Here’s Why You Crave Sugar After Cutting Out Alcohol, Per Experts

A sugar detox involves cutting all added sugars from your diet for a set period of time, from as little as a week to as long as a month. The premise is that, after an initial period of “withdrawal,” you’ll no longer crave sweets the way you do now. We already know that a good night’s sleep is crucial to our health. But not nearly enough of us realize how connected our sleep habits are to our sugar cravings.

do alcoholics crave sugar

Eating nourishing food consistently throughout the day prevents you from getting too hungry, which enables you to make better food choices. Residents at The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation support and encourage one another to stay on track. If you’re worried you’re going to relapse or if you’ve already relapsed, remember that it doesn’t mean you’ve failed at recovery.

Why Do I Always Crave Sweets When I Give Up Alcohol? MDs Explain

This is easy to do because of the high sugar content of foods and drinks, such as some low-fat yogurt (45 grams) and a can of coke (44 grams). Sugary foods can easily fill in this gap, especially given that eating sweets is much more socially acceptable and appears less detrimental to your health than drinking. It’s natural to assume that you crave sugar after quitting alcohol because your body has become acclimated to the high sugar content found in most alcoholic beverages.

do alcoholics crave sugar

All of that said, our blood sugar can be easily managed by the food we eat and the timing of when we eat. Additionally, sugary alcohol drinks increase dehydration compared to standard alcohol flavors. Consuming alcohol and sugar together might feel like it diminishes feelings of drunkenness. This is likely because sugar slows the body’s rate of gastric emptying.5 Because of this, less alcohol enters the bloodstream. Sugar cravings are the most intense about a week after the last drink.

Recovery, Relapse, and Sugar

Therefore, it’s always best to consult your treatment providers about it so they can inform you on what to expect. In conclusion, sugar cravings are a common experience for many recovering alcoholics. By understanding the science behind these cravings, prioritizing nutrition, and developing coping strategies, it is possible to manage them effectively and support long-term recovery. Remember, recovery is a journey, and it’s important to be kind and patient with yourself along the way.

Some heavy drinkers may also experience “cross-tolerance” between alcohol and sugar. Cross-tolerance means that someone who is dependent on one addictive substance may also have higher tolerance for another. This can make it easier to become dependent on that other substance—such as replacing alcohol with sugar. Heavy drinkers also tend to have low blood sugar, which leads to sugar cravings, according to Silver Maple Recovery, an addiction research center in Ohio. First, you get more of a dopamine boost from foods that are high in sugar or fat. This is similar to the dopamine rush you’d feel when drinking alcohol.

Why Do Alcoholics Crave Sugar?

Remember, overcoming any addiction takes time, patience, and perseverance. With dedication and these helpful tips, managing your sugar cravings in recovery is achievable. Unveiling the key to successful transitional care for mental health and substance abuse. Well, for one, alcohol has a very high sugar content, says Dr. Weiss, so on some level, your abstinence might result in sugar withdrawal, which can in turn result in literal sugar cravings. While replacement rewards are a viable strategy incorporated into most treatment methods, they do not address the root cause of addictive disorders. To fully resolve the root causes of addiction, you need professional support.

This too factors into why recovering alcoholics crave sugar, as we’ll see soon. Beyond the physical reasons, mental health disorders and eating disorders can also drastically affect sugar intake and sugar cravings. As you can see, the unique connection between alcohol and sugar cannot be underestimated.

The Role of Diet and Nutrition in Recovery

However, it is important to maintain proper nutrition throughout and after rehab, so as to ensure a successful recovery. The latter factor explains, in part, why heavy drinkers are much more susceptible to hypoglycemia. In moderation, alcohol consumption can have minimal effects beyond the ones we all likely know; euphoria, disorientation, and so on. Initially, like all addictions, addiction to alcohol has physical, psychological, and behavioral roots. Now dubbed Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), this type of addiction differs little from the others in these regards. Drink water or tea to fill your stomach, and see if the desire for sugar lessens.

do alcoholics crave sugar

The year 2020 was one of the most challenging in modern history, one that took a toll on our mental and physical health. Don’t forget, you can ask questions anytime, and we’ll do our best to find the right expert to point you in the right direction. These alternatives provide a touch of sweetness without the added refined sugars found in many processed snacks.

Why Do I Crave Sugar After Cutting Out Alcohol?

We can focus first on eliminating alcohol and then worry about sugar later. If you need to pause and go scoop yourself some ice cream or grab yourself whatever sweet snack you like, it’s OK! Blood sugar is often tested with a glucometer, which measures the amount of glucose in a sample of blood.

  • Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, sugar fundamentally functions in similar ways.
  • Craving sugar is common after drinking because alcohol contains sugar.
  • However, this depends on how much sugar one consumes during this time.
  • When alcohol is no longer an option, individuals may turn to sugar as a substitute.
  • These nutrient deficiencies can lead to imbalances in brain chemistry, affecting mood, energy levels, and overall well-being.

In addition, alcohol can impair the function of the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for decision-making, impulse control, and self-regulation. This impairment can lead to a diminished ability to resist cravings and make rational choices, further fueling the cycle of alcoholism and sugar cravings. Some other substitutes people might turn to include food, nicotine, marijuana or other drugs. The preference for sugary foods extends beyond effects specific to drug use. Sugar affects the brain like addictive drugs⁴, which makes sugar particularly tempting for people with a substance use disorder.

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