Why You Get Sugar Cravings After Quitting Alcohol

Increased cravings for sweets during early recovery are common, and there is no need to worry as long as it doesn’t become a long-term habit. Having a treat from time to time while you are changing your relationship to alcohol can be helpful for some people. People with diabetes, however, may need to be extra mindful. Talking with a physician is the best way to understand how your blood sugar levels are being impacted, and to get support on your recovery journey. When a person finds they crave sugar constantly, and they feel a payoff when they consume it, they may switch their addictive behaviors. While sugary foods do not provide the full-blown narcotic effect of a drug such as opioids or a large amount of alcohol, they still give a high of sorts.

why do alcoholics crave sugar

Did you know that it’s common for people who have struggled with alcohol addiction to have low blood sugar? The liver, the organ that processes any alcohol you drink, is in charge of releasing glycogen into your blood. Alcohol stops this from happening, causing your blood sugar to drop. That’s why alcohol withdrawal and sugar cravings happen frequently. The truth is, it’s common for people who quit drinking to, out of nowhere, start craving sugar or sweets. To understand why someone might crave sugary sweets when they stop drinking or taking drugs, you must first understand the brain’s “reward system” and how substance abuse affects it.

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Also fruit is packed with good stuff like vitamins and fibre. I’m not talking about fruit juice which is unfortunately fattening as juicing is a form of processing which turns the sugar in fruit into the high calorie variety. After a few days of no candy, chocolate etc. the fruit will taste even more delicious as our taste buds stop being overcome by the loads of sugar that is in chocolate, candy etc. Still, if you have just given up alcohol and have an unstoppable yearning for chocolate or sweet stuff then go for it I say, it’s far less harmful than that nasty booze, that’s for sure.

why do alcoholics crave sugar

When alcohol is metabolized, it creates toxic byproducts that damage cells in the pancreas. When you drink alcohol almost every aspect of your body’s functioning is affected in some way. Moreover, alcoholic beverages often introduce excess sugar into the bloodstream. At first I thought it was just because my body was used to the high sugar content of alcoholic drinks, and was thus seeking it from different places. For reference, a small glass of wine can have 2-3% of your daily intake of sugar in it, but if you’re drinking spirits with sugary mixers this can jump to 60% in a single cocktail. Even if you’re craving a food (or other substance) that isn’t doing your health any favors, in early sobriety your body is just trying to find its equilibrium.

What Happens When an Alcoholic Starts Drinking Again?

In other words, if it takes a pack of cigarettes and a pint of ice cream a day in order to not drink, do whatever it takes. “I’ll deal with the food issue later once I’m more stable in my sobriety.”  It’s easy to overlook the dangers of sugar or overeating when you were a blackout drinker. Why does it often seem like people recovering from alcohol addiction suddenly develop a massive sweet tooth? There are a number of reasons why this phenomenon is such a common occurrence. Like alcohol, sugary foods can be addictive and trigger the brain’s reward system.

The human body understands that in the absence of constant use of alcohol it has previously relied on, sugary foods can offer the same effect. If your sugar cravings are frequent, it’s why do alcoholics crave sugar best to opt for natural, whole foods options over highly processed sugars. Think banana “nice cream,” healthy chocolate mousse, dark chocolate, and homemade granola, to name a few.

I tried ‘Dry January’ for the second time, and it was terrible again — but not because I craved alcohol

By understanding these underlying factors, recovering alcoholics can better navigate their journey towards sobriety and overall well-being. You are probably already familiar with sugar’s effects on your health. Unfortunately, many people do not realize that sugar can also be addictive, like alcohol. And what is worse is that sugar and alcohol addiction can play off one another. So, why do alcoholics crave sugar, and what can you do to prevent sugar cravings from interfering with your recovery?

  • Similar to alcoholism, those with a sugar addiction can experience similar withdrawal-like symptoms when sugar consumption is suddenly stopped.
  • This is partially because alcohol can damage the pancreas, which controls blood sugar levels, and partially due to poor diet and malnutrition.
  • While transfer addictions often mean replacing alcohol with a drug or substituting one drug for another one, it can also happen in the form of eating.

As your tolerance increased, your cravings and need for alcohol to function normally also increased. This replacement, or transfer, addiction arises because addiction https://ecosoberhouse.com/ can become an entire lifestyle in addition to a disease. This is often the case when the addiction is fueled by an underlying mental issue to begin with such as PTSD.

How Long Does Alcohol Impact Blood Sugar?

In fact, according to the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, sugar affects many of the same neural pathways in the brain as alcohol does. Of course, alcohol and sugar cravings can sometimes go hand in hand. If you find that it’s hard to control your drinking without resorting to sugar, there are new ways to limit drinking urges. As discussed above, sugar can be as addictive as alcohol for some people.

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