The Best Beer for Diabetics

Abbey Miller
Last Updated on
by Abbey Miller

Opening a cold one after a hard day at work is a daily routine for many, but people with diabetes often have to refrain from alcoholic drinks. Still, there are some beers you may safely enjoy even if you’re dealing with this chronic condition.

Discover the best beer for diabetics below and how to enjoy a glass without spiking your blood sugar.

The Best Beer for Diabetics

Does Beer Affect Blood Sugar?

Drinking alcohol can make blood sugar control a lot more difficult. While initially having a drink will cause the blood sugar to rise, heavy drinking can cause it to drop because the liver stops producing glucose to break down the alcohol.

Blood sugar management isn’t the only reason people with diabetes should be careful when drinking alcohol. Here are some other things to consider:

  • Some drinks are carb-heavy, such as beers and cream liqueurs like Baileys Irish Cream.
  • Alcohol can stimulate the appetite and encourage you to break your diabetes diet.
  • Drinking can increase blood pressure and triglycerides.
  • Drinking too much can cause symptoms similar to low blood sugar, making people with diabetes mistakenly take something sweet or even an insulin dose.
  • Alcohol can sometimes interfere with your diabetes medications.

What Type of Beer Is Safe for People With Diabetes?

Light beer is one of the best types of drinks for people with diabetes thanks to its low-calorie content and (usually) reduced ABV, which are easy on blood sugar levels.

But the term “light beer” isn’t popular among fans of this drink. Many see a low-carb beer as a watered-down version of the real thing, but you’ll be happy to know that’s not the case. Light beers are made the same as regular beers with some enzymes removed, which help reduce both calories and alcohol content.

Unfortunately, brands can have widely different definitions of a low-carb beer, so it’s crucial to check the label to see how many calories the drink has. Just because it has the word “light” doesn’t mean it’s safe to drink for people with diabetes.

5 Low-Carb Beers for Diabetics

Here are five great light beers people with diabetes can enjoy on occasion to avoid spiking their blood sugar levels:

1. Coors Light

Coors Light
  • 4.2% ABV (US), 4% ABV (CA)
  • 102 calories
  • 5 grams of carbs per serving

Coors Light is an American-style light lager known for its crisp malt flavors and low bitterness.

The Coors Brewing Company introduced this beer in the 1940s, discontinued it shortly after the Second World War, and brought it back in the 1970s when light beers made a major comeback in the US market.

This beer is a staple for parties and barbecues, and its low-carb content makes it a solid choice for people with diabetes. Since it’s light, many describe its mouthfeel as similar to drinking mineral water, though a sip will also come with a pleasant sweetness and signature hop and barley notes.

Interestingly, Coors Light doesn’t leave any aftertaste, making it an even better choice for those who don’t like heavily bitter drinks.

2. Bud Light

Bud Light
  • 4.2% ABV
  • 110 calories
  • 6.6 grams of carbs per serving

Bud Light is a best-selling beer in the US thanks to its light flavor profile and refreshingly light body, which make it a great drink year-round.

Though popular among light drinkers, in particular, the low alcohol and carb content makes this beer a great option for people with diabetes to enjoy at a party, during an NFL game, or to relax after a long day.

The taste profile includes that signature malt sweetness and a dry and crisp finish. Though slightly more bitter than Coors’ light brew, it’s still not as heavy flavor-wise as a regular beer. It has a rather neutral flavor profile that allows it to be paired with any type of food.

3. Miller Lite

Miller Lite
  • 4.2% ABV
  • 96 calories
  • 3.2 grams of carbs per serving

Miller Lite is known as the original light beer that kicked off a new trend in the market back in the 1970s.

Because the formula adds hops during production, this beer is technically a Pilsner, so taste-wise, it’s not as laid-back as Coors or Bud Light. Instead, you get medium-light notes of hops with a clear malt finish.

It’s also more bitter and the best choice if you miss drinking regular beer but have to abstain from it. Other light beers tend to be watery, but Miller Lite provides a more robust mouthfeel, even if it has a low-calorie content.

4. Busch Light

Busch Light
  • 4.1% ABV
  • 95 calories
  • 3.2 grams of carbs per serving

Red-blooded beer drinkers might claim Busch Light is tasteless because of how smooth it goes down and its lack of aftertaste, but don’t be fooled.

It’s a refreshing beer that significantly cuts down on bitterness in favor of fruity notes with a crisp malt finish. The formula balances these aromas well, so don’t expect a sweet beer. While the low ABV percentage and carb count make it a great beer for diabetics, you might not enjoy this one if you’re a fan of classic, bitter beers.

This beer’s more suitable for those who either don’t normally drink beer or aren’t fans of bitter drinks in general. And there’s a rumor that its formula might contain corn syrup, though the company claims it only uses it during fermentation. This is something to keep in mind for diabetics.

5. Slightly Mighty

Slightly Mighty
  • 4% ABV
  • 95 calories
  • 3.6 grams of carbs per serving

Dogfish Head’s Slightly Mighty is a low-carb Indian Pale Ale that’s perfect for satisfying your need for craft beer.

This beer uses calorie-dense malt to provide that signature IPA taste and adds monk fruit, a virtually zero-calorie sweetener that balances the flavor profiles and makes this brew less bitter than you’d expect.

This IPA is a great choice if you don’t mind creative beer formulas with a tropical touch. One sip provides subtle yet identifiable notes of pineapple, coconut, and citruses, with just a hint of mango to top it all off.

It’s a great barbecue or summer drink, but you might not feel like enjoying it on a colder day. Something about its tropics-friendly profile screams beach, not open fireplace.

Other Things to Consider When Drinking Alcohol as a Diabetic

Though these beers are low-calorie and have fewer carbs than most, you still need to be careful when enjoying them. The American Diabetes Association recommends talking to your doctor about whether it’s safe to drink beer and how much.

Here are some general rules to consider when indulging in alcoholic drinks:

  • Never drink on an empty stomach: Since alcohol can lower blood sugar levels, you should always avoid drinking on an empty stomach. Having a snack or a full meal can prevent low blood glucose when drinking.
  • Analyze the beer’s nutritional value: Check the beer’s label to ensure it’s a real light drink. Consider the amount of carbs in the brew, not just the overall calories or alcohol content.
  • Stick to a moderate alcohol intake: Even light beers can be dangerous in large quantities. Experts recommend one drink per day for women and two drinks for men, and only if your blood sugar levels are controlled.
  • Monitor your blood sugar: It’s difficult to predict how your body will react when you drink beer, so be sure to check your blood sugar levels after enjoying a few drinks. It’s best to do it at night before bed and have a snack ready in case your levels are low.
  • Be mindful of daily intake: Beers will go into your daily calorie intake. If you have a stricter diet, you may need to consider the daily limits when enjoying a cold one, especially regarding the daily amounts of carbs you consume.

Wrapping Up

Blood sugar and alcoholic drinks have a rocky relationship, but with a bit of effort, you can drink alcohol even if you’re living with diabetes.

The secret is sticking to low-calorie drinks like beers or even red wine, which typically have fewer carbs. The five beers on this list are a great place to build your diabetic-friendly beer stock, but if you start looking for other brands, remember to check their nutritional labels carefully.

And even then, stick to a moderate amount and never go over two drinks per day, even with a low-carb version of a drink.

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Abbey Miller
Abbey Miller
Abbey grew up in a family with an appreciation for great beers, fine wines, and nuanced Scotch whiskeys. It's no surprise that she studied Hospitality Management and is now a professional working on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip.
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