Why do I crave sugar without alcohol?

I quit drinking in summer 2022. I realized drinking was harming my mental health and was tired of the worry and mood swings. I hoped quitting alcohol and cocktails would help.

I expected my skin, sleep, and physical health to improve after quitting alcohol (study after study shows its negative effects), but I didn't expect my usually tame sweet tooth to go crazy.

I've always liked dessert, but I craved ice cream, chocolate, and other sweets *way* more. I even used sweets to bolster my mood. After a long day, I'd grab something sweet instead of alcohol

Later in the summer, my dessert habit made my clothes fit differently. Quitting drinking is frequently associated with weight reduction, so my weight gain startled me.

Apparently I'm not alone. Preliminary research ties sugar cravings to early sobriety. The majority of 150 “alcohol-dependent patients” in a 2016 Substance Use & Misuse study 

sought chocolate and other sweets after stopping alcohol. Three-week abstainers ate three times

more chocolate than drinkers. (Note: Researchers found that desiring alcohol did not inevitably mean craving cookies. Instead, sugar cravings appeared separately.

Similar associations between abstinence and cravings for sweets have been discovered in other, more limited studies conducting research on individuals who suffer from alcohol use disorder (AUD).

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