You’re not alone; it’s actually common for recovering alcoholics to crave sugar. Eating ice cream or a donut every once in a while is okay, but there may be cause for concern if you’re constantly snacking. Sugar cravings are common in alcohol addiction recovery, but can lead to relapse. Like sex and dopamine, sugar and dopamine are also heavily linked.
The loss of the dopamine rush from drugs can cause the brain to crave a substitute, such as sugary foods that produce dopamine. 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.
Sugar impacts the same area of the brain as alcohol and other drugs and, in high quantities, can release the same euphoric endorphins in dopamine. 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. There is evidence that the neurobiological pathways of drug and sugar addiction are similar and affect the same brain area.
In the short-term cutting down on alcohol has all kinds of benefits like lower blood sugar, weight loss and fewer associated negative consequences like a headache or heartburn. One study has shown other benefits including lower blood pressure and reduced cholesterol.
While sugar affects your brain’s reward system slightly differently, the effect is similar overall, and both can be very habit forming. Excessive drinking has numerous impacts on your body and mind, ranging from mild to severe. Learn which signs to look out for, and how to care for your well-being. Pain Medication WithdrawalsI’ve been taking Norco for post-surgery pain.
Different types of alcohol contain varying amounts of carbohydrates. Some types, including distilled spirits like whiskey, do not contain any carbohydrates at all. In contrast, liqueurs or mixed drinks can contain a high amount of carbohydrates. Beers and wines often contain a moderate amount of carbohydrates. It took a few days to come out of the fog, but my energy level and ability to focus have increased considerably.
Repeated use of alcohol and most drugs impacts the brain’s reward system by releasing larger-than-normal amounts of dopamine. 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. Some research indicates that methamphetamine use can reduce blood glucose levels³, driving people toward sugary foods or drinks. In addition, the appetite suppressing properties of stimulants make eating nutritious foods less likely. Some people in recovery use high sugar foods as a survival strategy to get sufficient calories when other foods are unpalatable.
In a way, it can be because sugar also helps with the production of dopamine. As a result, the brain is trading one type of stimulant for another. No one tells you that a big part of quitting drinking can be incessantly craving sugar. Sugar and alcohol also are known to affect serotonin, another one of your body’s feel-good chemicals. This is why sweets why do alcoholics crave sugar and alcohol can help you de-stress and generally improve your mood, at least at first. When struggling with hypoglycemia, you’re left with symptoms like irritability, aggression, headaches, dizziness, confusion, lack of concentration and impulsive decision-making. Your body needs to right itself as quickly as possible, leading to sugar cravings.