Why People Get Sugar Cravings After Quitting Alcohol

Because your liver spends so much time processing the alcohol, other nutrient absorption is delayed. Blatner suggests subbing more fruit, which is a natural source of sugar, into your diet. She recommends frozen bananas dipped in dark chocolate or “apple nachos” — sliced apple drizzled in nut butter and topped with unsweetened coconut and cocoa. Blatner and Dulan have plenty of food options they recommend to help fight sugar cravings. “Unlike alcohol, there is a biological drive to obtain sugar,” Moskovitz added.

In other words, sugar addiction is a real thing, and follows a similar formula in the brain to alcohol addiction. From brain chemistry to low blood sugar, we’ll explore the reasons you might get sugar cravings when you quit drinking, and what keeping a healthy balance looks like. Whether you’re struggling to stop drinking or have relapsed, we’re here to help. We use a curriculum of evidence-based therapies to help you heal from your alcoholism. As Northeast Ohio’s premier provider of alcohol addiction treatment, you can safely and privately recover from alcohol addiction.

  • Long-term alcohol abuse inhibits the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels.
  • And since sugar can be a mood booster, depressed kids may be drawn to it to help them feel better.
  • They may fall asleep more quickly, but they will not sleep well.

Overcoming alcohol addiction requires strength, determination, and commitment. Once you give up drinking, do you notice that you are more drawn to sugar? Instead of a beer, do you fantasize about a freshly baked pie or warm brownie? While it is natural for many of us to crave sweets, the treats communicate to the same part of our brains that alcohol and drugs do, thus prompting addictive behavior.

Alcohol And Serotonin

Some people in recovery use high sugar foods as a survival strategy to get sufficient calories when other foods are unpalatable. These spikes and crashes make sugar cravings incredibly common in early recovery from alcohol use disorder. People who abruptly stop drinking may lose a significant source of their calorie intake and have disrupted their body’s blood sugar regulation.

  • It’s never too early to begin a conversation surrounding the topic of Metaverse addiction and the impact the Metaverse will have on mental health.
  • The body can normally compensate by having the liver create new sugar, but if a person is drinking, the liver’s top priority is to remove the alcohol from their system.
  • ” Now that you’ve made the brave decision to quit drinking, you’re being plagued by sugar cravings.
  • “This test could be used to screen youngsters to detect those with a predisposition to alcoholism, which might allow early education and prevention rather than waiting until alcoholism develops.”
  • Sugar detoxes can help you lose weight, reduce sugar cravings, and enhance your oral health.

The liver is very important when it comes to regulating blood sugar levels throughout the day. The main function of your liver is to store glycogen, which is then stored in the form of glucose. When drinking, alcohol affects the liver and its ability to release glucose into the bloodstream. If you’re new to recovery or are in need of different ways to reduce alcohol cravings, nuts and nut butter are the perfect snack. Their high fat and caloric content convert into energy that will keep you running on all cylinders, while their rich nutrients will help you maintain a well-balanced diet. Nut and nut butter offer plenty of versatility and can be used for spreads on your breakfast toast, an additive to your mind-day smoothie, or a quick snack to give you that needed end-of-the-day boost. Of course, it’s important to monitor your intake of these tasty snacks, as your body needs certain nutrients in moderation.

When we aren’t posting here, we build programs to help people quit drinking. When we aren’t posting here, we build programs to help people quit drinking. Explore membership at Tempest— and get ready to live an alcohol-free life you love. Sweet liking and family history of alcoholism in hospitalized alcoholic and non-alcoholic patients. Ria Health offers access to prescription anti-craving medications and regular coaching sessions to help you overcome the urge to drink alcohol. We support both abstinence and moderation, so you don’t need to quit all at once, or even completely.


Leafy greens like spinach also contain amino acids, which are known to decrease both sugar and alcohol cravings. The best way to combat these cravings is by treating them with a strong and healthy diet. Sugars found in drugs and alcohol boost serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain. Rogers, on the other hand, will claim that chocolate’s attraction stems from the sugar and fat content. Regrettably, Rogers appears to be oblivious to the fact that chocolate and the compounds it contains are capable of reducing alcohol cravings. When your blood sugar is low, your body naturally craves sweets to compensate. Even if you indulge and allow your blood sugar to stabilize, this will not fix the problem in the long run.

why do alcoholics crave sugar

If you have diabetes, drinking alcohol may cause your blood sugar to either rise or fall. According to studies conducted over the last 20 years, there is a link between having a sweet taste and alcoholism. Animal studies have indicated that animals who favor alcohol eat more sweets, according to researcher Alexey B. Kampov-Polevoy. Human studies have revealed that those who are addicted to alcohol or cocaine prefer excessively sweet substances.

That could be tough since overall, kids are innately drawn to sweets more than adults. Nearly half of the children had a family history of alcoholism, meaning they had a parent, sibling, grandparent, aunt or uncle who had been diagnosed with alcohol dependence. 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.

