Blame it on the Alcohol

We are doing this.

We are sitting down and having the talk.

“Ok, so I know we’ve been hanging out a lot lately… and I mean, like, and if not that’s totally cool but, I wondered what you thought about us, like, dating…”

No, no not THAT talk.

This talk:

People drink. Adults should be the only ones (according to USA laws) but that’s not always the case. And people, whether legal or not, drink irresponsibly.

I think I’ve mentioned that I’m not here to tell you what to do so drink or don’t drink, just don’t be an asshole about it.

Coincidentally that is also my life philosophy: Do it or don’t, just don’t be an asshole about it.

For the sake of argument, let’s say you’re 21 years of age or older. Let’s also say that you have diabetes. Fantasy over right?

Tell me about it.

So, you’re of age and a TOD and you’re either out with friends or sitting alone in your room, in the dark watching Breaking Bad or playing Soul Calibur (the GameCube version because it’s the best) and you have a couple. By “a couple” I mean alcoholic drinks.

Your body starts to digest it shortly there after.

First, where does it go?

Mouth, Pharynx, Trachea, Esophagus, Stomach, Small Intestine (where the Pancreas, Liver, and Gall Bladder help out), Ileocecal Valve, Large Intestine/Colon, and Rectum?–damn near killed ’em!

Now, what happens?

Your saliva actually starts breaking down the sugar to start. And loved ones, that’s what alcohol is when you get right down to it, sugar, and not the useful kind. That’s why Dietitians call it “empty calories”. Protein and Carbohydrates hold 4 calories per gram, Fat holds 9 calories, and Alcohol holds 7. It’s less than fat that’s true but think of how many drinks you suck down in an hour versus how many Volcano Tacos you can eat and you’ll see their point.

A series of muscles and magic pushes your food around but what breaks down the sugar?

Enzymes. Enzymes are catalysts. They break your fat into fatty acids, your proteins into amino acids and your carbs into sugar.

In “normal” people, when their bodies encounter glucose their pancre-i secrete insulin. In TODs, well nothing happens. If you have a partially functioning pancreas you’ll get some insulin but it won’t cover everything you’ve eaten.

Let’s get back to the alcohol.

When your body metabolizes things, it’s really converting it to another substance. When your body metabolizes alcohol, it’s making it non-toxic. I don’t know if any of you have ever played around in a lab or have peeled your own skin off and put it under a microscope “just to see”, but adding alcohol to cells destroys their integrity.

Same with drinkable alcohol, that’s why your body converts it, else you would die upon drinking.

Enjoy the dead wombat to your left.

Depending on your nationality (not kidding) and/or weight and body composition, your body gets good feelings for a while from breaking down the ethanol.

Of course, then that ethanol starts to feel like poison and you want to die a little.

Luckily (and I mean that sarcastically) diabetics already have trouble with metabolism.

The thing about alcohol is, is that it’s really easy to drink.  The more you drink, the easier it is to forget about things like carb counting and you can end up either not taking any insulin or taking too much.

I have done both.

If you like to drink to the ridiculously unhealthy point of passing out, you better make sure you have a friend around who ISN’T intoxicated and can watch you for alcohol poisoning AND low blood sugar.

On the flip side, you can also fall into a coma because your blood sugar is too high. If you’ve had enough that you’re falling down drunk and haven’t taken any insulin, chances are pretty good your sugars will shoot up and you actually could “take a coma” instead of that nap you wanted.

 Actually, click this link and look under the Diabetes heading. It sums up what I just said, but better.

So how do you drink responsibly with diabetes?

Well you can just not.

Or, you can make sure you’re checking your sugars before you start and that you have a Designated Diabetes Watcher with you while you do. Or, you can promise yourself not to have too much and actually keep that promise. (That’s what I usually do because then I don’t have to depend on anyone else which means EVERYONE has fun… usually. Unless EVERYONE shares drinks that night and then two weeks later EVERYONE has strep throat.)

Make sure your DDW knows how to use your glucose meter, knows where your Glucagon is if you have one, knows how to give injections or use your pump, and is dependable in general.

If you can’t find a good one, be prepared to look out for yourself.

There are certain types of alcohol that are “better” for you than others, as far as carbohydrates go.

Examples: dry red wine has less sugar than a sweet white.

Vodka and light beers are usually safest. Liquors are usually the riskiest. Amaretto, for instance,  has 25 grams of carbs in 1.5 ounces. That is NOT a lot of Amaretto and almost 2 carb exchanges. This is fine if you know what to count for, but if you don’t your blood sugar can jump up really quickly.

Similarly to greek yogurt thing, additives are what you have to watch out for. The vodka is good but the orange juice and Amaretto you mixed it with adds tons of carbs.

So, moral of the story: keep your wits about you! (If not your wits, at the very least a liquid scale so you know how much you’re drinking.)

That is kind of the anti-alcohol mantra, but you were one of the chosen ones. And with great power comes great responsibility.

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4 Comments

Filed under Random Extras

4 responses to “Blame it on the Alcohol

  1. Trudy

    Wow! That was awesome for ALL people who drink “adult” beverages. Using that term loosely……

  2. Pingback: Speak of the Devil! | diabetiquette

  3. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I’ve truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

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