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From Austrailia:

I am 15 and have had diabetes for 2 years. I like beer and I am disturbed to see that you can only drink twice a week. Are there any alternatives?


I am glad you are asking since you probably do not want to ask your diabetes team. But this is a tough one for me to answer since I do not feel you should be drinking at the age of 15. Besides the fact that it must be illegal in your community, drinking alcoholic beverages poses special problems for those with diabetes. Alcohol drunk on an empty stomach can result in hypoglycemia. I can not give any guidelines for teenagers except no alcohol.


Additional comments from Dr. Quick:

I agree with Lois: it's much safer to simply say no alcohol at this stage of your life; later, when you have more maturity, and more experience with your diabetes, it'll be okay (in moderation!). Alcohol is sometimes perceived as being the in-thing for teens to do, but if you point out to your friends that it is dangerous to your health, you should be able to participate in most events with diet soda pop or other alternative non-alcoholic beverages. And when you're old enough to drive, you can volunteer to be the designated driver if the other kids are drinking alcohol.


[Editor's comment: One of the goals of Children with Diabetes is to provide the best information possible about diabetes. Questions about drinking in teens pose an unusual challenge. While drinking alcohol in the United States is illegal for teenagers, in many parts of the world it is legal. Since alcohol impairs judgement and can cause hypoglycemia, the best advice we can offer is to refrain from drinking. True friends will support you, since your health may depend on it.

If you are placed in a situation where it is impossible not to drink, you should be sure to eat plenty of food (covered with appropriate insulin) and to test your blood sugar often. Hypoglycemia can cause behavior similar to drunkeness. You don't want to have something think you're drunk when you are in need of emergency medical help for hypoglycemia. Recently in the United States a man with diabetes who was experiencing a severe hypoglycemic episode was beaten by police who mistook his behavior for intoxication. JSH]

Original posting 12 Dec 1998
Posted to Meal Planning, Food and Diet


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:02
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