Enjoying Oktoberfest with Diabetes: Best Beers

In October, 1810, Prince Ludwig of Bavaria invited the general public to celebrate his marriage to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. This wedding bash, attended by about 40,000 Bavarians in Munich, was the first Oktoberfest celebration.

Today in Munich, Oktoberfest begins mid-September and ends the first Sunday in October, and many forms of Oktoberfest occur in cities around the world. Although the original celebration focused on state agriculture and horse racing, most of us today associate Oktoberfest with good food and beer.

Celebrating Lite

People with diabetes wisely choose low-carbohydrate beer to wash down a brat with a brew. However, one 12 ounce “light” beer might have three carb grams while another has seven. The only way to know a beer’s carb content is to look at its nutritional label, or do a search online.

Twelve ounces of regular beer usually has 12 or more grams of carbohydrate. Here are 20 lower-carb beer choices, domestic and imported—you can see how the carb content varies (per 12 oz).

  • Budweiser Select “55” - 1.9 g
  • Rolling Rock Green Light - 2.4 g
  • Miller Genuine Draft “64” - 2.4 g
  • Michelob Ultra - 2.6 g
  • Budweiser Select - 3.1 g
  • Anheuser Busch Natural Light - 3.2 g
  • Milwaukee’s Best Light - 3.5 g
  • Beck’s Light - 3.9 g
  • Coors Light - 5.0 g
  • Keystone Light - 5.0 g
  • Corona Lite - 5.0 g
  • Amstel Light - 5.3 g
  • Leinenkugel Light - 5.7 g
  • Yuengling Light - 6.6 g
  • Michelob Light - 6.7 g
  • Heineken Special Light - 6.8 g
  • Stroh’s Light - 7.0 g
  • Miller Genuine Draft Lite - 7.0 g
  • St. Pauli Girl - 8.7 g
  • Sam Adams Light - 9.6 g

Which light beers taste the best is a matter of, well, taste. However, doing a quick survey of forums and blogs Michelob Ultra, Rolling Rock Green Light, Corona Light, and Amstel Light were each mentioned a few times as favorite picks. MGD Lite and Anheuser Busch Natural Light received a couple nods as well.

It’s Only Fun If You Stay Safe

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that anyone planning to consume alcohol have their blood sugar under control, have okayed the consumption of alcohol with their doctor, and understand how alcohol affects you and your diabetes.

Those taking insulin, or oral medication that stimulates insulin production, need to be aware that drinking alcohol can cause dangerously low blood glucose levels. It takes about two hours for the liver to metabolize one alcoholic drink. While the liver is occupied removing alcohol from the bloodstream, it cannot regulate blood sugar.

  • Monitor your blood glucose before, during, and after consuming alcohol, and before turning in for the night.
  • Sip your drink slowly and always while eating—food slows the absorption of alcohol.
  • The ADA recommends no more than two drinks per day for men, and only one per day for women.
  • Glucagon does not work when there is alcohol in the bloodstream. Always have glucose tablets or another sugar source with you.
  • Do not combine alcohol and exercise since it increases the risk of hypoglycemia.
  • Wear a diabetes medical I.D. This is important because the symptoms of inebriation and low blood sugar are similar (e.g., disorientation, dizziness, sleepiness).

Sources: Mayo Clinic; Beer Advocate; Beer 101
Photo credit: 46137 / flickr

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