15 Natural Supplements to Stop Sugar Cravings

Posted by Dr. Ian Stern Admin on

Do you remember slipping off a diet plan because you just couldn’t resist the cravings for sweets? This happens more often than you think. And it’s no surprise because studies show that sugar is actually more addictive than cocaine!

Sugary drinks alone kill 184,000 people every year through cancer, heart disease, and diabetes [1]. High sugar intake raises levels of bad cholesterol and blood fats. Sugar is often linked to the development of numerous lung conditions. 

Studies have shown that sugar hinders such activities as learning and memorizing things. Sugar also affects the health of your eyes, seriously hinders your immune system, gives you acne, and causes you to overeat.

On the flip side, people who consume little or no sugar in their diets rarely experience depression. They are more active during the day and sleep better at night. And they are more protected from a broad range of diseases. So how do you curb those sugar cravings that are detrimental to your health?

How to Eliminate Sugar Cravings

You can eliminate sugar cravings with the help of natural supplements. I’ve put together a list of those that are most effective.

1. Gymnema Sylvestre

Gymnema sylvestre comes from the tropical areas of India, Australia, and Africa, and it has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. It is known as a “destroyer of sugar” for its ability to control blood sugar levels and suppress the cravings for sweets. 

In fact, often it is used to treat diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis (all of which have been linked with excess sugar consumption). Gymnemic acids, the active molecules found in the plant, have a sweetness suppression effect, and upon ingestion people lose the taste for sugar (artificial and natural sugars alike). 

That is because the molecules have a shape that is similar to that of glucose, so they bind to the glucose receptors in your mouth and gut, cutting off the signal to the brain that produces sugar cravings

Gymnema sylvestre takes seconds to work, and the effects can last up to an hour, so it’s best to take it when you have a sugar craving or during the time of day when you tend to reach for sweets (for example, in the evenings). 

2. White Mulberry Leaf

Some studies have shown that White Mulberry Leaf lowers glucose levels and may help to stabilize blood sugar [2]. The active ingredient in mulberry leaves, deoxynojirimycin, is an alphi (α)-glucosidase inhibitor. 

It may act to prevent the spike in blood sugar after a meal by interfering with the carbohydrate absorption. That is, it slows the breakdown of sugars in the gut so that they are absorbed more slowly into the blood [3]

This helps the body keep blood sugar levels in the desirable range. White Mulberry is native to Asia and has been long used in herbal medicine. In addition to helping to control blood sugar, it has a wide range of other health benefits. 

3. L-glutamine

L-glutamine has been used by athletes for years to lose weight and preserve muscle tissue. However, it also has tons of other health benefits, including helping to curb sugar cravings by regular blood sugar levels. 

L-glutamine is an amino acid, found in animal and plant proteins. Since most of us do not consume nearly enough of it through food alone enough, L-glutamine can be taken in the form of a supplement. 

Studies [4] show that L-glutamine helped suppress insulin levels and stabilize blood glucose in patients with diabetes. You can take 500 milligrams three times a day with meals as well as an extra micro-dose when you experience a sugar craving, stopping it dead in its tracks.

4. Protein

Low protein intake can trigger your longing for sugary foods. Protein and fats slow the release of sugar into your bloodstream. When you don’t consume enough protein, your blood sugar can rise and fall at an abnormal rate, and your body craves quick energy from sugar. 

Replacing sugary foods with protein is one of the best ways to normalize blood sugar levels. And to help you with that, there are various types of protein powder available, including some of the most popular today: whey, pea, egg whites, casein, and soy proteins.

5. Fiber

Dietary fiber is found in many foods, and it is essential to our health. Fiber is classified in two main categories: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber (fiber that dissolves in water) can help lower blood glucose levels and may also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Soluble fiber is found in peas, oats, peas, beans, apples, carrots, citrus fruits, and barley. And for those of us who cannot seem to include enough fiber in our diets, it also is available in capsules, gummies, powder (which can be added to shakes, for example), etc. 

The Institute of Medicine provides the following daily fiber recommendations: Men of ages 50 or younger should consume 38 grams of fiber per day; men of ages 51 and older should consume 30 grams per day; women of age 50 or younger should consume 25 grams per day; women of age 51 or older should consume 21 grams [5].

6. Zinc

Mineral imbalances in the body can cause sugar cravings also. Essential minerals help maintain our hydration status, so being deficient can cause you to reach for sweets when, in truth, you are just dehydrated. 

People who experience sugar cravings often have very low zinc, calcium, chromium, and magnesium levels. Zinc is needed for proper insulin and glucose utilization. Take a daily zinc supplement. Prawns, pumpkin seeds, and almonds are rich in zinc.

7. Magnesium

Magnesium is another essential mineral. It is used in the regulation of glucose, insulin, and the neurotransmitter dopamine; a deficiency can manifest in the form of intense sugar cravings, especially for chocolate (which is high in magnesium). 

Because of many factors in today’s world, such as soil depletion, chronic diseases, medications, and the amount of refined and processed foods, the vast majority of people in modern societies are at risk for magnesium deficiency. 

