Alcoholic and Craving Sweets

Do you crave sweets in the evening? I received this question and even if you are not alcoholic, the answer might help you kick the sweets habit. Here’s the question:

I’m 65. I’m an alcoholic and have abstained from alcohol for one year now, so am craving sweets!
How can I break the habit of snacking in the evenings? I live alone so the TV is my “buddy” every evening. I MINDLESSLY snack & eat.
Thank you for any advice you may have!
— D. S.

Hi D.S.

,Congratulations on a year of sobriety. Of course you are  craving sweets - alcohol is sugar in its purest form, so doing without alcohol prompts the body to look for a replacement.  


It's a brain, pancreas, blood sugar process, and the way I help my clients overcome it is by my 'crowding out' theory.  The idea is that you can crowd out an unwanted food or liquid, in this case, alcohol, by replacing it with something similar to it.  The big secret is there are many very healthy foods that will do the same as sweets for your cravings..  These are sweet vegetables, including carrots, beets, cooked onions and squash; and all fruits. They have a natural sweetness (fructose) in them and provide a healthy dose of sweet.  The other thing you can do is broaden your palate by adding other flavors like bitter (dark greens) sour (pickles) and pungent (mushrooms) so your body becomes accustomed to other flavors. 

As for mindlessly eating and snacking in front of the TV, make a decision to bring only one bowl of snack to the TV room.  Think of what else you can do with your hands while watching TV - flex small hand weights, knit, do a crossword puzzle, etc. Make sure you have a satisfying dinner so you won't be physically hungry when you watch TV  

Eventually aim for no snacking after dinner.  Studies show it is good for brain health and weight management to have a 12 hour gap between your last food at night and your first in the next morning. 

Does this perspective help you better understand the way your body is able to adapt and change to healthier foods? Comments are always welcome.