Diabetes is a chronic medical condition in which the body cannot generate enough insulin or utilise the insulin that is produced by the body. It is a major global health concern in the present day. Specifically, the pancreas is a vital organ that produces insulin, which helps break down the sugar in food into energy. As a result, individuals who consume carbohydrates have elevated blood sugar levels after consuming, prompting the release of insulin into the bloodstream to aid digestion.
The consumption of food and beverages has an impact on blood sugar levels and diabetes management. For instance, high-carbohydrate foods and those with added sugar can lead to a sudden increase in blood sugar. Additionally, beverages with high carbohydrates, calories and sugar can make it difficult to manage diabetes. That is why individuals with diabetes are often uncertain about the effects of alcohol, as many think it can raise blood sugar. Additionally, there is some confusion about what type of alcohol one can consume.
This article examines vodka, one of the purest forms of alcohol with little added sugar. As it contains fewer carbs than other types of alcohol, its effect on blood sugar levels is less pronounced. Nevertheless, knowing how much alcohol is healthy for blood sugar levels is essential for managing diabetes. Furthermore, those with diabetes must be aware of the same restrictions as the general public regarding alcohol consumption.
Read on to understand the impact of vodka on blood sugar levels.
Vodka: An Overview
Vodka is a fine alcoholic beverage made using fermented grain or potatoes. It is typically mixed with other ingredients in cocktails or consumed on its own. Vodka is known for its lack of a distinct flavour, making it a popular choice for mixed drinks. Compared to other spirits such as whiskey or rum, vodka is a lower-calorie option and does not contain carbs, meaning it won’t raise blood sugar levels.
Flavoured vodkas are gaining popularity, with various flavours from grapefruit to birthday cakes. Unfortunately, there is no nutrition information label or ingredient list on the bottle, so it is difficult to know how much added sugar the flavoured vodka contains.
Nutritional Information on Vodka
Vodka is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from grains or potatoes. During the distillation process, the calorie and carbohydrate content drastically reduces, making it a low-calorie and carbohydrate-free drink. For example, a 1.5-ounce (44 millilitres) serving of 80-proof vodka contains about 97 calories and 0 grams of carbohydrates. In addition, it has no vitamins or minerals. However, some flavoured vodkas may contain added sugar or artificial sweeteners, increasing calorie and carbohydrate content. Reading the nutrition label to check for sugar or carbohydrate content is best.
The HealthifyPro Tip
Most people may think that since it does not contain many calories and carbohydrates, it will not impact blood sugar. However, the nutrients in vodka may not cause considerable changes in blood sugar levels, but people usually drink it with sugary mixers like juice or soda. These additives can increase blood sugar levels. Therefore, it is crucial to be mindful of how one consumes the drink.
Is Vodka Good for Diabetics?
Drinking any type of alcohol can cause an increase in blood sugar levels. That is because the liver focuses on breaking down the alcohol instead of controlling glucose. It can be a problem for people with type 2 diabetes because they already have difficulty managing their blood sugar. In addition, studies show that excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
One of the theories is regarding the nutrition in Vodka. Although it is made from carbs such as wheat and potatoes, the fermentation and distillation processes remove them, making vodka a low-calorie and carb-free option compared to beer and wine.
Distilled spirits like vodka, rum, whisky, and gin don’t contain any carbohydrates. However, some rum varieties have additional ingredients like sugar and spices, which change the flavour and nutritional content.
What Does Research Say?
Studies on alcohol consumption and its effects on Type 2 Diabetes have revealed that multiple factors can contribute to the development of this condition. Research has demonstrated a U-shaped relationship between light-to-moderate alcohol use and a lower risk of T2D for both men and women. It says that only those with light to moderate alcohol consumption are at a lower risk. However, it does not deny the threat.
While there is no clear consensus on the type of alcoholic beverage that is most beneficial, reducing alcohol intake can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Consequently, it is best for individuals diagnosed with type-2 diabetes to modify their drinking habits.
One study also warned that drinking heavily could raise the possibility of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in individuals taking insulin or specific diabetes medications.
It’s essential to remember that everyone responds differently to alcohol, so it’s always a good idea to talk to a healthcare professional to figure out what is safe for you. Too much alcohol can raise the likelihood of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in individuals who take insulin or other diabetes medications.
If you have diabetes, it’s imperative to be aware of how alcohol can affect your blood sugar levels and to monitor your blood sugar levels when consuming alcohol. HealthifyMe can assist you in both of these areas. First, you can consult with a HealthifyMe nutritionist to better understand the effects of alcohol and the appropriate amounts to consume. Additionally, HealthifyPro’s Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) can help you track your blood glucose levels in real time, enabling you to observe the impact of vodka on your blood sugar levels.
The HealthifyMe Note
Although there is no specific and conclusive research on vodka’s impact on diabetes, most research on alcohol and diabetes showcases a debatable relationship. While studies show no significant effect of moderate alcohol consumption on diabetes, experts believe it is unsafe for diabetes management. In addition, the urge to snack while drinking and the added mixers like soda, juices, and carbonated beverages make it even more unhealthy.
To sum it up, although vodka in moderation is unlikely to affect blood sugar significantly, people with diabetes should be aware of how much they are drinking. Mixing with other beverages or consuming it in large amounts can cause a rise in blood sugar levels or even increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Therefore, it is always best to consult a nutritionist and monitor your blood sugar levels more closely when consuming alcohol.
The Research Sources
1. Kim SJ, Kim DJ. Alcoholism and diabetes mellitus. Diabetes Metab J. 2012 Apr;36(2):108-15. doi: 10.4093/dmj.2012.36.2.108. Epub 2012 Apr 17. PMID: 22540046; PMCID: PMC3335891.
2. Minzer, S.; Losno, R.A.; Casas, R. The Effect of Alcohol on Cardiovascular Risk Factors: Is There New Information? Nutrients 2020, 12, 912. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12040912
3. Emanuele NV, Swade TF, Emanuele MA. Consequences of alcohol use in diabetics. Alcohol Health Res World. 1998;22(3):211-9. PMID: 15706798; PMCID: PMC6761899.