Moreover, patients with diabetes appear to be magnesium-deficient and magnesium deficiency likely increases the risk of diabetes [6]

The recommended dietary intake of magnesium for those who crave sugar and chocolate is 2 times a day 400 milligrams of good quality magnesium such as magnesium citrate.

8. Chromium

Chromium also is an essential mineral that has a beneficial role in the regulation of insulin, thereby affecting the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids. Chromium picolinate, specifically, has been shown to reduce insulin resistance and to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes [7]

As our chromium levels decrease with age, supplements containing 200-1,000 mcg chromium picolinate a day have been found to improve blood glucose control and reduce sugar cravings. In most cases, Chromium picolinate will balance blood sugar and kick sugar cravings to the curb within three days.

9. Probiotics

Some experts consider adding probiotics into the diet to be one of the best ways to reduce sugar cravings. A poor diet leads to less diversity of gut bacteria, and having an imbalance of bacteria in your gut, called dysbiosis, leads to cravings for sugary foods and drinks. 

Certain microbes in the gut prefer sugar, causing an increase in the number of sweet receptors. Thus you crave and consume more sugary foods and drinks, thereby creating a snowball effect where you feed and create more sugar-loving bacteria in the gut, causing more sugar cravings

It’s a vicious cycle that can be broken by taking a high quality probiotic, which increases the diversity and health of the gut, thereby reducing the influence of any one species of bacteria, say the sugar loving one, on the body.

10. B Vitamins

Among their many benefits, B-vitamins can help with the metabolism of carbohydrates. B-vitamins are depleted by stress, poor diet, and environmental factors. I recommend taking about 150-250mg daily a fat soluble form of Vitamin B, i.e. the vitamin B derivatives called allithiamine and benfotiamine

11. Lipase

Lipase, which is found in many digestive enzyme supplements, works incredibly well to combat moderate to severe sugar fluctuations, and it can also helps break down and burn fat as a fuel. 

You can get an isolated form of lipase, but I recommend simply using a good digestive enzyme supplement (containing Lipase) immediately prior to your 2 biggest meals of the day. Digestive enzymes will help you digest the meals and absorb the nutrients from the food.

12. Fish Oil

High quality fish oil will help with sugar cravings by enhancing insulin sensitivity. I highly recommend a triglyceride form of fish oil, which is more expensive, but is far better absorbed and utilized by the body.

13. Co Q10

Also known as ubiquinone, CoQ10 is a key component of your cell’s mitochondria. It’s a powerful antioxidant, which fights off free radicals and makes adenosine triphosphate (ATP), necessary for energy production and critical to improving your carbohydrate utilization. 

It has many other health benefits as well, such as improving hypertension, brain health, heart health, etc. Some multi-vitamins may contain CoQ10, and you can also take it as an isolated supplement in the form of a capsule with a meal. Some experts also recommend taking it at night to increase its effect.

14. Flaxseed oil

Like fish oil, flaxseed oil may decrease insulin resistance and help reduce the risk of developing type 2 as well as type 1 diabetes [8]. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are an essential source of energy. The lignans in the oil promote glucose synthesis in the liver. Flaxseed oil is a power food. It is packed with vitamins and nutrients. And it is available as a supplement.

15. Neurotransmitter brain support supplements (for emotional eaters)

Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers neurons that move around your body to ensure everything signals correctly. They play a key role in managing many body processes, as well as central actions that take place in your brain, such as mood, learning, memory, and cognition. 

If you are very stressed, you do a lot of emotional eating, and you’re craving a lot of carbohydrates (especially at night), your brain might need a little bit of help in the form of supplements, which literally tell your brain to calm down and quit craving a quick energy fix from carbs. 

These supplements include amino acids, gamma-aminobutyric acid (also known as GABA), and D-phenylalanine.

What Causes Sugar Cravings

The average American consumes 130 pounds (about 60 kg) of refined sugar and high- fructose corn syrup (HFCS) every year. That is equivalent of 40 teaspoons per person per day! [9]

The more sugar you eat, the more your body has to make internal fat to wrap the

corrosive sugar in and keep it away from your vital organs. Sugar, not fat, is mostly

responsible for the growing obesity problem. 

And while artificial sweeteners were invented to take the place of sugar for a lower-calorie option, research suggests that is completely ineffective. By consuming artificial sweeteners, you will experience the same cravings, or even eat more food and total calories.

The trick is to give your body what it needs to allow it to fuel itself naturally. We experience sugar cravings because we don’t provide sufficient nourishment for our bodies, and it seeks quick energy fixes from carbohydrates. 

Sugar consumption increases serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, appetite, memory, and social behavior. Therefore, it makes us feel happier temporarily, and when the feeling dissipates, we crave this happy chemical again.

We can boost our serotonin levels through diet, exercise, adequate consistent sleep, and supplements. Once your body learns (or re-learns) to receive vital energy from beneficial sources, it will no longer require the quick energy from carbs, and the cravings will stop. And by cutting sugar, you will be doing a great favor to your mind and body.