Why You Get Sugar Cravings After Quitting Alcohol

Tyler_Foster September 23, 2022 0 Comments

Gradually desensitizes you to the substance’s effects, requiring you consume more to get the same “feel-good” response. Ria Health offers several FDA-approved medications for alcohol use disorder. When combined with counseling, this approach is proven highly effective. Different types of alcohol contain varying amounts of carbohydrates.

  • When combined with counseling, this approach is proven highly effective.
  • That’s why treatment centers like Silver Maple Recovery offer trauma-informed care and cognitive behavioral therapy.
  • Sugar also triggers dopamine receptors in the brain, and over time a person can become desensitized to it, while experiencing strong cravings.
  • The way it works for me is that I put energy into fueling and exercising my body in a healthy way during the week and allow myself a bit of freedom at weekends.

Unfortunately, sugar is only a temporary fix and doesn’t serve as a healthy, long-term solution to what you’re going through in recovery. To keep your blood sugar levels balanced and avoid sugar cravings, you need to maintain a healthy diet like the pro-recovery diet. “This makes it common for a shift from alcohol addiction to sugar cravings as eating sweets causes your brain to release the ‘feel-good’ chemical dopamine,” she added. The problem is that poor nutrition can lead to a variety of mental and physical health issues. Weight gain is a common problem for those new to recovery from alcohol addiction, and subsequently can lead to low mood which may then trigger a relapse to alcohol.

Silver Maple Recovery Can Help You on Your Sobriety Journey

This is especially relevant, considering hypoglycemia also causes low mood, making someone more likely to seek relief through sugar or alcohol. Many heavy drinkers are hypoglycemic, or have low blood sugar, which can cause them to crave sweets. This can become especially apparent when alcohol is removed from the equation. When your blood sugar is low, it’s natural for your body to crave sweets to counteract it. Even if you indulge and give your body sugar to level out, it won’t solve the issue long term. Your blood sugar will drop again, landing you right back where you started.

why do alcoholics crave sugar

This is because alcohol inhibits your body’s response to insulin, the hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels. As discussed above, sugar can be as addictive as alcohol for some people. Excessive consumption of fructose sweeteners, for example, can lead to fatty liver disease—just like alcohol. And restoring healthy digestion and blood sugar can make a big difference in long-term recovery. Long-term, alcohol abuse disrupts your body’s ability to regulate your blood sugar.

Other Connections Between Sugar and Alcohol

If the craving does persist, know that it’s OK to give in. Saying no to cocktails with friends and red wine with dinner are obvious and foreseen challenges, but battling a sudden new sugar craving may be less expected. Here’s the scientific rationale for your newly adopted sweet tooth. “It happens because sugar impacts the brain in many of the same neural pathways as alcohol,” Dulan told Insider. “I’m very into sweets. They say when you stop drinking, that you go sweets crazy,” she continued.

why do alcoholics crave sugar

They found that people with a family history of alcoholism were much more likely to have a sweet tooth compared with those with no such family history. Sugar and alcohol also are known to affect serotonin, another one of your body’s feel-good chemicals. This is why sweets and alcohol can help you de-stress and generally improve your mood, at least at first. When struggling with hypoglycemia, you’re left with symptoms like irritability, aggression, headaches, dizziness, confusion, lack of concentration and impulsive decision-making. Your body needs to right itself as quickly as possible, leading to sugar cravings. As an essential healthcare provider, We are open and supporting those in need of addiction treatment at all locations.

Your Brain on Sugar (or Alcohol)

Sugar cravings are common in alcohol addiction recovery, but can lead to relapse. Alcohol can also cause your blood sugar levels to spike and drop. Additionally, alcohol increases insulin secretion and prevents the liver from releasing glucose, which makes heavy drinkers susceptible to hypoglycemia. Imagine eating a regularly scheduled eco sober house price and well-balanced diet, getting eight hours of sleep every night and still craving sweets. If this sounds like you, it may actually help to satisfy your craving and eat something sweet every once in a while. As long as you’re not binging on sugar, a piece of candy or slice of cake every now and then is ok during recovery.

As mentioned,addiction can causea person’s body to confuse hunger for a substance craving. Without proper nutrition and regular mealtimes, a person might be tempted to use substances instead of controlling the feeling by eating. Further, detox itself can change your nutritional requirements andcause your body to require more nutrients.

When I stopped drinking, I put a lot of energy and concentration into finding different habits, treats and activities. Sometimes that meant a whole bag of peanut M&M’s and a TV box-set. I wasn’t looking to get a healthy balance right from the start, just to find alcohol replacements. If you go long periods without eating and your blood sugar gets low, you are going to over-indulge in sweets and carbohydrates. After eating a meal high in carbohydrate or sweets, insulin levels stay up a long time and cause your blood sugar to crash later.

She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery. That means that when you stop using alcohol, the brain needs something else that is going to make it feel the same way. In a way, it can be because sugar also helps with the production of dopamine. As a result, the brain is trading one type of stimulant for another. Some heavy drinkers may also experience “cross-tolerance” between alcohol and sugar.

You expected discomfort and intense cravings when you quit alcohol, but not this. This type of craving is new, and you can’t get it out of your head. Almost like a shadow, it seems to follow you throughout your day. It would be easy to give in, but you’ve seen all the recent news about the negative effects it can have.

Sugar is a Quick Fix for Low Blood Sugar Levels

In fact, the two conditions may even be linked genetically. Scientists have discovered that children of alcoholic parentsmay be more likely to have a sweet tooth. The mindset some have in early recovery is “as long as I’m not drinking…”. 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.

While they’re likely craving the substance itself, they also know they can’t use it if they want to overcome their addiction. Today is day 27 alcohol free & yes, my sugar cravings are off the charts! I’m so glad you mentioned a timeline as I thought these cravings should be gone by now. When I stopped drinking, I suddenly developed a craving for ice-cream, chocolate and cake. Weird, because I’d never really been into sweet things before.

Eventually, I was able to work on the underlying factors that drove me to push my addictive tendencies onto other things. I haven’t perfectly mastered them all, but it’s getting better, and that’s the most important thing. It’s like that late 90’s film,Fallen, starring Denzel Washington, where he fights a demon that keeps jumping from one body to the next. But once we both got into a groove , I noticed my consumption remained the same. That thing was replacing copious amounts of alcohol with copious amounts of diet soda . It was my last remaining vice, and I desperately wanted it.

This is partially a result of alcohol’s effects on the pancreas, which is primarily responsible for blood sugar levels. Poor diet and malnutrition, two common traits among long-term addicts, can also affect blood sugar. Many heavy drinkers are hypoglycemic or have low blood sugar, which can cause sugar cravings. This becomes a more serious concern when alcohol is taken out of the picture. But what does that have to do with sugar cravings after quitting drinking?

Including small servings of fruit is another way to modulate a sweet tooth and maintain a healthy, balanced diet. Sugary foods can help those in recovery because they affect the brain like addictive drugs. https://rehabliving.net/ During the early days of addiction recovery, people often battle intense drug cravings and may be calorically deficient. The preference for sugary foods extends beyond effects specific to drug use.

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