#freestylelibre – What does drinking beer do to blood glucose levels? A visual blog…

#freestylelibre – What does drinking beer do to blood glucose levels?  A visual blog…
#freestylelibre – What does drinking beer do to blood glucose levels? A visual blog…

The “fun” that can be had with a Freestyle Libre. On Friday night, with the help of the Libre, I undertook an experiment to demonstrate the impact of beer and how it affects glucose levels. Well, what i really mean is, I wanted a few beers and it gave me an opportunity to collect data and this is the result! 


The sample size is one. This, as always, is generally inconclusive. The experiment was to drink a couple of pints without insulin to see the effect on glucose levels (and to corroborate or refute the oft-quoted “you don’t need to take insulin when drinking” statement), before injecting, then to track the remaining few hours. Normally, before even getting the first pint poured I’d take a shot of 2u of NovoRapid as I know what the carb levels in beer do to me. The starting point is here:

And this is the topple of choice, Meantime London Pale Ale at roughly 25g of carbs per pint.
After 1.5 pints we see this behaviour….
And after two, this…

At which point I felt the need to inject 5.5u of insulin, knowing that there were two more of these two be had. Now we are told to be wary of taking too much insulin when drinking, but my experience with beer in general is that it raises my blood glucose levels like I was eating sweets. So I inject.

Following on from this, after about 3.5 pints, the below was observed. Notable is that the decline has started to head towards a flatter level.
As we head into the end of the evening, the graph has levelled off after stopping drinking.

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On the way home we also grabbed a bag of chips, which I treated appropriately with around 3u, which caused a slight deliberate increase,  but given the way I find that basal insulin becomes more efficient after drinking, was what I wanted to make sure that any overnight drops didn’t take me into hypo territory. The bg level then reduced to a flat level overnight. The graph below shows the plot with a nice bit of an increase at the end which is the Basal expiring.
An interesting visual demonstration the effects of drinking beer on glucose levels and how insulin can be used to manage it. This is what works for me, but I’m obviously not advocating this as an approach… Don’t try this at home, kids…

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