Why Do Alcoholics Crave Sugar?

A significant challenge of sobriety is replacing addiction to alcohol with over-consumption of another substance. One of the most common of these substances is sugar. Researchers found that four out of ten people crave sugar after alcohol withdrawal. Continue reading to learn more about why do alcoholics crave sugar?

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Is Sugar Addictive?

Unless you pay close attention to your sugar intake, you likely consume more than the World Health Organization’s recommended 25 grams per day. This is easy to do because of the high sugar content of foods and drinks, such as some low-fat yogurt (45 grams) and a can of coke (44 grams).

Surprisingly, some scientists believe sugar to be more addictive than drugs, such as cocaine. While there is disagreement on whether sugar can create a physiological or neurochemical addiction, evidence points to at least a strong psychological addiction.

Sugar Cravings During Recovery

Those struggling with alcohol dependence tend to crave sugar because both have a similar effect on the brain. Both substances cause dopamine release and feelings of happiness and pleasure. Some studies have even found a genetic link between people addicted to sugar and those who abuse alcohol. A person in recovery is susceptible to replacing their use of alcohol with sugar to receive the same “high” experience.

Sugar addiction seems much less harmful than alcohol. However, it can contribute to health problems such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol levels. Of particular concern for those in recovery is that a replacement addiction can hinder the process of getting and staying sober and potentially lead to a relapse.

Tips For Overcoming Sugar Cravings

Deciding to stop drinking alcohol and pursue a sober life begins a lifelong journey. You face many hurdles along the way to a happier and more fulfilling life. Avoiding sugar may be one of the most daunting of these challenges. Finding coping mechanisms that prevent you from going from one compulsive behavior to another is the key to sobriety and avoiding behaviors that threaten your overall health. Here are some tips to help you overcome sugar cravings.

  • Eat healthy foods regularly. Eating on a regular schedule helps prevent drops in blood sugar that can lead to consuming excessive sugar.
  • Stay hydrated with pure water. The CDC states that sweetened beverages are most Americans’ leading source of added sugars. Committing to drinking only water can significantly help reduce sugar cravings.
  • Get enough sleep. This prevents exhaustion, which often creates a desire for sugary foods and drinks.
  • Exercise. You release endorphins that help you feel better and diminish your desire for a sugar high.
  • Read labels. Learn the sugar content of foods and make choices that help keep your daily consumption healthy.
  • Eat whole foods. Processed foods often include high sugar content to make them hyper-palatable.

Sanctuary Recovery Foundation

The Sanctuary Foundation is dedicated to providing a sober living home that promotes your success. Contact us and learn how we can help you no matter what stage you are in.