I did some research with my buddy Carl (a respitory therapist and ex-smoker) and nailed down the sugar reasoning. Your brain has these 'nicotine receptors' and the more you smoke, the more there are. Everyone has them, in a non-smoker they are not triggered. The more there are, the more you smoke. When you quit, the 'newer' ones die off. But the ones that are left 'ping' you non-stop for what they need.
Now the stress relief you get from smoking is your body releasing dopamine and endorphins. These are the 'Ahhhhhhhh" chemicals.
When you quit, your body misses the chemical release.
Sugar (and exercise) cause the release of those chemicals also. Your body wants that 'Ahhhh' again. Thus the reason for wanting sugar.
Now there may be other reasons as Ginger said- but that's what I found. Hope this helps 'reason' away some of the sugar craving. Now if I could just stop the 'pinging' in my head......
Just want to clarify the "nicotine receptors" you were talking about. They aren't nicotine receptors so to speak. They are called acetylcholine receptors and yes everyone has them.
The problem with nicotine is that it's chemical structure is close enough to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, that it is able to mimic acetylcholine which enables it to reach the reward pathways of the brain. Where it releases a large amount of unearned dopamine.
Almost as a defense mechanism against this poison. The brain creates millions of more of the acetylcholine receptors, so as to widely disburse it to keep us from getting brain damage so to speak.
Ex smokers have roughly 33% more of these receptors at autopsy than never smokers.
While dopamine is one reason that keeps a smoker addicted. There are two other reasons that I think are equally important if not more important to understand about nicotine addiction. Which shows that smoking doesn't do for us, but rather to us.
Nicotine also has the ability to fit the smoker's adrenaline locks. As nicotine metabolizes and the effects of dopamine wear off. This leaves the smoker with a fight or flight type feeling. A heightened anxiety. This is do to cortisol being pumped into the body.
What this does, is fool the body and the subconscious to think that something is wrong, when in reality the anxiety is false. The smoker then smokes a cigarette which releases DHEA which temporarily switches off this feeling, thus bringing relief to the smoker. This is thestress relief that a smoker feels. In reality it is a false sense of accomplishment, because the smoker only relieved an anxiety that the previous cigarette created.
It's not that dopamine is relieving stress. It is really only masking the stress, but again that stress is because of smoking and not life. Smoking does not relieve stress. It creates it.
Anyone that has ever quit for a good amount of time and then smokes again. Usually finds that first cigarette to taste horrible and make them feel sickly. Even though nicotine is releasing a lot of dopamine into the system. The person usually doesn't feel that " Aaahhhhh" sensation that they were used to. It is the cigarettes after that, that really create that sensation, because it is a releif from stress that the previous cigarette created that creates the illusion of pleasure.
After years of smoking and relieving this false anxiety. The subconscious begins to associate anxiety with the need for a cigarette. That's why stress is such a big trigger for most smokers.
Also the brain needs to regulate the amount of dopamine being released, but it cannot regulate nicotine. As it is a foreign substance(poison). So the brain has no other choice, but to turn down it's own sensitvity to acetylcholine.
This makes it so that the brain has a much harder time naturally releasing the "feel good" chemicals, basically desensitizing the smoker. This is another reason that smokers rely so much on cigarettes to "Feel Good" or more accurately, feel nicotine normal. Again this is a false sense of accomplishment, because if nicotine didn't cause the brain to turn down it's own sensitivity. The smoker wouldn't need to rely so much on the cigarette.
There is no benefit to hamper our own neurotransmitters, only to rely on a poison to make us think that we feel better when we use it.
So while cigarettes release dopamine. It is important to see also that they create stress. They don't ease it. They make us depressed. They don't help us with emotions.
as far as the sweet tooth.
I do know though that one of the main reasons why is that when we smoked. Nicotine caused a chemical interaction that caused us to release our own stored fats and cholesterols. This was due to smoking putting a strain our heart and body and the body looking for the extra energy to combat this.
It was a viscious cycle because the heart had to work harder because it was being worked harder, but the carbon monoxide from the cigarette basically poisoned the blood's ability to carry oxygen, thus making the heart have to work even harder.
When we first quit smoking. The body doesn't naturally release it's own stored fats. This causes the blood sugar level to plummet, which can create the sweet tooth. This is only temporary and the body will re adjust to normal function. To combat this, drink lots of fruit juice if possible.
I had a sweet tooth when I first quit, but it passed.
Hey- great info. I'm on day 6 and I am dying here. I don't want to cave but it is all I can think about. The last 3-4 hours have been really hard. I don't know if I can make it.....I was doing so well and now....not so much