Between sipping eggnog during Christmas, toasting with champagne on New Year’s Eve and drinking beer while watching sporting events, alcohol often finds its way into our glasses and our bodies. Since alcohol is a part of many people’s diets, it’s important to consider your kidneys when choosing to drink alcoholic beverages.
A few things to keep in mind when drinking alcohol:
* Your kidneys work hard to keep your body healthy and in a balanced state. Excessive alcohol intake can affect your kidneys’ abilities to maintain your fluid, electrolyte and acid-base balance. Alcohol can also have a negative impact on the hormones that control kidney function, as well as increase your blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to kidney damage.
* Moderation is key. You should always speak to your healthcare clinician or dietitian before consuming any alcohol, but for most, moderation is the key when it comes to drinking. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that if you choose to drink alcohol, women should have no more than one drink a day and men should cap their intake at two drinks daily.
Examples of one drink include:
* Beer: 12 fluid ounces (355 milliliters)
* Wine: 5 fluid ounces (148 milliliters)
* Distilled spirits (80 proof): 1.5 fluid ounces (44 milliliters)
* Excessive consumption of alcohol can cause unwanted weight gain which can potentially lead to, or worsen, diabetes. Diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure. Speak to your doctor before consuming alcohol, but most people with diabetes can usually include alcohol in their diet in a moderate and responsible way. It is important to remember alcohol has no nutritional benefit, but it does contain calories. Alcohol can also cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) so you should not drink on an empty stomach or when your blood sugar might be low.
* Certain medications may have interactions with alcohol. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about any medications, prescription or over the counter, before you drink.
If you choose to drink, drink responsibly and in moderation, and always designate a driver.