Going Dry January? How to avoid those pesky sugar cravings

Going Dry January? Let me show you how to avoid those sugar cravings…

Well done for setting a great intention to give up alcohol for January – or longer. You may be thinking it’s just about the alcohol habit that is hard to overcome but you may also be finding you are craving sugary foods.

Let’s explore what’s going on in the body and how you can ease the transition without replacing alcohol with sugar!

But first well done for getting this far into the New Year- almost two weeks in (if you’ve just started this) -or maybe you quit alcohol some time ago? It can be so difficult to navigate the social scene or even spending evenings at home if you’ve had a stressful day. But what you may not have expected was the sudden craving for sweet foods.

What causes sugar cravings after quitting alcohol?

Dopamine, the feel-good chemical

Going Dry January How to avoid those pesky sugar cravings

When you drink alcohol it creates a feeling of calm and relaxation and makes you feel good. This is in part due to the release of dopamine – a neurotransmitter chemical in the brain. So you give up alcohol and this feel-good feeling disappears. Your body will do what it can to find a way to replace this with something else. This is one potential reason why you may now reach for sugary foods as it drives the same dopamine pathway.

Blood Sugar Imbalance

Going Dry January How to avoid those pesky sugar cravings

Alcohol consumption can upset your delicate blood sugar management system. Some alcoholic drinks contain higher amounts of sugar which can send blood glucose levels high quite rapidly. This can result in a corresponding sudden drop. 

And in addition to this, alcohol affects the liver- a key organ for blood sugar regulation – from releasing glucose from proteins. This can send blood glucose too low (that feeling of wanting starchy carbohydrates the day after a night out). 

The bottom line is that giving up alcohol after a period of intense drinking can cause low blood sugar resulting in this craving for sugary foods.

Why Sugar Consumption won’t solve the problem

Going Dry January How to avoid those pesky sugar cravings

Eating excess starchy foods (like bread, crisps or potatoes) or sugary foods will perpetuate the cycle of high and low blood sugar levels. These types of foods lead to a rapid spike in blood glucose followed by a rapid fall. The fall is due to the action of the hormone insulin trying to utilise the glucose to keep the body in homeostasis.

It’s time for a rethink! A rethink about the types of macronutrients you are consuming to bring the body back into balance. Once you’re able to stabilise your blood glucose levels, the cravings will start to fade.

How to stabilise blood glucose levels

Going Dry January How to avoid those pesky sugar cravings

Create awareness about the contents of your meals.

First, keep an honest food diary for a day and include all your drinks too. Do your drinks contain sugars? 

Second note the protein, fat and starchy/sugary content of each meal:

Proteins are meats, fish, eggs, soya, lentils, pulses, nuts and seeds.

Fats are oily fish, olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds. Yes there is an overlap with proteins (it isn’t a mistake).

Starchy carbohydrates are rice, pasta, bread, crackers, potatoes, other root vegetables like potatoes and swede, oats (porridge), crisps

What proportion of vegetables and salad do you eat with each meal?

Third, are you topping up meals and snacks with sugary fruit? Most fruits contain high amounts of sugar – especially grapes, bananas, dried fruit, tropical fruits, fruit juice and fruit smoothies. 

Rebalancing your Meals

Going Dry January How to avoid those pesky sugar cravings

You can quickly get the upper hand of yo-yoing blood sugar levels by increasing the protein and fat content of every meal and every snack. These foods help to keep you full. They also really help to slow the release of sugars from carbohydrates and this helps to keep the glucose in the blood more stable.

Reduce your portions of starchy carbohydrates with every meal and always eat complex (not refined grains). In fact ask yourself- do you need to these at all? Sometimes we include this food group out of habit.

Slowly increase your plate size of non-root vegetables. The fibre also has a positive effect on the release of glucose into the bloodstream.

Other Positive Actions

Going Dry January How to avoid those pesky sugar cravings

Once you have rebalanced your meals, start to reduce your snacks as they can also upset blood sugar levels. You should find you have less desire to eat snacks.

Take a close look at your drinks and choose less caffeinated drinks and choose  more herbal teas and coffees or just plain water.

It doesn’t take long for the body to re-adjust to this new dietary approach. You should quickly find the difference in how you feel and the types of foods you reach for.

Thanks for reading and while you’re here, why not join my Facebook group?

Join my free Health Lifestyle & Nutrition Facebook Group ↓

A wonderful group where you can get help, advice, support and tips to help make the right lifestyle and nutrition choices for you.

I go LIVE regularly in the group with nutritional and naturopathic advice as well as run challenges and much much more!

You can join the group here >>  https://www.facebook.com/groups/healthlifestylenutrition/

Looking for an Appointment?

You can book a free 30-minute discovery call with me simply visit www.peytonprinciples.com, call me direct on 07730 513303 or email caroline@peytonprinciples.com

Again, thanks for reading. 

Keep your eye out for more articles and Peyton Principles in the media.


Gut Health Nutritionist Caroline Peyton Principles
Caroline is a Professional Nutritionist, Naturopath based in Wiltshire.

A little more about me…

Providing expert, personalised, health advice utilising 10 years of nutritional therapy and naturopathy experience with a strong emphasis on digestion and gut health. Zoom or face to face Consultations.

I also develop and deliver well-being in the workplace workshops.

Helping people live happier, healthier more active lives.

 Get in touch here ⤵️

Contact https://www.peytonprinciples.com/contact/

 Please make sure you Subscribe ⤵️ to my YouTube Channel


Join my Facebook group Inspired Lifestyle Choices for women over 35. (Men welcome too!)


Follow me on Social Media for the latest in Natural Health…

Facebook   https://www.facebook.com/peytonprinci…

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/peytonprinc…

Twitter      https://twitter.com/carolinepy

LinkedIn   https://www.linkedin.com/company/peyt…

Caroline Peyton

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: