At some point and time, everyone craves a bit of sugar here and there. Whether you’re a huge body builder or on a strict vegan diet, sugary foods are all around and easy to tempt the mind. But, it seems that individuals recovering from alcohol abuse tend to crave sweets just a bit more than the average person. There are plenty of reasons that explain this occurrence, and it’s something that many drug and alcohol treatment services plan around. While sugar cravings might make you feel good initially, read on to learn why they aren’t always good for recovering alcoholics.
Sugar Cravings Start With Your Brain
Many people believe that the body craving sugar after addiction is simply a natural response to the sugar content in alcohol, but there’s more to the story. Cravings aren’t just a random desire. They start with the brain and, in the case of a recovering addict, can be a sign of addictive behaviors. Once you quit drinking, your brain knows that it can receive the same dopamine rush you felt with alcohol through sweets, as they affect some of the same neural pathways alcohol does.
If you’ve been drinking alcohol and your brain has been enjoying the dopamine rush, it’s easy to associate products with high sugar levels as a direct substitute to alcohol. One of the biggest things a professional treatment center must be aware of is the presence of a transfer addiction. This phenomenon occurs when patients quit one addictive substance and turn to another to replace the same feeling. With help from a treatment facility like Steps to Recovery, you can prevent transfer addictions while in our rehabilitation programs.
Are Sugar Cravings Bad?
While a bit of sugar is never bad, high sugar intake can lead to a relapse of the same substance abuse problems once faced. One of the many problems with alcohol abuse is that most of your caloric intake comes from the amount of alcohol you consume daily. This means that most people who stop drinking haven’t gotten their full nutritional value for an extended period.
Sweets are a decent snack occasionally, but recovering addicts should be more focused on combating their nutritional deficiencies with healthy snacks, meals, and drinks. So no, sugar cravings aren’t bad on their own, but they can lead to negative consequences, and other snacking options provide more benefits while recovering.
Instead of Sugar, What Can I Do?
Too much sugar can lead to gut problems, tooth decay, weight gain, and even type 2 diabetes. So instead of consuming sugar, what other options do recovering addicts have? There are plenty of ways to calm your cravings while avoiding the negatives of sugar.
Avoiding sugar can be done with plenty of other methods that don’t raise your blood sugar levels to untenable levels. Practicing better and healthier techniques can help your brain associate health and wellness activities with rewarding and satisfying methods of dealing with its desires.
- Stay hydrated
- Schedule meals that include balanced diets
- Stick to a regular sleep routine
- Eat natural sweets (chocolate or fruit)
- Keep your mouth busy by chewing on a toothpick
- Don’t act on the urge — wait for it to go away
An Effective Rehab Program Ensures That You Don’t Cave to Sugar or Other Addictive Substances
Cravings are just another side effect of the battle with addictive substances like alcohol. Fighting those cravings effectively is one of the main benefits of a long-term treatment plan. With Steps to Recovery, you’re one call away from professional treatment plans that help individuals struggling with alcohol fight the challenges that come every step of the way. If you or someone you know needs rehabilitation for alcoholism, a treatment facility like Steps to Recovery should be the first place you call.