In early stages of alcohol recovery, it is normal to still have the occasional craving. Many people still crave alcohol. While others in early stages of recovery may start to crave chocolate. In some programs it is said that you should start eating chocolate early into your recovery. Eating chocolate can even help curb your alcohol cravings. These cravings for chocolate can occur because of neurotransmitter imbalances, fluctuations in blood sugar, or due to addictive personalities.
In some cases people in recovery crave sugar to the point where they can’t eat anything else. This can help them stop craving alcohol, but it can also be harmful. It can lead them to developing a transfer addiction. This is when you give up one thing, but to get the same feeling you replace it with another thing. This can easily happen with switching from alcohol to sugar, or more specifically chocolate.
How Chocolate Affects Your Body & Mood
Chocolate is a mood booster. The brain releases dopamine when you eat chocolate. It also contains phenylethylamine which is a stimulant to make you feel good. The molecular structure of chocolate is very similar to amphetamine. Amphetamine is a mood altering drug, usually used on children with ADD, attention deficit disorder.
Chocolate is also an energy booster. It can give you a quick short term energy boost, which can be helpful for people who are in recovery. Sometimes cravings are the worst when you are tired, so eating a little piece of chocolate can help boost your energy to take the edge off the craving.
There is a chemical in chocolate, theobromine which is related to caffeine to help give you that extra little boost of energy. Chocolate is also extremely satisfying. Chocolate has the amino acid tryptophan, which is involved in serotonin production. Serotonin is the chemical in the brain that helps you feel calm and satisfied.
Alcohol & Your Brain and Body
When you drink the brain gives you dopamine and serotonin. These feelings are what you become addicted to. So when you get rid of these serotonin and dopamine boosts your brain tries to replace them with something else. Your brain is looking for a way to feel good and feel satisfied. When before you got that from drinking, your brain knows that you can get very similar feelings from eating chocolate. That is why it is so easy for your body to replace your addiction from alcohol to chocolate if you aren’t careful.
When you drink, your blood sugar drops. Alcohol stops the liver from releasing glycogen into your body which causes your blood sugar levels to lower. When your body notices that you have low blood sugar levels, it immediately sends out a signal to your brain to crave sugar. It’s normal for your body to crave to counteract your levels being low. It can happen with any nutrient deficiencies. If you don’t stop drinking, even if you satisfy your sugar cravings to raise your blood sugar momentarily, the main issue won’t stop. Continuing to drink alcohol will continue to lower your blood sugar and you will be caught in this cycle.
Healthy Eating Is A Key During Detox
Eating healthy during detox, or recovery can seem so easy to say. But in reality it can be hard. Your body may just be craving alcohol, sugar, and junk food. There are some things you can eat during recovery though that can help your cravings, and get your body healthy and balanced.
Alcoholics tend to be vitamin and nutrient deficient. Making sure to eat green vegetables can help raise your vitamin B levels, which tends to be a vitamin alcoholics are deficient in. Green vegetables like raw spinach are high in L-glutamine which can help stop cravings for sugar and alcohol. If you cook your spinach, the L-glutamine tends to cook off.
Berries are a great way to help get yourself natural sugars to stop sugar cravings. You can snack on berries, like strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries throughout the day to help with sugar cravings.
Whole grains are a great thing to add into your diet. They take longer to digest which can make you feel fuller for longer, and they have a slow release of sugar which can help maintain your blood sugar levels. Maintaining your blood sugar levels will stop you from craving sugars because your blood sugar is too low.
Cayenne pepper is a great nausea reducer which can help increase your appetite.
Sunflower seeds raise your dopamine levels which can also help fight cravings.
Bananas raise your dopamine levels as well, can help fight cravings, and are high in potassium.
Alcoholism can cause low iron in the body. So eating high iron foods can help your body move oxygen around more effectively.
Sugar cravings, especially for chocolate, tend to be normal in the early stages of recovery of alcoholism. Addiction is a lifestyle and a disease. Making sure you don’t turn your sugar cravings into an addiction is important when you are in the early stages of recovery. It can happen very easily in some cases.
Chocolate and alcohol make you feel good and your brain knows that it can get the same feeling from both. Though chocolate may be less harmful than alcohol, it still isn’t the healthiest diet choice if you have to have it all the time.
Eating chocolate can even help curb your alcohol cravings! #HealthSurgeon
READ MORE: Dark Chocolate Health Benefits