Watching what you eat and drink plays a major role in your blood sugar health. If you eat or drink foods high in sugar in excess, it can lead to chronic diseases such as heart disease and kidney or nerve damage.
Although you should be careful about what you eat and drink, you should still be able to enjoy some things in moderation. Alcohol, for example, in moderation can be consumed without causing too many problems. However, you should choose the best ones for you and avoid those that can be dangerous. According to Eat This, Not That! member of the medical expert council Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LDN, CLEC, CPTauthor of Mom’s First Time Pregnancy Cookbook, 7 Ingredient Healthy Pregnancy Cookbookand Fueling Male Fertility, the worst beer for blood sugar is a cooler.
Typically, a shandy is beer (usually lager or lager), mixed with lemonade and/or other fruit juices. The most popular ones you’ll see are lemon, orange, apple, and grapefruit juices. Also classified as citrus beer, a shandy is made of equal parts beer and some kind of juice.
Originally, coolers were created from 19th century New England as a beer mixed with ginger ale or ginger beer. Eventually the beer spread throughout Europe and other countries made their concoctions using lemon and juice.
Although a shandy sounds like a refreshing beer, perfect for hot weather or the approach of summer, this combination of beer and juice can wreak havoc on blood sugar.
“Technically a beer mixed with lemonade or juice, [a shandy] may contribute to high blood sugar due to the addition of added sugars in this concoction,” says Manaker.
A shandy may have a low ABV, but it’s high in carbs
If you’re consuming a commercial shandy (canned or on tap), your alcohol by volume (ABV) will be around 4.2-4.5%. This is similar to a light beer, and people with diabetes or high blood sugar are recommended to generally stick to beers with an ABV of 7% or less, which can help control your carb intake. .
However, just because it’s a light beer doesn’t mean it’s a wholesome masterpiece. A low ABV beer still contains carbs, which can affect how your liver produces glucose. This can lead to an unexpected drop in blood sugar. If you drink beer (or alcohol) excessively, it can lead to liver disease and other problems. This is especially true for people with diabetes.
Added sugars, including juices, affect blood sugar
With a cooler, its sugary, non-alcoholic ingredients can set you up for blood sugar spikes.
Sugary drinks tend to be most often responsible for raising blood sugar, and adding them to a beer won’t improve them.
The lemonade portion of the shandy also contains high levels of sugar. In an average glass of homemade lemonade, there are about 30 grams of sugar per serving. Meanwhile, prepackaged lemonade may contain a high amount of added sugar.
According to research published in the British medical journal, sugary drinks, including fruit juice and lemonade, can cause the same blood sugar spikes as a soda or other very sweet food or drink. This is because these juices may contain high levels of sugar or corn syrup. Or, contain little or no real fruit juice. Instead, they provide a high concentration of sugar and little to no nutritional value.
As always, it’s important to consume your alcohol in moderation. However, it is recommended to stay away from sugary beers if you are at risk for high blood sugar.
Kayla Garritano is a staff writer for Eat This, Not That! She graduated from Hofstra University, where she majored in Journalism and earned a double minor in Marketing and Creative Writing. Read more