March 20, 2008
Preventing Alcohol Cravings
While there are links between what you eat and your cravings for alcohol, it’s important to put the food issues into context, because in some circumstance, foods can do very little to help with alcohol withdrawal or alcohol avoidance, and other lifestyle changes, medical treatment, or therapeutic-dose dietary supplements are needed.
There is a fairly large amount of research about the potential benefits of nutritional supplements during periods of alcohol withdrawal. The greatest focus here has been on the B-complex vitamins, although all of the major vitamins (vitamins A, C, D, and E in addition to the B-complex vitamins) have been found to play a potentially helpful role.
Studies have shown that greatly reducing intake of sugars and caffeine can directly lower alcohol cravings. In the case of sugars, this would mean avoidance of processed desserts and treats with greater than about 10 grams of sugar per serving; avoidance of sodas; avoidance of dried fruits and fruit juices except in limited amounts (like a 4 ounce glass of juice or a few tablespoons of raisins on cereal); and of course, very little use of table sugar. In the case of caffeine, the benefits would come from elimination of caffeinated sodas; elimination of coffee or tea, unless decaffeinated; and elimination of chocolate, except in fairly small amounts (like 3-4 small chocolate squares). Both simple sugars and caffeine can have an impact on your blood sugar regulation, and this connection with blood sugar is interesting, because there has been some evidence in the research that stabilizing blood sugar can help reduce alcohol (sugar) SS cravings. In summary, although it can be difficult to steer clear of these two substances, the research suggests that it’s worth it in terms of alcohol craving.
A second step is to make sure that your diet is filled with nutrient-rich foods so that you can get all the nutrients your body needs to operate at its best including helping to support your liver and other detoxification processes. From our perspective, the very best way to accomplish this goal of nutrient richness is to fill your meal plan with as many of the World’s Healthiest Foods as possible. There just aren’t any foods that can bring in so many nutrients so easily. Alcohol depletes a wide range of nutrients, including B vitamins, and so it is important to ensure that your diet supplies enough.