Does alcohol increase the risk of diabetes?


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Large amounts of alcohol (through alcohol abuse) can cause damage to your pancreas through chronic pancreatitis and this can damage your cells that usually function to produce insulin (the β cells in your pancreas). If the pancreatitis damages your β cells then your body will be unable to produce insulin and you will become diabetic. However, in general drinking alcohol is not a major risk factor in developing diabetes (providing you do not regularly drink to excess).  If you are already diabetic then you don’t have to stop drinking alcohol altogether (unless you want to!) However you need to be aware that alcohol increases your risk of becoming hypoglycaemic (having a low blood sugar) so you will need to be vigilant in monitoring your blood sugar level. Drinking a small amount of alcohol can be part of a healthy balanced diet provided you do no abuse alcohol (the current recommendations are to drink no more than 2 units per day if you are female and no more than 3 units per day if you are male).


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