol and pre-diabetes first.

I hope this helps! Slainte!

January 30, 2009 - 3:06pm
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