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Alcohol

Can I drink alcohol if I have diabetes?

For anyone consuming alcohol—whether you have diabetes or not—the key word is moderation.

Limit your alcohol intake if you choose to drink. Current guidelines recommend no more than two standard drinks a day for both men and women. For those who need to control or lose weight, it’s a good idea to cut down your intake. It is also best to drink alcohol with a meal or some carbohydrate-containing food.

Read more in our fact sheet Alcohol.

What is a standard drink?

One standard drink is: 285ml of regular beer, 375ml of mid-strength beer, 425ml of low-alcohol beer (less than 3% alcohol), 60ml of fortified wine, 100ml of wine, 30ml of spirits.One standard drink is equal to:

  • 285ml of regular beer
  • 375ml of mid-strength beer
  • 425ml of low-alcohol beer (less than 3% alcohol)
  • 60ml of fortified wine
  • 100ml of wine
  • 30ml of spirits.

It is important to remember:

  • all alcoholic drinks are high in kilojoules and can contribute to weight gain
  • too much alcohol can increase the risk of developing complications by putting on weight and increasing blood pressure
  • drinking a lot of alcohol can cause hypoglycaemia if you are taking insulin or certain diabetes tablets
  • low alcohol or ‘lite’ beers are a better choice than regular or diet beers because they are lower in alcohol
  • when mixing drinks, use low-joule/diet mixers such as diet cola, diet ginger ale, diet tonic water.

The number of standard drinks in alcohol beverages is always shown on the label of the container. For more information (including a visual guide) see the Australian Government’s information website on alcohol.