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This page is about drinking alcohol if you have diabetes.

About Diabetes and Alcohol

As a general rule there is no need to give up alcohol just because you have been diagnosed with diabetes. Some medications, other than those used to treat diabetes may mean that you should not take alcohol so check with your doctor first.

Information on drinking and Diabetes

The principle of sensible drinking applies to people with diabetes: 2 units per day for women and 3 units per day for men.

  • One unit = ½ pint ordinary strength beer, lager or cider.
  • 1 pub measure (50ml) of sherry, vermouth.
  • 1 glass of wine (125ml).
  • 1 pub measure of spirit (25ml), gin, vodka, whiskey, brandy etc.

If you are drinking beer or lager, remember to choose the ordinary strength and not the higher alcohol ones.

All alcohol contains calories so if you are trying to lose weight it is best to only have an occasional drink.

Alcohol can lower your blood glucose level, and if you are on insulin or some diabetic tablets, drinking alcohol can make you less likely to recognise a hypo.


  • Never drink on an empty stomach.
  • If you are going to be out late, eat a snack while you are out.
  • Don’t forget to have some supper when you get home.
  • Never drink and drive.

Contact us

Diabetes Centre
Royal Liverpool University Hospital
Prescot Street
L7 8XP

0151 706 2829

The NHS has put in place measures to ensure the safety of all patients and NHS staff while also ensuring services are available to the public as normal. If you have a hospital appointment then you should attend as planned.
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