Why You May Start Craving Sweets When You Give Up Alcohol

Have you ever wondered why your sugar cravings may kick into high gear when you stop drinking? As it turns out, your body converts alcohol to sugar within the body (via Mindbodygreen). This conversion causes your blood sugar levels to spike. When you give up drinking for a while, your blood sugar levels do just the opposite and drop. As a result, your body notices the absence of sugar and starts to feel deprived which triggers a heightened desire to eat sweet foods. This results in a greater likelihood to reach for candy, cake, and cookies.

In addition, the effect that sugar has on the brain is pretty similar to the effect of alcohol. Integrative doctor Erika Schwartz says that both sugar and alcohol can increase the release of chemicals like dopamine and serotonin in the brain. "The release is associated with a reward circuit that is activated in addiction-related behaviors, which is why alcohol and sugar are so addictive to humans," she explained. Simply put, your body calls on sugar to give you the same feeling you used to get from drinking alcohol.

How to beat sugar and alcohol cravings

Before you give in to any cravings, Mindbodygreen recommends waiting it out. Have a glass of water or a hot cup of tea to see if that helps. If not, find a healthy dessert alternative or recipe. Natural, whole foods are always a much better option in comparison to processed sweets. Chocolate mousse, dark chocolate, homemade granola, or fruit can satisfy your sweet tooth without things getting out of hand.

Drinking a mocktail or healthy bubbly is a great idea to keep from turning back to booze. You may find options like kombucha, club soda or sparkling water, and non-alcoholic red wine to be quite gratifying. Cranberry juice and pomegranate juice are also delightful swaps for red wine.

You can always take your mind off sugar and alcohol by distracting yourself with a positive activity. Try doing a puzzle, exercising, or listening to a podcast or audiobook. Now is probably a good time to finally tackle those chores you've been putting off. Mindful activities like meditating, breathwork, yoga, and journaling can also be helpful.