Why Do Alcoholics Crave Sugar?

The is the biggest reason why sugar cravings appear in early sobriety, especially the first month. Sugar consumption was measured by the 8 sugar-related items of the Dietary Screening Questionnaire module of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020). The DSQ asks participants the frequency of consuming common sweet foods (e.g., candy, pastries, ice cream) over the previous 30 days using a 9-point scale of “never” to “6+ times/day”. These responses are then converted into estimated intake of added sugars (in teaspoon equivalents) using an algorithm developed by the National Cancer Institute (NCI; NCI, 2020). Many people in recovery report having a craving for sweets during their first phase, and often, over the course of their lives. Could it be true that sweets can actually curb the craving for alcohol?

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. Alcohol disrupts your body’s ability to manage blood sugar, which can cause reduced blood sugar levels, leading to sugar cravings.

Foods to support blood sugar & hormone balance

That is the most important step towards getting healthy and addressing any mental health issues. Fine tuning your eating habits and lowering your sugar intake is secondary. If your sugar cravings are frequent, it’s best to opt for natural, whole foods options over highly processed sugars.

People with this disease may experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop drinking, which can make it difficult to quit without professional help. These changes can lead to tolerance, or a need to drink more in order to feel the same effects. They can also leave you more sensitive to alcohol’s do alcoholics crave sweets effects and raise your risk of withdrawal symptoms. The new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) includes cravings as part of the diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorder (AUD). Cravings won’t necessarily affect everyone who cuts back on alcohol.

Addiction Info

To test Hypothesis 1, whether increases in sweet craving, sugar consumption, and alcohol craving were observed from pre-treatment (T1) to one month later (T2), we conducted paired-samples t-tests. To test Hypothesis 2, whether sweet-cope or sweet-control predicted changes in sugar consumption, sweet craving, and alcohol craving over time, we conducted a series of multiple regression analyses. In two sets of models, sweet-cope and sweet-control were examined as predictors of T2 sweet craving, sugar consumption, and alcohol craving, controlling for T1 levels of the dependent variable. Each model was conducted separately because the use of sweets to cope with negative affect and impaired control over eating sweets reflect distinct correlates of sweet liking (Kampov-Polevoy et al., 2006).

do alcoholics crave sweets

Other smaller studies have observed similar relationships between abstinence and sweets cravings in people with alcohol use disorder (AUD). 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. Long-term, alcohol abuse disrupts your body’s ability to regulate your blood sugar. This is partially because alcohol can damage the pancreas, which controls blood sugar levels, and partially due to poor diet and malnutrition.

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