Recovery, Relapse, And Sugar

“It is our quickest source of fuel for all daily functions, including involuntary actions like our heart beating and our brain thinking.” 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. Exercise will help with cravings and your mood, especially if you take it outside to get some sunshine. Being out in the sun boosts dopamine and vitamin D and just makes you feel pretty damn good.

  • The cerebral cortex also alerts the reward system in the brain, associating the food with the positive.
  • In other words, sugar addiction is a real thing, and follows a similar formula in the brain to alcohol addiction.
  • While this statement does oversimplify things to grab your attention, it also has some truth to it.
  • “It happens because sugar impacts the brain in many of the same neural pathways as alcohol,” Dulan told Insider.

Our programs consist of several phases to help you approach recovery with a positive attitude. But because alcohol is made up of sugars, your body may be craving carbs in an attempt to overcompensate. However, the new thing I noticed this time around was that I started to crave sugar.

According to UK government data, 3.1 million people tried to give up alcohol this year, with many going into the new year with the plan of drinking less to salvage their livers and wallets. The year 2020 was one of the most challenging in modern history, one that took a toll on our mental and physical health.

Recovery Support

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. Alcohol use also compromises the immune system and can https://ecosoberhouse.com/ be a contributing factor of various types of cancer. Poor nutrition in recovery can serve to exacerbate pre-existing health concerns. 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.

why do alcoholics crave sugar

To help reduce your alcohol cravings, consider adding protein-rich foods to your diet. Lean proteins like chicken, turkey breast, and fish are fantastic options that offer plenty of versatility in cooking.

Help For Sugar Addiction

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.

why do alcoholics crave sugar

Certain types of alcoholic beverages may be more detrimental for people with diabetes, including heavy craft beers due to the number of carbs and sugar that are in alcohol. Many women consume alcohol due to the effects it has on the body. To explain this in simpler terms at lower doses, it acts as a stimulant and at higher doses, it acts as a depressant. So you may witness individuals or even yourself after consuming a couple of glasses of alcohol become talkative or have a feeling of euphoria.

Addiction Therapy Programs

Well, craving sugar after stopping alcohol is the result of a whole culmination of reasons. While most people attribute their post-drinking sugar cravings to their body’s reaction to the reduced intake of sugar that’s usually found in alcoholic drinks, this isn’t a complete explanation. As stated above, glucose is used as an energy source for your muscle and liver cells. If you consume a lot of alcohol and you become hypoglycemic you can wipe out your energy storage in just a few hours. Excessive alcohol consumption can reduce the overall effectiveness of insulin. Many people who have been diagnosed with alcoholic liver disease also have either glucose intolerance or diabetes. The effects of alcohol and drug addiction on the entire family are described.

Foods That Actually Reduce Alcohol Cravings

Remember that you can work on this habit when you’re more comfortable with a lifestyle of sobriety. It’s not uncommon for individuals who once struggled with alcohol to turn to food in recovery, especially sugary foods.

Because alcohol contains simple carbs that are quickly digested, your body starts to crave them. You may be triggered by associating alcohol to places, situations or people.

Sugar releases endorphins in the body and combines with other chemicals in the body, resulting in a surge of energy. Once someone mentally connects sugar with help providing energy, they may become dependent on it .

Beers and wines often contain a moderate amount of carbohydrates. Recovery is a long battle that requires a strong support system and a healthy environment to ensure sobriety. When selecting whole-grain foods, why do alcoholics crave sugar be sure to keep your eye on their ingredients list. Some foods will contain extra sugar that is unnecessary — try to avoid those options. These may be confused with or mask the symptoms of low blood sugar.

It is also safe to check their blood sugar at night before going to sleep after consuming alcohol to ensure they are not hypoglycemic or entering into a period of hypoglycemia while sleeping. Carbs should always be eaten in moderation, but healthy options like whole-grain bread, brown rice, and whole-wheat pasta are useful to reduce alcohol cravings. When individuals experience alcohol withdrawals, their brain severely lacks proper levels of dopamine. Unfortunately, long-term alcohol use has negative effects to this important hormone by causing normal levels to fall. Dairy products are another prime option that helps control alcohol cravings. Low-fat dairy options like cheese, milk and yogurt provide excellent sources of protein, vitamin D, and potassium — all of which work together to provide your body with that “full” feeling. “For example, those individuals who reported drinking more alcohol on occasion and having more alcohol-related problems also had problems with controlling how many sweets they ate,” he said.

Sweet Tooth In Kids Tied To Alcoholism

Cravings can pass on their own and typically last for 10 to 15 minutes if you tweak your diet right and maintain your strength. Resisting alcohol is a daily challenge that requires strength and determination. Even with the right tools at hand, alcohol cravings always run rampant and need to be subdued. A hormone produced by the liver called fibroblast growth factor 21 suppresses alcohol consumption in primates, finds a new study.

After a day or two without eating, however, these glycogen stores are emptied. The body can normally compensate by having the liver create new sugar, but if a person is drinking, the liver’s top priority is to remove the alcohol from their system. People who struggle with alcohol use typically have altered eating patterns.

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