For those of you who have never heard of dry January, it really does exist. It’s definitely worth learning more about – especially for those living with Diabetes.
But first … What is Dry January?
Dry January means voluntarily giving up alcohol for the entire month and potentially detoxing from excessive drinking over the holidays. It’s a self-help strategy and pledge from people around the world to give up alcohol in the first month of the new year. Coming off of 2020 it is quite possible that alcohol consumption was a bit higher than years past, and that is completely understandable and okay.
But, now that 2020 is over and everyone has had the chance to celebrate and get through the end of a crazy and unprecedented year, it’s time to focus on something new. A new year brings the hope and promise of good things to come and starting Dry January and focusing on health is a good first step.
If you have already started Dry January, great job! But, if you haven’t, don’t fret. Just add 31 days to today or tomorrow if you already took a sip of that glass of wine, poured that cocktail or cracked open that bottle of beer. It’s never too late to start and honestly you can implement Dry February, Dry June or even Dry October if so desired. It’s easier when you go through Dry January or Dry Whenever with a support network of friends, but it’s not necessary, especially when you learn about the health benefits associated with a dry month.
THE BENEFITS OF DRY JANUARY
Eliminating alcohol from the diet has been linked to many health benefits like1:
- ❖ Lower blood pressure
- ❖ Improved insulin resistance
- ❖ Decreased appetite
- ❖ Weight loss
- ❖ Reduced blood glucose levels
- ❖ Decreased cravings for future alcohol consumption
- ❖ Budget savings
- ❖ Improved sleep
- ❖ Increased energy
- ❖ Decreased chance for certain diseases like cirrhosis
- ❖ Improved immune system
- ❖ Enhanced relationships
- ❖ Less anger and emotional instability
- ❖ Happier existence
- ❖ Improved mood
- ❖ Enhanced judgement
THE RISK OF DRINKING ALCOHOL FOR DIABETES PATIENTS
“Alcohol can cause blood sugars to rise or fall depending on how much you drink and can interfere and impact the liver from doing its job of regulating blood sugar.”2 But, most importantly alcohol can interfere with certain medications so someone living with Diabetes should never mix alcohol and prescription medications. Combining the blood sugar lowering effects of certain medications with alcohol can lead to hypoglycemia or insulin shock which is a medical emergency.
It is said that food should always be consumed to help the absorption of alcohol and that is true for Diabetes patients as well. “Food slows down the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream.”2 Eating a small meal or snack containing carbohydrates before imbibing is particularly important for someone living with Diabetes to help absorb the alcohol and help control blood sugar.
CONTROLLING ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION WITH A CONTINUOUS GLUCOSE MONITORING SYSTEM
Wanting to celebrate with everyone else is completely normal but living with Diabetes certainly complicates matters. Having to monitor daily food and drink intake is not a fun way to start the New Year, but it is necessary when living with Diabetes. Luckily, a Continuous Glucose Monitoring System, like the FreeStyle Libre, can help relieve some of the stress in 2021.
A Continuous Glucose Monitoring device takes glucose readings on set intervals with a small electrode placed under the skin which is held in place by an adhesive. Monitors, like the FreeStyle Libre, are worn on the back of the arm, and a transmitter sends data to a separate unit or smart device. Simply swipe a handheld reader over the sensor for a one-second scan to receive data and get a current glucose reading, trend arrow and 8-hour history to know if you can have another round or not.
Patients can easily track daily patterns, ranges and targets, receive alerts when they are trending high or low and know when it’s safe to imbibe. The fear of what is going to happen if we indulge on that second cocktail is always a concern and never goes away, but a Continuous Glucose Monitor gives us the freedom to know exactly how that drink will affect us.
The FreeStyle Libre captures 14 days of data and stores the information for up to 90 days so it can help to serve as a food diary and help plan meals, including cocktails. This data can also be shared with healthcare professionals and caregivers to identify patterns and ensure that you are maintaining a balanced diet yet allows you to treat yourself at the same time.
SETTING HEALTHY GOALS IN 2021
Controlling what you eat in 2021 starts with you. Instead of setting a resolution this year, set an intention to eat healthier, drink more responsibly and manage your Diabetes better. Avoiding indulgences can be hard, especially in a social setting, but find your support network and make a pact to go through Dry January together. You’ll be surprised at the health benefits and how your body feels and may just start a new trend for the entire year.
QUEST HEALTH SOLUTIONS IN 2021 AND BEYOND
Remember that Quest Health Solutions is here to support you in 2021 and always. Our goal is to provide continued education for patients, healthcare providers and fellow Diabetes educators. It takes a village, and we want to be part of that village. To learn more about the benefits of a Continuous Glucose Monitoring System during Dry January or Dry 2021, contact us at 1-877-888-7050 Option 3, Ext. 1011 or email email@example.com or schedule an appointment today.
1. (2019) WebMd. Will a No-Booze “Dry January” Help Your Health available at Click Here accessed on 30 December 2020.
2. (2019) Healthline. Diabetes, Alcohol, and Social Drinking available at Click Here accessed on 30 December 2020.