When you are in addiction recovery, you have so much to consider. How will you reconnect with friends and family? How will you keep yourself as healthy as possible? You may not have considered how your diet comes into play when you are in addiction recovery. While eating sugar may not seem to be your biggest concern during recovery, when you are in early recovery, it makes sense to limit your sugar intake. Here is why.
There is the possibility that sugar can be an addictive substance. According to an article published in Scientific American, "foods rich in fat and sugar can supercharge the brain's reward system, which can overpower the brain's ability to tell an individual to stop eating." The brain does not put a stop to the eating, and instead, the individual wants more sugar or fat, not less. When you are in addiction recovery, you want to make sure that you do not substitute one addiction for another. Instead of releasing yourself from addiction, you could be moving into a new addiction if you eat a substantial amount of sugar.
Those who have experienced addiction to drugs such as heroin tend to have a strong preference for sugar. Even during addiction recovery, these addicts turn to sugar. A review of the connection between opioid addiction and sugar intake published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information tracked heroin addicts on methadone and discovered that they experienced "significant weight gain" due to sugar cravings.
On the other side, sugar could actually lead to less drug sensitivity, which could lead to addictive behavior. Another study published in Medical XPress examined the link between opioid use and the intake of sugar such as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). That study discovered that in mice, eating a diet that contained a lot of HFCS reduced the brain and behavioral response to the drug oxycodone. This meant that "a high sugar diet may dampen the reward associated with a given dose of oxycodone. And that this may cause people to consume more of the drug." While this study focused on a single drug and was not focused on humans, it is still something to consider. If you eat a lot of sugar, are you putting yourself at risk?
Eating a diet rich in diverse vegetables, fruits, and protein can help your body feel better as you work through the physical and mental challenges of addiction recovery. Recovering from addiction can be a struggle; by reducing the proportion of sugar in your diet and seeking out other foods such as vegetables, you will increase your ability to be vigorous, healthy, and strong as you navigate your new life.
At Advanced Recovery Systems, we are here to support you as you enter rehab and move beyond that into a positive future. Talk with us about options for ongoing support in addiction recovery; contact us today.