Do you find yourself battling intense and even irrational cravings for sweets or simple carbohydrates mid afternoon and in the evening, several hours after suppertime? (Some folks find these evening cravings can be even more severe during the winter months).
Maybe you find your energy levels plummeting an hour or so after a meal?
If so, it is very likely the result of a blood sugar imbalance of some sort, caused by insulin levels that surge dramatically in response to diet (although these can also be caused by hormonal imbalances and certain nutritional deficits).
The culprit for such an imbalance is often a diet rich in unrefined grains and sweets (i.e. simple carbohydrates), which are easily metabolized into glucose, eliciting a dramatic insulin response. This “rush” of insulin can cause blood sugar levels to drop dramatically, triggering cravings, a crash of energy levels, and even mood swings.
Depending on the severity of your sugar cravings, supplements on their own may not help you. Your smartest strategy—always—is to remove the foods in the diet that are causing or worsening the problem (those pesky unrefined grains and simple carbohydrates) and replace them with high-fiber fruit and vegetables.
If that doesn’t help with the problem, you may need to consider a supplement of some sort.
Here is a list of supplements that may help with sugar and carb cravings by moderating your body’s blood sugar levels (all links to the full reviews open in a new window so you won’t lose your place here)…
1. Chromium: Although some clinical data is contradictory, there is some evidence indicating chromium has a positive effect on carbohydrate craving and appetite regulation, as well an increasing insulin sensitivity.
2. Alpha Lipoic Acid: A potent antioxidant, clinical data indicates ALA improves insulin sensitivity and may be serve as an alternate treatment for diabetics.
3. Banaba: Traditionally, Banaba leaves—which are high in corosolic acid—were used as a natural cure for diabetes in the Philippines. Existing clinical data indicates it is very helpful for regulating blood sugar levels.
4. Bitter Melon Extract: An extremely bitter fruit common to tropical and subtropical climates, studies suggest bitter melon acts as an “insulin mimicker” lowering blood sugar levels and suppressing appetite.
5. Gymnema sylvestre: A herb commonly found in the tropical forests of India, both human and animal studies indicate it has potential in the treatment of both diabetes and obesity.
6. Glucomannan: Glucomannan is a simple, soluble fiber supplement, backed by some decent clinical research. It will help you feel fuller, longer. Research data indicates it also lowers LDL cholesterol, blood lipid levels and blood sugar levels.
7. l-Glutamine: New studies are examining the link between glutamine and glucose management in both the gut (where glutamine plays a huge role) and the kidneys and other tissues. Anecdotal evidence suggests it demonstrates a powerful craving suppressing effect.
8. Phaseolus vulgaris Extract: Although it’s not exactly a weight loss miracle, it can significantly reduce the rise in blood sugar that follows the consumption of starchy (but not sugary) foods.
9. Xtend-Life’s Diabet-Eze: A well-formulated, quality product from Xtend-Life, designed specifically to address blood sugar issues. It contains several of the ingredients featured in this chart, and several others. Click here to learn more.
With the exception of Diabet-Eze, these agents are readily available as inexpensive, single ingredient products from retailers such as iHerb.com, Bodybuilding.com and Swanson.