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Alcoholism and Type 2 Diabetes Connected

Alcoholism has some fairly clear health risks – intoxicating the liver beyond its abilities, stomach problems, brain functioning, and doing anything dangerous while impaired like driving.  However, not as many people think of Type 2 Diabetes as a potential side effect.  How could diabetes and alcoholism be connected?

Watch For The Extra Calories in Alcohol

Nearly everything you eat and drink has calories, unless it’s water or something sugar and fat free.  If you drink a small amount of alcohol now and then, these extra calories are not hard to balance in a moderately healthy diet.  It would be like making sure you didn’t have too many desserts each week.  Alcoholic drinks are all distilled from ingredients like grain, berries, grapes, and some are even sweetened and flavored.

Here’s a breakdown of the calories in some common alcoholic drinks per serving.  Remember that a serving size of beer is 12 ounces, distilled liquor is only 1 ounce shot, and other drinks are somewhere in between.  Did you realize you were adding this many calories to your diet?

Regular beer  149
Light beer 110
Red Wine 80
Dry White Wine 75
Sweet White Wine 105
Cocktails (manhattan, margarita, whiskey sour, etc) – between 122 and 168
Distilled liquor (whiskey, gin, rum, vodka, tequila) – 60

Imagine that you are an alcoholic, drinking a 12 pack a day.  One 12 pack of beer has 1788 calories in it.  1788 extra calories in one day, 12516 extra calories per week.  If you are still eating some regular meals in there, 1788 extra calories a day could make a straight path to a beer belly or an extra 25 pounds somewhere else on your body.

Type Two Diabetes and Being Overweight

Type 2 Diabetes is a disease where your pancreas can not balance out you blood sugar properly.  Two risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes are directly related to an alcoholic lifestyle – a lack of exercise and being overweight.

Here’s the nuts and bolts of how being overweight puts a person at risk for Type 2 Diabetes.  Fat cells don’t have as many insulin receptors as muscle cells.  Also, fatty acids (released by fat cells) interfere with the body’s ability to process blood sugars.  So when insulin gets pumped through the body, it can’t get into the cells as easily to control the effects of the sugar.  Also, the fatty acids make it tough to process all the extra blood sugars.  The extra sugar is stored as more fat, and the cycle goes on and on.

By definition, an alcoholic spends a great deal of time and energy acquiring and consuming their alcohol.  It’s highly unlikely that an actively drinking alcoholic is getting the proper amount of exercise.  The high caloric count of excessive drinking can clearly make a person overweight.  If a person has a hereditary risk for diabetes, is older than 65, high blood pressure, or a bad cholesterol profile, the risk is higher.

Alcohol Rehab Can Help Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabates is less severe than Type 1 Diabetes and can often be treated with exercise and diet.  This is certainly good news for an alcoholic who realizes their health is on a decline.  Another solid bet is going to alcohol rehab.  A quality alcohol rehab center can provide not only alcohol treatment with trained counselors, but also nutritional services and exercise programs.

When you stop drinking alcohol, begin eating a healthy diet, and establish a simple exercise habit, you can leave alcohol rehab ready to manage your Type 2 Diabetes risk.  You can’t change some risk factors like age, race, and heredity.  But alcohol rehab will help you better understand how alcohol contributes to diabetes and other heath problems.

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