Caffeine and Alcohol for Hypoglycemia

Caffeine is known to cause a low blood-sugar reaction, especially if it has been a few hours since you ate. Researchers from the Yale University School of Medicine found that consuming 400 milligrams of caffeine triggered hypoglycemia when blood-sugar levels were in the low-normal range, as might occur two to three hours after a meal.1 If you are hypoglycemic, chances are you already know if you are sensitive to caffeine. If you are, make the switch to low-caffeine or caffeine-free beverages. One 6-ounce cup of coffee provides 110 to 175 milligrams of caffeine. Compare that to the same amount of black or green tea at 25 to 35 milligrams. It makes a difference!

Replace coffee with decaf coffee, cereal-based beverages (e.g., Ovaltine), herbal tea, weakly brewed black tea or green teas. If you don’t want to part with your daily brew, make sure to drink it with a meal. That way the caffeine will be less likely to bring on low blood sugar. Between meals, stick to vegetable juice, water, milk, herbal tea or decaf lattes.

Drinking alcoholic beverages can also impair blood-sugar control and trigger a hypoglycemic reaction in susceptible individuals. It can induce reactive hypoglycemia by interfering with glucose uptake and promoting the release of insulin from your pancreas. The drop in blood sugar that follows leads to a craving for foods, especially sweets. If you reach for sugary foods in response to this low blood sugar, you’ll only aggravate your symptoms.

If you have hypoglycemia, avoid drinking alcohol on an empty stomach. Instead, enjoy your drink with a meal. The presence of food in your stomach will delay the absorption of alcohol. If you do drink, limit yourself to seven alcoholic drinks per week for health protection.

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