Are Sweets a Good Substitute for Alcohol Addiction?

alcohol rehab in greensboro NCAddiction is a disease that often leads to rehab. It's the only way one can truly recover from substance abuse. While rehab teaches us to cope with cravings and triggers and helps us learn how to live again, sans substance abuse, it's sometimes difficult to fully give up addiction. We can form a dependency to other things like foods, behaviors and activities.

One of the most used substitutes for alcohol addiction is sugar. Is it healthy to use sugar as a replacement addiction to alcohol? No. Why? There are several reasons. Below, you'll find two scientifically proven facts that suggest sugar is a bad substitute for alcohol in recovery. If you need help because you're drinking too much, contact Legacy Freedom. We can help with affordable alcohol rehab in Greensboro NC.

Replacing Alcohol With Sweets

  • The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported in a 2013 study that sugar stimulates cravings.
  • A widely cited study done by Connecticut College in 2013 showed that Oreo cookies activated the nucleus accumbens, the brain’s pleasure or reward center, as much as cocaine and morphine, at least in laboratory rats.

When broken down, sugar affects the brain in more ways than one. It actually boosts dopamine. This brain chemical is also released when alcoholics have one to two drinks. It's the chemical that causes the body to crave alcohol.

When dopamine is released in the brain, it provides a pleasurable feeling. It's one that your body constantly craves and wants to repeat.

Unfortunately, sugar also causes levels of serotonin to increase. This can be a huge factor in our moods as well as depression. When we have a sudden surge in serotonin, the body crashes shortly after, leaving us feeling tired and sometimes depressed.

Even more, sugar can play a large role in weight gain. Because it affects our hormones, it's sometimes hard to stop eating. We become moody and binge eat as a coping mechanism for the way sugar makes us feel.


Just like one would have withdrawal symptoms from alcohol, we can also have these symptoms when sugar addiction is a problem.

  • Anxiety
  • Shakiness
  • Depression
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia

These are the same symptoms alcoholics have when they begin to detox off of alcohol. Those that try to stop eating sugar, cold turkey, because they're worried they're developing an addiction to it or see the weight gain that it's causing can experience these.

According to, "While children as a group innately like sweets and feel better after eating them, the present study reveals significant contributions of family history of alcohol abuse and depression to this effect. Whether the heightened sweet preference and the use of sweets to alleviate depression are markers for developing alcohol-related problems or responses that are protective are important areas for future research."

We hope this information helps you with the risk of a sugar addiction after recovering from alcohol abuse. Don't replace one substance for another. Learn to live a healthy life, while eating foods that are nutritious and well-balanced. This doesn't mean you have to cut sugar out completely. It just means that monitoring your intake is key in the beginning stages of recovery.

Affordable Alcohol Rehab in Greensboro NC Begins with Legacy Freedom

If you’re suffering from a problem with alcohol and need help, consider Legacy Freedom of Greensboro's alternative therapy options. Our success rate is higher than traditional rehab facilities that require you to stay in-house until the program is complete. We know how hard it is to beat addiction. That’s why we’ve come up with a better, more successful program that will help.  Addiction can leave you feeling sad, lonely, and angry. You are not alone. Legacy Freedom is here to help you get back on track to a happier, healthy, drug free life with quality drug and alcohol rehab in Greensboro NC.

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