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The Question
Sun Feb 09 13:27:59 UTC 2014

Does a type 1 diabetic metabolize alcohol differently than a non-diabetic? Could this impact a reading on a breathalyzer 10 hrs after no alcohol?
Asked By: joannette  

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My daughter was sited for dui with reading of .09 in Calif. She said she had her last drink at 10 pm. She was cited at 8:30 am the next morning. She said she had consumed 3 glasses of wine between 6-10 pm and had nothing after that time. I had listened to a dLife program some time ago saying that diabetics metabolize alcohol slower. Can't find anything to validate this now.
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Expert Answers (1)
2014-04-18 15:45:50.0


Thanks for asking dLife.

It takes a healthy liver to oxidize pure ethanol at the rate of about ¼ to ? of an ounce per hour. Once alcohol reaches the bloodstream it generally metabolized at a rate of .015 of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) every hour. Because BAC is a measure of proportion, it takes fewer drinks to make a smaller individual reach a given blood alcohol concentration.

Some people metabolize alcohol more slowly than others. It tends to be slower among women. Keep in mind that the rate that alcohol is metabolized can be unpredictable. Alcohol metabolism can also depend on factors such as the amount of alcohol consumed and over what time period; body size; type and amount of food eaten along with alcohol; medical conditions, medications, genetic disposition, and level of physical activity.

According to the American Diabetes Association, moderate consumption of alcohol means no more than 1 drink a day for women. Typically one serving of wine is 4-5 ounces. Wine varies in alcohol content. It is not unusual for some establishments to serve a larger portion of wine. It’s best to drink alcohol slowly while having something to eat.

Learn more about the the effect of alcohol on diabetes, alcohol nutrition, and how alcohol is metabolized.

Take care.

Answered By: Liz Quintana
Accreditations: EdD, RD, LD, CDE
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*** All information contained on dLife.com is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Our Expert Q&A is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.

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