If you have diabetes, it’s important to know that drinking alcohol may affect your blood sugar levels.

Some people wonder whether tequila affects blood sugar levels less than other alcoholic drinks. And some even speculate whether the drink has health benefits.

This article tells you whether drinking tequila has beneficial effects for people with diabetes or if this is just another myth.

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Tequila is a distilled liquor made from the fermented juice of the plant Agave tequilana (1).

Agave plants contain agavins, a type of carb made up of long fructose chains. Agavins act as prebiotics — food for your beneficial gut bacteria — because they aren’t digested by the digestive enzymes in your stomach (2).

Research in mice shows that agavins may (2, 3, 4):

  • improve gut microbiota composition
  • reduce inflammation
  • promote feelings of fullness
  • improve insulin resistance

Insulin resistance is when your cells don’t respond well to insulin — the hormone that helps regulate blood sugar — leading to high blood sugar levels (5).

Some of the speculated health benefits of agavins may also be associated with increased weight loss. Weight loss is a treatment strategy that helps control blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes (6, 7).

Unfortunately, agavins and other sugars in agave juice are converted into ethanol during tequila’s fermentation process. This keeps the drink from having these potential benefits (1).

What’s more, no human studies are available on the topic. Thus, no strong conclusions on the potential health benefits of agave plants, agavins, or tequila can be made.

Summary

Agavins in the tequila plant may provide health benefits for people with diabetes. Unfortunately, there are no agavins left in tequila after the fermentation process.

If you have diabetes, you should consider both your drink mixers and your overall alcohol intake carefully.

Carbs in tequila

In terms of carb content, tequila may be a more suitable drink choice for people with than many other alcoholic drinks.

Like most distilled spirits, it provides 0 grams of carbs and sugar per 1.4-ounce (42-mL) serving, a standard shot (8).

In contrast, a 12-ounce (360-mL) can of regular beer provides 12 grams of carbs, while cocktails like daiquiris may pack up to 35 grams of carbs per 7-ounce (225-mL) serving (9, 10).

Still, keep in mind that mixers can affect your drink’s carb content. Try to avoid sugary juices and sodas when drinking tequila or other liquor.

Alcohol and blood sugar

Drinking alcohol is linked to many detrimental health effects, such as heart disease, cancer, mental health problems, alcohol dependence, and diabetes-related complications (11, 12, 13, 14).

Furthermore, alcohol impairs blood sugar regulation by (15):

  • Inhibiting your body’s glucose production. Glucose helps maintain a constant concentration of sugar in the blood.
  • Temporarily increasing insulin secretion. This may lead to excessively low blood sugar levels.
  • Reducing your body’s response to insulin. This can lead to high blood sugar levels.
  • Altering the effectiveness of diabetes medications. This may negatively affect the management or treatment.

To stay safe, stick to the 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which advises moderate drinking. This translates to up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men (16).

If choosing tequila, a standard drink equals 1.5 ounces (45 mL). Meanwhile, a standard drink of beer equals 12 ounces (341 mL) and a standard drink of wine is 5 ounces (147 mL) (16).

Summary

Because tequila has no carbs, it can be a diabetes-friendly alcohol choice. Still, keep in mind that heavy drinking may impair blood sugar management and lead to many detrimental health effects.

Tequila contains no carbs, making it a suitable alcohol choice for people with diabetes — at least when compared with many carb-rich alternatives.

Still, to say that it has beneficial effects for people with diabetes is a myth. What’s more, for optimal health, you should limit your alcohol intake — whether you’re opting for tequila or not.

Talk with your doctor before consuming any type of alcohol, especially if you have diabetes or if you’re currently taking any medication.