Fact-check: The effect of alcohol on blood glucose levels

Fact-check: The effect of alcohol on blood glucose levels

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blood glucose levels

While alcohol can affect blood sugar levels, as claimed in a viral YouTube video, it’s important to note that the impact is not uniformly beneficial, and can pose significant health risks.

A recent YouTube video with 256K+ views suggests that alcohol consumption can keep glucose levels “steady and flat”. Interestingly, the speaker acknowledges that it is a “devious” or unhealthy method to keep the blood glucose levels in check. 

First Check decided to fact-check the claim, based on available scientific evidence. We found that the claim is partially accurate, but misleading. While alcohol can indeed affect blood sugar levels, the impact is not uniformly beneficial, and can pose significant health risks.

Research shows that the relationship between alcohol and blood glucose levels is complex. According to an insightful study on rats published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, alcohol consumption can lead to both hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) and hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar), depending on various factors such as the amount of alcohol consumed and individual metabolic responses.

When alcohol is metabolised in the liver, it can inhibit gluconeogenesis, the process by which the liver produces glucose. This can result in lower blood sugar levels, especially in individuals who consume alcohol on an empty stomach. On the other hand, alcoholic beverages, particularly those with high sugar content, can cause an initial spike in blood glucose levels, followed by a rapid decline.

While the flattening of glucose levels might seem like a positive effect, it is not the entire story. Consistent low glucose levels due to alcohol consumption can be dangerous, particularly for individuals with diabetes or those at risk of hypoglycaemia. Besides, alcohol consumption can interfere with diabetes medications and insulin, leading to unpredictable fluctuations in blood sugar levels.

Research shows that alcohol consumption significantly contributes to the burden of chronic diseases globally. It is a major risk factor for cardiovascular ailments, liver disease, certain cancers, neuropsychiatric conditions, and numerous digestive diseases. According to the World Health Organization, alcohol is the leading risk factor for premature mortality and disability among those aged 15 to 49 years, accounting for 10 per cent of all deaths in this age group.

Counting on alcohol to manage blood glucose levels implies overlooking the well-established health risks associated with alcohol consumption. It is crucial to approach such dubious social media claims with a critical eye and prioritise evidence-based practices for managing blood glucose levels and overall health.

To fact-check any health-related claims, you can email us at hello@firstcheck.in or WhatsApp us on +91 9311 223145.