Sugar Addiction and Alcoholism Link

It may have something to do with the way that sweets stimulate the endogenous opioid system, causing the brain to feel satisfied. Studies show that alcoholism is at least partially hereditary, and this may also be true of sugar addiction. Scientists have discovered that children of alcoholic parents may be more likely to have a sweet tooth.

  • Some people in recovery use high sugar foods as a survival strategy to get sufficient calories when other foods are unpalatable.
  • They can manage their cravings by consuming fruits or other complex carbohydrates, which satisfy their sweet tooth and provide essential nutrients for overall health.
  • Do you often find yourself reaching for sweets after a night of heavy drinking?
  • Consuming too much sugar can cause a wide range of negative health effects for an alcoholic.

To fully resolve the root causes of addiction, you need professional support. People with severe alcohol use disorders can consume more than 50% of their calorie intake through alcohol alone¹, leaving them at significant risk for nutrient deficiency. Because your liver spends so much time processing the alcohol, other nutrient absorption is delayed. In fact, some medical professionals believe solving hypoglycemia after quitting drinking is crucial to overcoming alcohol cravings. This is especially relevant, considering hypoglycemia also causes low mood, making someone more likely to seek relief through sugar or alcohol. Others may think that sweating after drinking spirits is good to flush it out of the system.

Instead of Sugar, What Can I Do?

Some people in recovery use high sugar foods as a survival strategy to get sufficient calories when other foods are unpalatable. Sugar also triggers dopamine receptors in the brain, and over time a person can become desensitized to it, while experiencing strong cravings. In other words, sugar addiction is a real thing, and follows a similar formula in the brain to alcohol addiction.

why do alcoholics crave sugar

In this article, we delve into the science behind why recovering alcoholics crave sugar, and explore how this phenomenon can impact their recovery journey. Understanding this link can be key to successfully navigating the challenges of sobriety and developing healthy habits that support overall well-being. Stress is a major trigger for alcohol cravings and can also contribute to sugar cravings in alcoholics. When a person experiences stress, their body releases the hormone cortisol, which can increase blood sugar levels. In response, the body may crave sugary foods or beverages to help regulate these levels.

Understanding the Relationship Between Alcohol and Sugar Addiction

These symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include tremors, anxiety, sweating, nausea, and seizures. For cases wherein one cannot stop drinking alcohol, long-term alcohol treatment centers can be of great help. They offer counseling programs and rehabilitation to help a drinker recover from alcohol addiction. And since after drinking, people are feeling warm, most would forget about their coats, a phenomenon known as alcohol cloak, because they feel too warm for their outer garments.

why do alcoholics crave sugar

People with substance use disorders often experience intense sugar cravings. But what does that have to do with sugar cravings after quitting drinking? Well, craving sugar after stopping alcohol is the result of a whole culmination of reasons.

How To Overcome Sugar Cravings When In Recovery

Czerwony also notes that there are anti-obesity medications on the market that help decrease appetite and cravings for sweets. Not all providers are willing to prescribe those medications, but it’s a conversation worth having. As you build a balanced diet, be aware that there are added sugars lurking in most highly processed foods.

why do alcoholics crave sugar

But, on cold nights, especially during winter, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can be very dangerous. People have always known the association between essential tremors and alcohol because of the involvement of the brain in alcohol intoxication. But little do they know that the hypothalamus is likewise very much affected – a brain part that is responsible for keeping the body at a comfortable temperature. The liver can effectively metabolize around one serving of alcohol in an hour, so consuming more can increase the blood alcohol content faster, and one will start feeling intoxicated. Digestion, especially via the liver, can also alter body temperature. When the liver metabolizes high levels of spirits because it gives off a lot of heat, leading to warm body temperature.

How to Avoid Replacing Alcohol with Too Much Sugary Food

Even after abstinence, people experiencing chronic opioid use may feel drawn to activities that trigger these receptors. You may have heard that alcohol breaks down into sugar in the body, but this isn’t exactly true. If you’re in need of substance abuse treatment, reach out to our team today. Alcoholics may have a deficiency why do alcoholics crave sugar in thiamine, a B-vitamin that is essential for the metabolism of sugar. This deficiency can lead to a craving for sugar, as the body tries to compensate for the lack of thiamine. Also, according to Bowling Green State University,  only 10% of the alcohol people drink leaves the body via the urine, breath, and perspiration.

As an essential healthcare provider, We are open and supporting those in need of addiction treatment at all locations. These days, there are plenty of mocktail recipes and nonalcoholic drinks meant to replicate your favorite boozy beverages. Drinking sparkling water with citrus or berries might also hit the spot. Try drinking them out of your favorite cocktail glass for a more similar experience.

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. Some of them, like marijuana addiction, can specifically affect appetite.

As you can see, the unique connection between alcohol and sugar cannot be underestimated. It is deeply rooted in both substances, and largely explains just why recovering alcoholics crave sugar. Moreover, it can cause complications throughout and after recovery, especially if it overlaps with eating disorders or mental health disorders.

There is a simple answer to this; alcohol and sugar share a unique connection, both physical and psychological. This connection causes this essential transfer, where recovering alcoholics may substitute alcohol with sugar. Having offered services for drug and alcohol rehab in West Virginia for years, we at Harmony Ridge Recovery have seen this connection and its effects manifold.

So, in this article, we’ll explore its roots, its peripheral factors, and ways to manage it effectively. If an alcoholic is looking for help with their sugar addiction, there are a few options. Seeking help from a doctor or a licensed therapist can be beneficial in helping to understand the underlying causes of their addiction and learning how to manage cravings. It’s harder to make good choices when you’re tired, and even harder to pass up the short-term energy boost sugary foods offer. Being well-rested will reduce your sugar cravings and — when they do happen — make them easier to ignore. The preference for sugary foods extends beyond effects specific to drug use.

Fortunately, understanding why you’re craving sweets after quitting alcohol and finding ways to avoid sugar can help you maintain a healthy recovery. We spoke to registered dietitian Beth Czerwony, RD, LD, about what sugar addiction is — and what to do if you feel like your sugar cravings are out of control. Sugar and other replacement rewards are not enough to break the destructive cycle of a substance use disorder. If you wish to quit substance misuse, please consider professional addiction treatment services to receive a full range of interventions that can help ensure a successful recovery.