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Alcohol and smoking

People with diabetes are recommended to limit their alcohol intake, as are the rest of the population.

Limiting alcohol

Alcohol contains calories and may promote snacking on food and contribute to weight gain.

Alcoholic drinks such as beer, cider, stout, cocktails, wine and sweetened spirit drinks contain a large amount of carbohydrates. These can raise blood glucose.

Sweetened mixers added to alcohol also contain carbohydrates. Choose drinks that are labelled diet, light, zero or slimline. Always check the label.

If you have diabetes and take insulin or certain diabetes tablets, you may be at risk of developing a hypo or low blood glucose. Alcohol can inrease the risk of a hypo when taking these medicines. Do not drink on an empty stomach.

Binge drinking is considered to be 6 or more drinks in 1 sitting. This increases the risk of serious health problems like cancer, liver disease and high blood pressure.

Weekly low risk alcohol guidelines

Use our drinks calculator to find out how your drinking affects your health

Quit smoking

Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health.

If you are a smoker, services are available to help you quit if you are ready. Getting help and support will double your chance of success.

Call the National Quitline to get 1-to-1 personal support and advice from a HSE stop smoking service near you. Freephone: 1800 201 2013 (National Quitline).

Get help to quit smoking

Page last reviewed: 1 August 2020
Next review due: 1 August 2023

This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 9.