Although celebration is always in the air during the holidays, the reality is that this is a time of sheer delight for some, yet pure torture for others. This is especially true as it relates to alcohol consumption and the tantalizing edibles that begin with Thanksgiving and tempt us all the way to New Year’s. How does one address the temptation without going overboard health-wise?
The ramifications of having high blood sugar levels creates great concern for diabetics. These ramifications include chronic kidney disease, foot problems, non-traumatic lower limb (leg, foot, toe, etc.) amputation, and eye disease (retinopathy). Because these complications can be very serious and even life-threatening, properly managing blood sugar levels is of utmost importance.
To help diabetics circumvent holiday health hazards, here are a few precautionary measures. For one, you can eat a healthy snack before big meals. This will help curb your appetite and avoid overeating. If going to a dinner party, you can also talk to the host ahead of time and find out what food will be served. If you’re like most diabetics, you probably already know the kinds of foods that will skyrocket your sugar levels. If you know the menu items in advance, you can then allow yourself time to figure out how to fit the foods into your current meal plans.
You should also be mindful of the fact that drinking alcohol can raise blood pressure to unhealthy levels. This is not good for diabetics because high blood pressure can worsen diabetes. Nevertheless, there are still a few parameters that can be considered. Those with type 1 diabetes must drink in moderation since it typically causes hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, the following day. Those with type 2 diabetes must monitor their blood sugar for the same reason. For women with either type of diabetes, I recommend limiting intake to one drink per day, and two drinks a day for men. The amount of alcohol consumed should also be measured. One drink serving is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor such as scotch, gin, tequila, or vodka.
I know the temptation is real. But you really can get through this season just fine!