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Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
I have had type 1 diabetes for 2 months and have not been on a night out or drank alcohol ever since. I guess I'm a bit afraid and wary. Any tips on how to manage drinking? how will alcohol affect me, what drinks to have/to avoid? I've heard you have to snack after each alcoholic drink? I've just started uni and didn't do any of freshers and with Halloween next week I was planning on going out? I want to be able to feel confident in going out again any help highly appreciated thanks x


Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
You don't have to have alcohol. The first time I realised that I was astounded. My friend ordered a lemon and lime at the Oaks, Chorlton and I was never more surprised. Seemed very civilised to me, I come from a family of drinkers who left the table swimming at last orders. Pathetic. :)


Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
The best thing that I can advise is that you test out, in a safe environment, what alcohol does to you. For example white wine has absolutely no effect on my glucose levels and I don't have to snack for it. But other people are different. When going out drinking make sure that you've got more than enough hypo treatment on you and I would really recommend that you test every hour and run your BG levels slightly higher than normal. Also make sure that everyone you are with knows that you are diabetic and what to do if you are ill. I've probably drunk slightly more than I should since I was a teenager (I've had diabetes since I was 2), I only had one bad incident drinking lager when I was 16 - but in those days there wasn't the insulin flexibility that there is now and testing machines were too big to carry on a night out and I was absolutely fine afterwards :D Most importantly, enjoy yourself :)


Staff member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Hello @HannahVictoria

You are right to be cautious about alcohol, but you should not be scared. Drinking with T1 does carry more risk than for ‘normals’, but it is perfectly do-able and you should feel able to go out and enjoy yourself.

There are a few things to watch out for...

Many drinks initially rapidly raise BG (eg beer, lager, cider, non-diet mixers, cocktails, liqueurs, alcopops etc). Some have less BG raising effect (wine, neat spirits).

Alcohol suppresses glucose output from the liver for many hours after drinking.

This can mean that you initially see a big rise in BG, only to crash later. How much alcohol lowers your BG varies person to person and by the amount you drink.

The more you drink, the more likely a BG crash is, and the less likely you are to spot it.

If out dancing, alcohol and the exercise will be ganging up on your BGs ;)

Additionally alcohol impairs the effectiveness of any emergency treatment, should they be required (eg glucagon)

Someone very hypo can just look like someone very drunk (particularly if they smell of booze). So club staff and/or Police may not know what’s up if things get out of hand. Wear medical ID, and carry glucose.

This all sounds a bit negative - but essentially I have enjoyed alcohol in widely varying amounts of consumption on nights out since I was Dx at uni. You absolutely can do it, you just need to be aware of the risks, take some precautions and keep your wits/BG meter/hypo treatment about you.

Have fun!


Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Hey HannahVictoria,
I believe we are of similar age and with a lot of 18th parties coming up I'm asking the same questions!
I've only been diabetic since February, and it's taken me a while to think about drinking. I have no desire to get absolutely "smashed" but I want to start trying things little by little.

I'm afraid I'm not sure but there are a few little tips I heard from some girls who had been type 1 much longer than me (about 9 to 10 years), although please don't hold me to them - if you're unsure it's best to talk to your diabetic team. They understand that we still want to have fun!

1) apparently cider is a no because it has a lot of sugar for flavouring (and Smirnoff ice is a no too - one girl had some personal experience with that one!)
2) food (yeah the "party sandwich" doesn't sound great but hey)
3) you will go really high, but don't take insulin because you will drop! For the same reason, try not to run around a lot as it may be hard to tell when you drop and you don't want to use energy unnecessarily in case
4) 30g snacks (packet of crisps) if it's been a while since you've last eaten

These are just from some personal experiences of people I have spoken to but I am by no means very knowledgeable on this topic - I myself have yet to drink since turning diabetic and I never really drank much before anyway so perhaps I'm not the most qualified person to be answering but I did find it really helpful to talk to other people my age who had been diabetic for much longer. Remember that like what other people have said, you don't have to drink, it may be an idea to try a little at home first where it is a safer environment as someone has already mentioned

Whatever happens, have a great time and look after yourself :)


Forum Host
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
It sounds to me as if you need a practice in a safe place at home. This way you can work out what effect the alcohol has on BG in that circumstance.

Then when you go out as others have said, be prepared.
- Go with a friend who knows where you hypo stuff is.
- Test regularly especially for the first few times.
- Take lots of hypos stuff with you.

Take note of the bits Mike has mentioned, where He highlights that things are going to raise (sweet drinks, liver not able to release glucose when dealing with alcohol) and to lower (exercise even just walking out and about) your BG.

Above all like everyone we need to be sensible.

Enjoy yourself

Have you seen the You tube videos Type 1 Uncut (a link on DUK website and someone more techs than me can put the link in here). They address lots of issues of dealing with T1 when moving away from home. They make me laugh even now.