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. Alcohol is a depressant and will slow down the metabolism and cause fatigue, which can make the body crave sugar for a quick energy boost. Alcohol also depletes the body of important vitamins and minerals, which can cause cravings for sugary foods. Additionally, alcohol can increase stress levels, which can also lead to craving sugary snacks. One explanation is that alcoholics may be lacking in essential nutrients, and as a result, their bodies are trying to compensate by seeking out sugary foods.

Cravings for alcohol are one of the biggest deterrents to our cutting back or eliminating it entirely. We find that cravings or triggers appear frequently and make it difficult for us to change our behaviors and make real progress. In the meantime, you may be asking yourself if you should or shouldn’t be indulging in these cravings. After all, part of cutting back or eliminating alcohol from your system is to improve your health, right? My perspective is that it is also OK to indulge in sweets if it helps keep you off alcohol.

Is Alcohol A Inflammatory?

In other words, like most addictive substances, alcohol creates the conditions that fuel addiction to it within the brain. Glutamine, an amino acid, may be helpful to reduce sugar cravings. Multivitamin and/or B vitamins can be helpful as well especially with heavy alcohol use. The good news is, it is possible to get to a place where you don’t feel controlled by the sweets in your house. Typically, I see sugar cravings tapering down within a few weeks with the proper nutrition and hydration. Which means you have to eat more and more to feel the same effects.

During the early days of addiction recovery, people often battle intense drug cravings and may be calorically deficient. 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. And I was left with my sober lifestyle—and all the lovely health benefits that have come with it. Whether you’re quitting drinking for dry January or want to cut alcohol out of your life for good, there are some ways to get through the sugar cravings you might experience. Your unique neurobiology will influence whether you experience intense cravings or not, says Weiss.

What are the Stats On Rehab and Recovery?

The most optimal way is to stick to fruits and other natural sugars like honey, and to generally enjoy other sweets minimally. A separate study done and presented at the 9th ISBRA Congress showed support for an association between sweets and a genetic predisposition for alcoholism and a family history. In the study 61 percent of individuals with a positive family history of alcoholism preferred sugar solutions.

Whatever your situation, being kind to yourself and open with your healthcare provider can only help. There are several reasons people in addiction recovery may develop a preference for sweet foods. Different substances can create various inclinations for sugar, and there is an underlying connection between addictive behaviors and sugar intake. Not everyone experiences sugar cravings after cutting out alcohol, and not all sugar cravings morph into a full-blown sugar addiction.

The Connection Between Alcohol And Sugar

Sugar affects the brain’s neurotransmitters, similar to the dopamine rush caused by drinking. This can lead to medical complications, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases. Psychological factors significantly contribute to sugar cravings after quitting alcohol. It’s common for individuals to substitute one habit with another as a coping mechanism, which is why alcoholism and sugar addiction are often linked. Therefore, it is vital that addiction treatment providers understand this connection and take decisive, calculated steps toward addressing it. From personalized behavioral therapy to nutritional guidance and robust aftercare, sugar cravings can be managed effectively, ensuring a successful recovery.

Finally, we’ll discuss the importance of understanding and managing these cravings as part of an overall healthy lifestyle. It’s important for recovering alcoholics to be aware of these links between their addiction and sugar cravings as they work towards sobriety. By managing their diet carefully they might reduce sugar binges during abstinence from why do alcoholics crave sugar drinking thus decreasing chances of relapse due to unhealthy eating habits. Some of them, like marijuana addiction, can specifically affect appetite. Others, like addiction to prescription sedatives, can impact one’s sleep schedule and begin to spiral into eating disorders. Still, no SUDs cause sugar cravings the way alcohol addiction does.

How Can an Alcoholic Reduce Their Cravings for Sugar?

Some people notice they overcome their cravings by not immediately „feeding“ them. Saying no to cocktails with friends and red wine with dinner are obvious and foreseen challenges, but battling a sudden new sugar craving may be less expected. Here’s the scientific rationale for your newly adopted sweet tooth.

do alcoholics crave sugar

Glycogen is a type of sugar that is stored in the liver and muscles. It is used by the body for energy, and when it is depleted, people can feel tired and weak. Therefore, eating sugary foods can help to boost energy levels and improve mood. If your feel like your sweet tooth is becoming a problem, physically or mentally, you’re not alone — and it’s not all in your head. For some of us, a few lifestyle changes will be enough to break our sugar addiction. Others will need medical intervention to overcome the chemical reactions fueling the craving.