Low blood sugar, or glucose levels, can induce a craving for alcohol.
You’ve followed this blog for a while, so you know I’m only an occasional drinker. Sure, I’ll partake in a glass of whiskey or two, a near freezing beer with a burger or a nice red from time to time as an indulgence, but I rarely crave alcohol.
No matter how much or little we consume a food or beverage, it’s reasonable to understand how our bodies respond to it. Our bodies actually identify alcohol as a toxin and immediately want to rid our bloodstream of it. From lifehacker.com:
To fight back, and sober you up, humans produce an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase.
That enzyme gets its shot at your alcohol when it attempts to pass through the stomach lining, and when it reaches your liver, primarily. On contact, it snatches a hydrogen atom off the ethanol molecules in your drink, rendering it into non-intoxicating acetaldehyde. Humans can then use aldehyde dehydrogenase as a kind of clean-up crew, breaking down the acetaldehyde that’s sometimes considered a cause of hangovers, along with dehydration.
Though I drink infrequently, I adore the sensory experience. Similar to my appreciation for coffee, I like to fully appreciate the tastes and smells of my alcoholic drinks. It requires some degree of willpower to ensure that I am only consuming small doses at any given time. As with refined sugar, which we have identified in previous posts as a powerfully addictive drug, we simply want to be better informed about how to ingest it and be equipped to make solid personal decisions. We don’t necessarily have to create unreasonable laws for ourselves regarding never consuming the stuff. Rather, we aim to be in tune with our body’s systems and recognize why we’re craving a particular food or drink.
When the bottles of Scotch on my shelf look particularly appetizing, I know I need to ask myself a few questions. Am I exhausted? Am I stressed? Is my blood sugar low and ultimately, what do I need to do about it? From brighteyecounseling.co.uk:
One of the things that can easily induce a craving for alcohol is low blood sugar. This can occur after a ‘rush’ of simple carbohydrates (sugar, processed wheat etc.), blood sugar levels quickly increase, then decrease again just as sharply.
It can also occur if you haven’t eaten anything for a long time – so don’t let yourself get too hungry!
The craving comes about because your body associates drinking alcohol with lots of quickly available carbohydrates, and that’s what it asks you for. So the one thing you need to do when you’re cutting down your alcohol intake, is keep your blood sugar levels fairly balanced.
If you long to drink less frequently and are fiending for a martini, try crushing an apple, a handful of almonds and a tall glass of water. You might just be hungry and dehydrated. When you finally get around to having it as part of a planned indulgence, you’ll be in a much better state to fully appreciate the pleasures.