It is crucial for everyone to balance their blood sugar; however, it is especially critical for people recovering from alcohol or drug abuse to balance their blood sugar. Most alcoholics and people recovering from alcohol abuse have blood sugar problems. However, beyond that, destabilized blood sugar makes it nearly impossible to stop abusing alcohol because the cravings are just too strong.
Research indicates, 70-90% of people that abuse alcohol suffer to some degree from hypoglycemia (chronic low blood sugar) and over 90% of alcoholics are hypoglycemic or diabetic . Symptoms and effects of hypoglycemia can include dizziness, fatigue, sleep disorders, headaches, lack of ability to concentrate, depression, anxiety, light-headedness, tremors, cold sweats, heart palpitations, loss of coordination, and upset stomach. In time, the drinker’s overworked pancreas may stop producing insulin and diabetes can result.
Our body compensates, as a protective mechanism, every time our blood sugar spikes too high or too low. When we don’t eat healthy fats and protein regularly, our blood sugar drops extremely low. When we drink alcohol or eat sugary or processed, refined carbohydrates our blood sugar spikes so high that the pancreas has to protect us by releasing insulin which causes a fast drop in blood sugar also. Every time our blood sugar drops, our body craves refined carbohydrates and sugar, because they provide the quickest source of usable glucose to the body, to pump back up our blood sugar. Guess what alcohol is, in all of its forms? Refined carbohydrates. A person’s body who has abused alcohol, innately knows that alcohol is quickly absorbed into our blood stream, bypassing our digestive system and quickly spiking our blood sugar, so that’s what our body craves. As a result, having imbalanced blood sugar makes it nearly impossible to stop alcohol cravings.
Luckily, hypoglycemia and even adult onset diabetes is often reversible with dietary and lifestyle changes. Unfortunately, regulating our blood sugar and reversing hypoglycemia is not a quick fix. When over body is used to high and low blood sugar spikes, it takes a while for nutrition and lifestyle changes to take affect and for the body to not overreact every time something that is converted to sugar is consumed (fruit, grains, refined carbohydrates, starchy vegetables, sugars). After years or maybe even decades of blood sugar disregulation, don’t expect your blood sugar to balance after making changes for one week. Give it some time, be patient with yourself and you will be happy that you did.
Victoria Bresee, owner of Technologies of the Self, and I gave a presentation tonight at a Moderation Management meeting in Denver. It was great to have the opportunity to present with Victoria, who is such an accomplished hypnotherapist and brain nutrition specialist.
3/9/2015 update: Given questions in the comments, I’ve realized that others may benefit too from other related articles and reading. For more information check these out:
For articles supporting you to balance your blood sugar read these:
For articles on kicking your sugar addiction (which will support you to balance your blood sugar), visit these:
For more information about the connection between blood sugar imbalance and alcoholism:
↵ Drug-Induced Glucose Alterations Part 1: Drug-Induced Hypoglycemia:http://spectrum.diabetesjournals.org/content/24/3/171.full
↵ Field JB, Williams HE, Mortimore GE: Studies on the mechanism of ethanol-induced hypoglycemia. J Clin Invest 42:497–506, 1962
↵ ALCOHOL HYPOGLYCEMIA. I. CARBOHYDRATE METABOLISM OF PATIENTS WITH CLINICAL ALCOHOL HYPOGLYCEMIA AND THE EXPERIMENTAL REPRODUCTION OF THE SYNDROME WITH PURE ETHANOL: http://www.jci.org/articles/view/104797
↵ Alcohol Intake Impairs Glucose Counterregulation During Acute Insulin-Induced Hypoglycemia in IDDM Patients: Evidence for a Critical Role of Free Fatty Acids: http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/42/11/1626
↵ Challenges of Type 2 Diabetes in Patients With Alcohol Dependence:http://clinical.diabetesjournals.org/content/30/3/120.full
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↵ Kiechl S, Willeit J, Poewe W, Egger G, Oberhollenzer F, Muggeo M, Bonora E: Insulin sensitivity and regular alcohol consumption: large, prospective, cross-sectional population study. BMJ 313:1040–1044, 1996
↵ Avogaro A, Beltramello P, Gnudi L, Maran A, Valerio A, Miola M, Marin N, Crepaldi C, Confortin L, Costa F, Macdonald I, Tiengo A: Alcohol intake impairs glucose counterregulation during acute insulin-induced hypoglycemia in IDDM patients: evidence for a critical role of free fatty acids. Diabetes 11:1626–1634, 1993
↵ Kerr D, Cheyne E, Thomas P, Sherwin R: Influence of acute alcohol ingestion on the hormonal response to modest hypoglycemia in patients with type 1 diabetes. Diabet Med 24:312–316, 2007