Is Beer Off the Menu if You Have Diabetes?

women at a bar drinking water and beer

Is Beer Off the Menu if You Have Diabetes?

Managing diabetes, while still enjoying your favourite food and drink, is a skill that I have the privilege of teaching to people of all walks of life. While my practice is located in Miramichi, New Brunswick, I am one of many registered dietitians in Canada who are Certified Diabetes Educators. A hot topic that clients often inquire about is whether or not it’s still okay for them to have alcohol/beer. 

So, what’s the answer? According to Diabetes Canada, “as a general rule, there is no need to avoid alcohol because you have diabetes.” However, this is not true for every person. It is essential you always consult your health care provider about alcohol and your health, particularly if you are living with diabetes. 

Are you a person living with diabetes who has asked a Diabetes Educator if it’s okay to consume alcohol? If so, you likely spent an entire appointment discussing the answer. Unfortunately, there have not been many user-friendly guides for Canadians to take home with them – until now. 

New Resource to Help Answer Your Questions 
For the past several months, I have worked with Beer Canada on the creation of a new resource which I am excited to share with you. Your Guide to Diabetes and Beer was developed as a collaboration between Diabetes Canada and Beer Canada. 

The guidelines around drinking alcohol, specifically beer, is probably one of the most common questions that I am asked right after “can I still eat bananas?” I think because everyone knows there are carbohydrates (sugar) in beer, it’s believed (albeit mistakenly) that people living with diabetes can’t follow Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines. And, let’s face it, it can be confusing sifting through all the information on the rabbit hole that is the Internet! 

Why is this new resource important and helpful? 
As a Diabetes Educator, I realize key information can be missed in an appointment. It can be overwhelming and stressful to receive a download of information, so it’s important to have something on paper that you can review later.  

The Your Guide to Diabetes and Beer resource helps you continue to live your best life, even if that includes beer or alcohol in moderation while continuing to managing your blood sugar. The resource covers the most important points when it comes to safety while consuming beer and living with diabetes including: 
•    Beer and Carbs – How different beers stack up;
•    Beer and blood sugar - 10 ways to guard against low blood glucose;
•    Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines – for men and women.

There is a lot to consider when consuming alcohol/beer while living with diabetes, which is why it’s always recommended to consult with your health care provider or diabetes educator to receive personalized advice based on your lifestyle and medication regimen. 

This resource is for those who are newly diagnosed and for those who have been living with diabetes for years. If someone you know and love is living with diabetes, share this resource with them, you never know who might need a refresher! 

Download the full resource >
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Kortney Patriquin is a registered dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator located in Miramichi, New Brunswick. She is co-chair of the Diabetes, Obesity and Cardiovascular Network of Dietitians of Canada.

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