Alcoholic Beverages

Notes on Alcoholic Beverages

Alcohol molecule in martini glass

Before or During a Show

In addition to increasing your risk of falling off the stage, consuming alcoholic beverages before and/or during a show can lead to dehydration, especially in a hot environment. The dehydration effects from the alcohol may affect your ability to perform and the quality of your voice.

After a Show

If you are performing in an environment with increased risk of dehydration (a hot summer night), drink water right after the show to get fully hydrated before drinking any alcoholic beverages since alcohol can delay rehydration. (Some food would be a good idea too).

Nutrition and Alcohol

Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram (compare with carbohydrates which contain 4 calories per gram). This means that the calories from alcohol can add up quickly. Mixed drinks with ingredients such as sugar syrups, fruit juice, and cream contain even more calories.

Calorie contents of some common alcoholic beverages:

Beverage Serving Size Calories
Beer, lager 12 fl oz 145-170
Light Beer, lager 12 fl oz 100-120
Guinness 12 fl oz 125
Red Wine, dry 5 fl oz 120-130
White Wine, dry 5 fl oz 118-125
80 Proof Distilled Spirits (gin, rum, vodka, whiskey) 1.5 fl oz (shot glass is usually 1.5-2 fl oz) ≈100
Margarita or Daiquiri 8 fl oz 300-450

Excessive Alcohol Use

A few health conditions associated with excessive alcohol use:

  • Cardiovascular conditions—high blood pressure, high triglycerides, irregular heartbeat, and stroke

  • Cancers—mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus, liver, colon, and breast

  • Liver diseases—alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis

  • Neurological disorders

  • Pancreatitis

  • Sexual dysfunction

Acid Reflux and Alcohol

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) can be extremely harmful to the voice as well as the esophagus and throat. If you experience acid reflux, you may need to avoid alcohol to improve acid reflux symptoms (additional lifestyle changes may need to be determined to improve symptoms).

Caution with Diabetes and Alcohol

Individuals with diabetes who take insulin or oral diabetes medications that lower blood sugar need to be EXTREMELY CAUTIOUS when consuming alcohol. Alcohol consumption can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). The symptoms of hypoglycemia can resemble the symptoms of consuming too much alcohol (confusion, clumsiness, dizziness).

Hypoglycemia can occur shortly after drinking as well as many hours after drinking. A dangerous situation can occur after consuming alcohol if you do not eat enough food containing carbohydrates. Without enough carbohydrates to raise your blood sugar, you can develop severe hypoglycemia, which could lead to a diabetic coma.

Also, alcoholic beverages that contain sugar such as fruit juices, liqueurs, and regular soft drinks may cause hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) in the short term. Before going to sleep, check your blood sugar again to be sure it is within a safe range.

If You Have Diabetes:

  • Be sure to check your blood sugar before consuming alcoholic beverages. If your blood sugar is low, you should not consume alcohol. To raise your blood sugar, eat a meal or snack containing carbohydrates (pretzels, crackers, bread, etc.).

  • If your blood sugar is within a normal range and you choose to consume alcohol, consume food that contains carbohydrates before or while consuming alcoholic beverages.