Why Do Recovering Alcoholics Crave Sugar?

These findings do not mean that everyone with a taste for sweets is destined to develop depression or alcohol problems. It does, however, suggest a connection that may be important for those trying to stay sober. 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 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. Addicts who are used to another drug of choice, such as heroin, may miss the high dopamine levels produced by substances, especially in early recovery.

We support both abstinence and moderation, so you don’t need to quit all at once, or even completely. Best of all, the whole thing can be done from an app on your smartphone. Sweet liking and family history of alcoholism in hospitalized alcoholic and non-alcoholic patients. But if you’ve quit and are on the road to recovery, it’s important to be aware of the addiction shift from alcohol to sugar.


And while the impact on the brain and even withdrawal effects can mimic those of drugs and alcohol, they are not the same. Alcohol addiction ruins lives, brains, and bodies in profound ways. If you’re struggling with sugar addiction or another addiction replacement in sobriety, please know you are not doomed to be trapped by this behavior forever. When you drink heavily for an extended period of time, it rewires and reshapes your brain. We become overly sensitive to the craving cycle and susceptible to impulsive behavior. When I got sober in December 2016, I realized I was consuming way more soda and sugary foods than I had before.

Does cutting sugar reduce belly fat?

One good place to begin improving your food choices is to eliminate sugary drinks — and not just soda, but juices. Sugar increases belly fat and fiber reduces belly fat; thus when you're juicing fruits, you're removing the fiber, leaving pure sugar.

There seems to be a distinct link between addiction and sugar cravings that many addicts experience in recovery. If you’re a recovering alcoholic, you may have expected some discomfort and other challenges, but not this. This type of craving is a new one, and you can’t seem to shake it. ” Now that you’ve made the brave decision to quit drinking, you’re being plagued by sugar cravings. Our drug rehab in Philadelphia looks into why people get sugar cravings after quitting alcohol. Sugar affects the brain’s neural pathways, and weight gain affects the individual’s self-esteem and poses a risk to an alcohol relapse.

Sugar and Dopamine: The Link Between Sweets and Addiction

Many people in recovery report having a craving for sweets during their first phase, and often, over the course of their lives. Could it be true that sweets can actually curb alcoholics crave sugar the craving for alcohol? Within moderation, and within reason, it seems the intake of sugar and high-carbohydrate sugar foods such as fruits, can help to curb cravings.

Think banana ”nice cream,” healthy chocolate mousse, dark chocolate, and homemade granola, to name a few. Including small servings of fruit is another way to modulate a sweet tooth and maintain a healthy, balanced 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. Even in recovery, you may still crave sugar often because hypoglycemia takes time to reverse.

Find Long-Lasting Recovery from Alcohol Addiction at The Raleigh House

At All Points North Lodge, of clients benefit from individual and group therapy, medication-assisted treatment, and cutting-edge technology. A custom treatment plan in an optimal healing environment can give you the time and space you need to heal from substance misuse. Mixed drinks often contain large amounts of additional sugar, but the alcohol itself does not contribute to your sugar intake. However, all alcoholic beverages contain a significant number of calories and have little to no nutritional value. Sugar cravings are a problem for many people and can become all the more difficult when recovering from alcoholism. 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.

  • 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.
  • When I stopped drinking, I put a lot of energy and concentration into finding different habits, treats and activities.
  • The following provides an overview of why this occurs, how it affects the body and ways that people in recovery can prevent it from happening.
  • Some research indicates that methamphetamine use can reduce blood glucose levels³, driving people toward sugary foods or drinks.
  • Now is probably a good time to finally tackle those chores you’ve been putting off.

In the study, Mennella and her colleagues had 300 children ages 5 to 12 taste five levels of table sugar in water and choose which they preferred most. The participants answered questions about depression and their mothers provided information about family alcohol use.

Help for Sugar Addiction

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. In addition, alcohol has a substantial impact on blood sugar levels. Drinking alcohol creates a yo-yo effect with blood sugar, causing an initial spike followed by a dramatic crash. This is because alcohol inhibits your body’s response to insulin, the hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels.

alcoholics crave sugar

And since sugar can be a mood booster, depressed kids may be drawn to it to help them feel better. Those who’ve struggled with alcohol abuse in the past often have a lot of nutritional deficiencies.

Is It Okay to Replace Alcohol with Sugar in Sobriety?

When an individual eats sugar, the brain produces huge surges of dopamine. This is similar to the way the brain reacts to the ingestion of substances like heroin and cocaine.

The loss of the dopamine rush from drugs can cause the brain to crave a substitute, such as sugary foods that produce dopamine. Contemporary research has shown that a high number of alcohol-dependent and other drug-dependent individuals have a sweet preference, specifically for foods with a high sucrose concentration. The neurobiological pathways of drug and ”sugar addiction” involve similar neural receptors, neurotransmitters, and hedonic regions in the brain. Craving, tolerance, withdrawal and sensitization have been documented in both human and animal studies. In addition, there appears to be cross sensitization between sugar addiction and narcotic dependence in some individuals. In the last two decades research has noted that specific genes may underlie the sweet preference in alcohol- and drug-dependent individuals, as well as in biological children of paternal alcoholics. There also appears to be some common genetic markers between alcohol dependence, bulimia, and obesity, such as the A1 allele gene and the dopamine 2 receptor gene.

There is evidence that the neurobiological pathways of drug and sugar addiction are similar and affect the same brain area. How to overcome sugar cravings, without turning back to alcohol. Blatner and Dulan have plenty of food options they recommend to help fight sugar cravings. Mitzi Dulan, the owner of SimplyFUEL, echoed Moskovitz and says that it is ”very common” for a sugar craving to emerge when you’re not drinking any alcohol.

Going cold turkey with added sugar might be your best bet if you want long-term results because whittling down slowly might make you crave those sweets even more, says Dr. Tarman. “If you have a little bit, you’re just going to want more of it,” she says. She warns that the first five https://ecosoberhouse.com/ days will be hard, potentially with intense cravings, irritability, and sleeplessness. By week two, though, any physical withdrawal symptoms will go away, and by week three you won’t even miss the sugar, she says. Maybe you’ve heard that sugar is even more addictive than cocaine.