Why you crave sugar when you quit alcohol during Dry January, and how to curb your sweet tooth

Do you find that you crave sugar when you quit alcohol? You’re not alone and there is a scientific reason behind it! Let’s explore this!

Sugar, Sugar

Scott Pinyard was never a dessert guy — until he quit drinking about five years ago. Then, suddenly, the dad and then-engineer began craving Swedish fish. So much so that for at least a month, he kept the candies in his desk and car.

“When the craving hit, I just allowed it,” Pinyard, now the head coach of This Naked Mind, said during a video for participants of his organization’s “Alcohol Experiment.” The free 30-day experiment, which I signed up for this month, helps people rewire how people think and feel about alcohol while taking a break from booze.

Sugar cravings like Pinyard’s are common when going alcohol-free. But the urge typically fades, and there are strategies to handle it in the meantime.

Why You Crave Sugar When You Quit Alcohol

Sugar and alcohol both stimulate dopamine

If you’re used to guzzling higher-sugar wines or mixed drinks, your body is missing both alcohol and sugar. (I’m crushed but not surprised to learn my favorite canned cocktail, Cutwater Spirit’s White Russian, has a whopping 32 grams of sugar.)

But even if your drink of choice is straight liquor or beer, both of which are typically sugar-free, losing booze can mean gaining a sweet tooth since both substances produce dopamine, a chemical associated with reward.

“When you take away something like alcohol, which is overproducing dopamine, it is so easy for your brain to say, ‘Oh my gosh, I need that. I need my fix,'” This Naked Mind founder Annie Grace said in the video. “And it looks for what it has in its environment, which is so often sugar.”

Read on to learn why you crave sugar when you quit alcohol at www.insider.com