Watching Carbs? Here’s how to still enjoy a night out.

People toasting glasses of wine

As a Type 1 diabetic and someone who enjoys a night out socially drinking, there are often times I am at a crossroads behind maintaining my blood sugar and enjoying myself.  While the pointers I give are from my experience as a diabetic, anyone watching carbohydrates can take these suggestions and use them also.

Tip 1. Stay away from beer.  For the most part, a 12oz can of beer will have around 15g of carbs.  Of course, this is not a hard and fast rule as different beers can have a various amount of carbohydrates.  Generally, if I am having a beer I stick to light beers or beers that I know the carb content of (for example Michelob Ultra lists it right on the bottle.) Craft beers will often have various sugar contents in it so it is hard to gauge how craft beer will affect your blood sugar.

Tip 2. Stick to clear liquor.  Generally, I stick to vodka and gin during a night out, even after a few drinks they often have little to no effect on my overall blood sugar level.  One thing to keep in mind is mixers. The biggest misconception I see is people thinking that a gin and tonic or vodka and tonic is similar to a vodka soda or gin and soda. Tonic water has essentially the same sugar levels as any coke would have.  They do make diet tonic but on a night out it may be hard to find at most bars and I have to often purchase it for my drinks at home. If you do not like soda water or do not like how it tastes mixed with liquor one thing that I often do is carry a MIO water flavor around with me.  These concentrated water flavors have no sugar and a squeeze or two will transform any vodka water you are drinking into a flavor you love.

Tip 3. Avoid Wine.  Since I grew up a diabetic wine and someone who tries to avoid unnecessary carbs due to diabetes and not a particular diet, wine was never practical for me.  It was never practical because even though they say there are around 4g of carbohydrates in a 5oz glass, it always affected my blood sugar in ways other alcohol did not.  I would always find myself surprised when I would check my blood sugar after a glass or two, my normal correction for carbohydrates would never be enough and I would often find it much higher than 5-10g of carbohydrates would normally affect my blood sugar.

These three tips should help you have an enjoyable night out with minimal worry to your blood sugar or carbohydrate intake.  However, everyone’s body is different and the effects of food, alcohol, and sugar also affect everyone’s bodies differently. For this reason, you should always be careful and if in doubt stay away or consult a doctor.


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