Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Wednesday May 22, 2024
Wednesday May 22, 2024

Booze bye-bye: Unveiling the mystery behind post-alcohol sugar cravings!



2022 Summer marked the big goodbye to my drinking days. Why? Well, turns out, those cocktails and wine weren’t doing wonders for my mental health. I was done with the rollercoaster of anxiety and mood swings that tagged along with my drinking habit. So, I took the plunge, hoping a booze-free life would do me good.

What did I expect? Clearer skin, better sleep, and a healthier body – the usual perks that wave goodbye to the demon drink. But here’s the plot twist: Instead of shedding pounds and feeling on top of the world, my sweet tooth went berserk.

I’ve always had a thing for dessert, but suddenly, it was like a full-on sugar obsession. Ice cream, chocolate, you name it – I was hooked. They became my go-to mood lifters, taking the spot of where my wine glass used to be. And surprise, surprise, later in the season, my clothes started to feel snug in all the wrong places. Weight gain? Not the typical aftermath folks expect when they quit the bottle.

But guess what? I’m not alone in this. Sneaky research spills the tea on a connection between kicking alcohol and craving sugar. Studies on ‘alcohol-dependent patients’ found that after three weeks off the booze, these guys were chomping down three times the amount of chocolate compared to their still-drinking counterparts. Weird, right?

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Meet the gurus: Carol Weiss, an addiction psychiatrist from the Big Apple, and Lorenzo Leggio, the brainiac from the National Institute on Drugs.

So, what’s the deal with swapping my minty cocktails for mint chocolate chip ice cream? I dug into the science with these two experts. Here’s what I found:

Alcohol? It’s a mood lifter. It spikes up dopamine, your brain’s pleasure centre. But when you cut it off, your brain goes, “Oi, where’s the good stuff?” That’s when sugar, the next best hit of dopamine, waltzes in, says Dr. Weiss. Call it a ‘replacement addiction.’

Why the sugar craving, you ask? Alcohol packs a punch with its sugar content. So, your system might be missing that sugar hit, leading you to raid the sweet stash. Plus, your brain’s used to feeling that pleasure, so it hunts for another way to get its fix, explains Weiss.

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And here’s the kicker: You don’t have to be a hardcore drinker to fall for these sugar cravings. Your brain’s wiring decides if you’ll dive headfirst into the sugar pit or just casually sidestep it, says Weiss.

How long will this craving marathon last? Not forever, thankfully. For most, it’s a few weeks to a couple of months of sugar tug-of-war, says Dr. Weiss. If things get hairy with withdrawal symptoms like anxiety or hallucinations, best dial up your GP.

But fear not, fellow sugar-seeking comrades! There’s a way out of this sticky situation. Dr. Weiss suggests diving into activities that give you the same dopamine boost without the sugar rush. Think sweating it out in the gym, chilling in nature, or simply hanging out with mates. And hey, a structured routine, snoozing for 7+ hours, and tucking into balanced meals can steady those sugar cravings, too.

For me, after a bit of sugar detox and dialling up the healthy eating, those wild cravings took a backseat. And now? I’m rocking the sober life and soaking in all the awesome health perks that come with it. Cheers to that!


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