Effect of alcohol on glucose, insulin, free fatty acid and triacylglycerol responses to a light meal in non-insulin-dependent diabetic subjects

Br J Nutr. 1994 Mar;71(3):449-54. doi: 10.1079/bjn19940151.


Alcohol accounts for 4-6% of the average energy intake in most Western countries. Alcohol-induced hypoglycaemia is a well-known and feared complication in insulin-dependent diabetic subjects, but little attention has been paid to the impact of alcohol on carbohydrate metabolism in non-insulin-dependent diabetes. The aim of the present study was to investigate in non-insulin-dependent diabetic subjects the acute metabolic effects of a moderate amount of alcohol taken with a light meal, conditions chosen to mimic an everyday situation. The patients received 500 ml non-alcoholic beer with an alcohol content (ml/l) of 0 (treatment A) and 54 (treatment B) together with a light meal, implying identity of the contents of ingredients except for alcohol. We found similar serum glucose, insulin, free fatty acid and triacylglycerol responses irrespective of addition of a modern amount of alcohol. In conclusion, a moderate amount of alcohol can be taken with a meal without eliciting hypoglycaemia in non-insulin-dependent diabetic subjects.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism*
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Ethanol / administration & dosage*
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Random Allocation
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Blood Glucose
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Insulin
  • Triglycerides
  • Ethanol