Alcohol and smoking

Limiting your alcohol

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

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 carbohydrate. Choose those labelled diet, light, zero, slimline or check the label.

People with diabetes taking insulin or certain diabetes tablets may be at risk of developing a hypo or low blood glucose. Alcohol can affect the risk of a hypo when taking these medicines and so it is advised to not drink on an empty stomach.

Weekly low risk alcohol guidelines

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

Read more about how alcohol affects your health and well-being

Read more about how alcohol can affect your weight.

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.

Support is available from or the National Quitline, on 1800 201 2013. Call for one to one personal support and advice from a HSE smoking cessation service near you.

More information is available on, or on

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