Nutrition in Addiction Recovery

Being Ernest: Montgomery’s Police Chief Talks About His Decision to Give Up Alcohol
November 20, 2018

March is National Nutrition Month, the perfect time to focus on nutrition basics.

March is National Nutrition Month: an informative campaign designed to get you thinking about making better food choices, and developing healthier eating and activity habits. As a person recovering from a disordered relationship with food, I’m a big fan of making more mindful choices and this is a perfect opportunity to take stock of some powerful tools you can use to enhance your recovery.

When using Alcohol or Other Drugs (AODs), appetite is often suppressed and eating can become a lower priority at the time of use. In addition, skipping meals and fasting may be used as a way of enhancing the effect of the AODs. Often food takes the form of quick, convenient snacks which are often high in fat and carbohydrates and low in protein.

In addition to changes in appetite and diet, AODs impact on the ingestion of nutrients. Alcohol is high in Kilojoules (Calories) yet has very low to non-existent nutrient content, and so can give the effect of feeling full without replenishing the body.This can lead to an unhealthy weight. AOD use also damages the digestive tract which can lead to constipation, diarrhoea, indigestion and poor appetite as well as –

  • reducing the activity of vitamins;
  • reducing the ability of the body to break down food for energy;
  • damaging the liver and impairing its ability to store nutrients;
  • damaging the intestine resulting in poor nutrient absorption and utilisation as well as increased losses of nutrients;
  • causing lean tissue (muscle and organs) to begin to break down;
  • causing the immune system to become suppressed.


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