Diet and nutrition may play a role in the desire to drink alcohol and sugar cravings in recovering alcoholics. While few studies exist on the correlation between hypoglycemia and addiction, it is well known that both alcohol and eating refined grains and sweet foods can play a role in a person’s blood sugar levels.
Blood sugar levels can have many effects on a person’s energy level, their mood, and even their desire for sugary substances. Since alcohol, being made from grains and fermented fruits, is high in sugar, its effects on blood glucose levels could play a role in why it is as addictive as it is and why alcoholics form a dependency.
When a person’s blood glucose is too low, it can cause them to crave sugar (or in the alcoholic’s case, alcohol). When the levels are high from eating sweet foods and beverages, our bodies produce insulin which will often cause it to drop rapidly and begin the cycle of cravings all over again. Many recovering alcoholics who before were not fans of sweetened foods find themselves after giving up alcohol that they desire these things more often than before.
Having good nutrition habits is very difficult for the person who is abusing alcohol, especially since alcohol may become their main dietary supplement and a substitution for meals. Malnutrition is one of the well known physical effects of alcohol addiction that can not only cause the person to eat unhealthy items but also change the way the body processes sugars, grains, and other nutrients obtained from consuming different foods.
While eating a healthy diet alone is not enough to combat alcohol cravings, especially for someone who has become physically addicted on the drug and would benefit from safe and relatively painless alcohol detox, it could help the recovered alcoholic be more successful in quitting drinking for good. Eating a diet that helps regulate hypoglycemic levels can greatly reduce not only their cravings for sugar, but also their cravings for alcohol.
A healthy, well balanced diet is recommended to keep these levels intact and functioning the way they should to reduce cravings. Eating all of the food groups as the USDA recommends and switching to whole grains can drastically improve a person’s diet and help regulate their hypoglycemic index. This helpful article on sugar addiction has some information on gradually reducing the amount of sugar you consume and eat as well as how to overcome cravings for good.
If you are a recovering alcoholic and sugar craving is a concern for you, speaking to a doctor, counselor, or nutrition specialist can help you learn more about your blood glucose levels and the different options available to help you to combat both sugar and alcohol addiction for good.