Cravings are the #1 reason people tell me they get off track or have such a hard time being consistent. When you have a lot going on at work, with the kids and family, and don’t get enough sleep, you probably find that cravings are much higher and you reach for something sweet, carby, or salty to try and feel better. With stress from all areas — lack of sleep, mental stress, physical stress from exercise (too much or not enough), toxins in the environment — your hunger hormones go haywire and the junk food you crave perpetuates this endless cycle. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, all of these factors are hard to avoid.
I’ll get into the supplements in just a second, but first it’s important to understand that protein and healthy fat are your best friend when it comes to staying satiated and full (not a banana, fruit smoothie, or low-fat yogurt with granola). It’s very easy to overeat a bag of potato chips without even thinking about it, but try to eat endless steak and avocados and you’ll feel stuffed. Macronutrients (protein + fat) and micronutrients (b vitamins, iron, chromium, magnesium) from food will help you first and foremost. So before using these supplements as the solution, make sure you are eating quality animal proteins (fish, chicken, beef, turkey, eggs) and the good fats (coconut oil, ghee, butter, olive oil, avocado) with every meal and snack. And now, you can supplement your blood sugar balancing, anti-inflammatory diet with these supplements.
Here are a few of the herbs and nutrients that can help reduce cravings for sugar and carbohydrates.
- L-Glutamine. This is an amino acid that plays a vital role in rebuilding and maintaining the structural lining of your digestive tract. It works with probiotics to promote good digestion and nutrient absorption while reducing inflammation and warding off sugar cravings.
- Magnesium. This mineral helps with blood sugar regulation and makes the body more resilient to stress, so it’s a win-win to reduce cravings.
- Probiotic. Strong sugar cravings could be tied to the type of bacteria in your gut so it’s important to make sure you have more of the good guys than the bad guys. Even just one week of taking a quality probiotic can reduce sugar cravings.
Keep in mind that quality matters. A few of the brands I recommend are Pure Encapsulations, Thorne Research, Biotics, Metagenics, and Integrative Therapeutics. We can’t talk about cravings without discussing blood sugar.
A few other tips to manage sugar cravings:
- Boost serotonin. Serotonin, the “happiness hormone,” can be raised through diet, exercise, and the right sleep schedule. When you have plenty of serotonin, you are less likely to have cravings for sweets.
- Drink plenty of mineral-rich water. If you drink filtered water, add back in mineral drops or some pink sea salt.
- Balance blood sugar. Protein + healthy fat (rather than just a banana, a bag of chips, a granola bar, or some low-fat yogurt) for snacks and meals.
- Get consistent, deep sleep. When you’re sleep deprived, levels of leptin (your satiety hormone) decrease while grehlin (your hunger hormone) increases.
Do you struggle with cravings? What tips do you have for managing them? Let me know in the comments or over on Facebook in the Real Health & Nutrition for Women group.