I like brandy and seven. How many can I have?

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I’m a new diabetic and I would like to hear from you as to what you would suggest. Occasionally I like to have a brandy and seven. Since I can’t drink regular pop, I’ve changed to diet pop. What about the brandy? How many can I have?

While I do not recommend that anyone drink alcohol, it should be limited by your doctor’s recommendation. Usually, that means no more than two alcoholic drinks per day for males with non-insulin dependent diabetes (Type II diabetes) who are in good blood glucose control. One alcohol serving is two mixed drinks with 1 1/2 ounces alcohol each or two 12 ounce beers or two five-ounce glasses of wine. Also, each alcoholic drink contributes about 100 calories, so you will need to subtract 100 calories per alcoholic drink from your total food intake on days you choose to drink. The total amount of calories should remain the same for that day compared to other days in your eating plan.

I would like you to consider these suggestions. Pick two different days of the week (i.e. Friday and Monday) to have your two drinks. It will be easier to remember what day of the week today is than when you last had your two drinks.

If you have an alcoholic drink make sure you eat. Plan to have a meal or snack at the same time. One effect of alcohol is that it shuts off your liver from releasing stored glucose from your liver into your bloodstream which increases the likelihood of experiencing low blood sugar. Many of the symptoms of low blood sugar resemble intoxication (like dizziness, slurred speech, blurred vision, muscle weakness and a shaky feeling).

If you are on insulin or pills, the medication will continue to work and your blood sugar will drop when you drink alcohol and don’t eat. Also, some diabetic pills may interact with the alcohol and cause facial flushing.