How to Control Sugar Cravings When You Quit Alcohol During Dry January

There is a tendency in early sobriety to feel the need to instantly become healthy in every aspect of life, including eating habits. Eating too much sugar is a habit that can gradually change as time goes on. The most important things to stay away from are alcohol and drugs.

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“Some improvements are seen after 3 months, such as some improvement in [the] prefrontal cortex and the ability to make better decisions,” says Lopez. “In general, though, it's thought that the dopamine levels which are at the center of reward systems take about 12-14 months to return to normal levels”.

Brittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is the Assistant Clinical Director at our facility. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery. Many heavy drinkers are hypoglycemic, or have low blood sugar, which can cause them to crave sweets.

How to Keep Sugar Consumption Under Control

Those who are not cautious may transfer their alcohol addiction to a sugar addiction or food addiction. As such, focusing on restoring physical health through proper nutrition should be a fundamental component of one’s alcohol recovery treatment plan. Did you know that it’s common for people who have struggled with alcohol addiction to have low blood sugar?

  • The sugar cravings after quitting alcohol are deeper than that, though.
  • 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.
  • Create a plan that allows for a small amount of sweet-tasting food when you’ve quit alcohol.
  • That’s why we reach for high-energy food like sugar when we are tired.
  • Explore membership at Tempest— and get ready to live an alcohol-free life you love.

To break this cycle, you need to eat balanced meals with protein and complex carbohydrates that will help keep glucose levels stable. In these first few days, you may also be at risk for more adverse and serious side effects of alcohol withdrawal. This includes hallucinations, excessive sweating, confusion and agitation at a worrisome level, fevers, fast respirations, and at times passing out. That means that when you stop using alcohol, the brain needs something else that is going to make it feel the same way. 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. Some heavy drinkers may also experience “cross-tolerance” between alcohol and sugar.

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As a result, you may instinctively choose a “quick energy” option like foods high in sugar. When why do alcoholics crave sugar a person stops drinking alcohol, they begin to crave sugar more so for several reasons.

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If you are reading ingredient lists, remember that sugar has many names. Added sugar can be listed as high fructose corn syrup , sucrose, fructose, dehydrated cane juice, glucose, dextrose, syrup, cane sugar, raw sugar, and more. We offer a wide variety of rehab programs that cater to every situation.

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Rehabilitation centers often offer high-sugar foods as do mutual-help groups. Even the primary text of Alcoholics Anonymous, known as “The Big Book,” encourages those in sobriety to keep candy on hand in order to curb cravings for alcohol. Importantly, protein helps reduce alcohol cravings by carefully stabilizing the production of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays an essential role in the brain and body. This organic chemical influences your mood, motivation, and feelings of reward while regulating body movement. When it comes down to maintaining a healthy sober lifestyle, people in early recovery should consider cutting back on sugar.

  • Your body needs protein in order to stay healthy, work properly, and improve your overall quality of life.
  • This is because you no longer get surges of dopamine from a substance.
  • 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.
  • Consuming fruit is a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth and reap nutritional benefits.
  • It may be possible to reduce your sugar consumption on your own.
  • Ria Health offers access to prescription anti-craving medications and regular coaching sessions to help you overcome the urge to drink alcohol.

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