Sugar affects the brain like addictive drugs⁴, which makes sugar particularly tempting for people with a substance use disorder. People with substance use disorders often experience intense sugar cravings. Even the original printing of The Big Bookin Alcoholics Anonymous mentions a physician who encouraged newly sober alcoholics to keep chocolate or alcoholics crave sugar candy on hand to help manage alcohol cravings. It is not uncommon for individuals who have a history of substance abuse to not take care of their physical health. Alcohol and drugs in and of itself can wreak havoc on internal organs. For example, heavy alcohol use can affect the liver, heart, brain, and pancreas in a variety of consequential ways.
The good news is that you do not have to white-knuckle your sweet desires and rely solely on willpower. Here are five, sweet swaps you can make that will keep your overall sugar intake low while still satisfying cravings. For additional tips, be sure to check out9 Best Low Sugar Ice Creams, According to Dietitians. If you have a problem controlling how much sugary foods you eat, talk to your doctor.
Are Alcoholism and Sugar Addiction Related?
Long-term alcohol abuse inhibits the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels. 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. Suddenly ceasing alcohol consumption causes blood sugar levels to drop.3 As a result, the body starts to crave more and more sugar. The consumption of high-sugar foods is a way to curb those cravings. Also, because sugar increases dopamine release in the brain, a very temporary high can be achieved that can resemble an alcohol high. Sugary foods are a common addiction when it comes to food consumption.
Similar to alcoholism, those with a sugar addiction can experience similar withdrawal-like symptoms when sugar consumption is suddenly stopped. For instance, heavy sugar users might feel anxiety or shakiness if they abruptly eliminate their sugar intake. For instance, researchers in one study showed women pictures of a chocolate milkshake made with Haagen-Dazs ice cream. The women who had reported previous problems with food dependence or food addiction showed high levels of brain activity in regions that have been connected to drug and alcohol cravings.
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This is extremely high compared to the 19 percent of individuals who preferred sugar solutions and who reported no known negative family or genetic histories of alcoholism. A replacement addiction is when you quit one addictive behavior but feel like you need to replace it with something else. In this case, Sober Home your mind and body are tempted to replace alcohol with sugar. At Waypoint Recovery Center, we understand that a successful recovery requires leading a wellness-focused life. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment programs and how we can help you take the first steps towards a brighter future.
For alcoholics and addicts, sugar cravings may be especially intense in early sobriety. Alcohol has a high sugar content, so alcoholics’ bodies and brains are adjusted to a high level of sugar from daily or frequent drinking. When alcoholics alcoholics crave sugar get sober, the brain loses out of the daily sugar rush it is accustomed to from drinking. This can create intense cravings for sugar, and many alcoholics report overconsumption of candy and sweets during this adjustment period.
Why Do You Crave Sugar When You Stop Drinking Alcohol?
Maintaining a healthy nutritional lifestyle is a form of self-care and is indicative of caring about your wellbeing, in which case you will be more inclined to care about your sobriety. Some people may be concerned about their cravings for sugar and dopamine in early sobriety. There is a tendency in early sobriety to feel the need to instantly become healthy in every aspect of life, including eating habits. Eating too much sugar is a habit that can gradually change as time goes on. The most important things to stay away from are alcohol and drugs. Shaming oneself for eating too much sugar is counterproductive. Remember that you can work on this habit when you’re more comfortable with a lifestyle of sobriety. Over time, a person can become so desensitized to the pleasure of sugar that they may increase their intake and even experience intense cravings for it.
- When I was drinking, hangovers often got in the way of my workouts.
- Long-term, alcohol abuse disrupts your body’s ability to regulate your blood sugar.
- Furthermore, excess sugar can increase belly fat, which is a risk factor for heart disease.
- While these are animal studies, these symptoms may be experienced by humans, along with behavioral changes, such as increased hostility, due to sugar withdrawals.