Is sugar addiction a real thing? Some nutritional and medical experts would say yes, and even for someone who doesn’t necessarily show symptoms of sugar addiction, they may struggle with sugar cravings. Learn more about sugar addiction, sugar cravings, and more specifically, how to stop sugar cravings with nutritional supplements.
Sugar Addiction and Learning How to Stop Sugar Cravings with Supplements and Herbs
If you’re wondering how to stop sugar cravings with nutritional supplements, you may also be asking is sugar addiction real? Sugar is a substance that has effects on the brain and body, and in many ways, it affects us in the same way that many drugs do.
Our bodies do require some sugar for proper functioning—we use glucose, which is sugar, for energy. Without glucose, our brains can’t perform and function properly.
Many people are surprised to learn that when they eat sugar, their brain releases opioids and dopamine, as is the case with some of the most addictive drugs in the world, including heroin.
Dopamine and Sugar Addiction
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, and it’s an essential part of our reward circuit in our brain. The reward circuit is why we become addicted to certain substances.
For example, consider opioids. Opioids are drugs that include prescription painkillers and heroin. When someone uses opioids, it affects opioid receptors in the brain. These drugs relieve pain by changing the emotional response we have to pain, and by interrupting the sending of pain signals from the body to the brain. At the same time, opioids also trigger dopamine to be released at artificially high levels into the brain.
That dopamine response elicits the high some people experience when using opioids. The dopamine response also triggers the reward pathways in the brain. When our reward pathways are activated, our brain wants us to keep seeking out whatever triggered the rewarding or pleasurable feeling. In the case of opioids, it’s the drug.
How Does Sugar Addiction Develop?
In the case of sugar, it’s the sugar itself that triggers a dopamine response and a reward cycle. You feel pleasure, and your brain compels you to keep trying to seek out that pleasure. At the same time, you don’t necessarily feel the same intensity of pleasure every time you do a drug or eat sugar. Your brain becomes conditioned to it, and you need more and more to get the same results. Just as someone might develop a tolerance for drugs and then compulsively use them because of their brain response, the same thing can happen with sugar.
With an addiction, even when there are negative side effects or results, the brain’s response to certain substances still leads to compulsive behavior. In the case of sugar, it can cause weight gain, mood changes, headaches, hormonal imbalances and it can raise the risk of many deadly diseases, yet if you have a sugar addiction, you may find that you continue to crave it compulsively.
The more you eat sugar, the more you’re reinforcing certain pathways in the brain that lead you to develop a tolerance to it. Some researchers believe the pleasurable reward response sugar creates in the brain of some people is more intense than with the use of cocaine.
The Challenge of Breaking Sugar Addiction
Sugar addiction may be even harder to break than certain substances because of the specific ways it affects our stress hormones. It’s also socially acceptable to eat sugar, and it tends to surround us everywhere we go, making it even more challenging to deal with than a lot of drugs.
Sugar Addiction in Sobriety
People who are sober and recovering from alcohol abuse may be particularly prone to sugar addiction and looking for ways how to stop sugar cravings with nutritional supplements. So, why is that?
The same biochemical elements in the brain and body that lead to addiction to certain substances, as well as binging behaviors, can predispose someone to have a sugar addiction. Addiction is often linked to imbalances in the brain, and then the brain might seek out something like sugar as a way to try and normalize those imbalances.
Foods can have similar effects to drinking alcohol, and since sugar can raise serotonin levels and dopamine, if you stop drinking your brain may seek out ways to feel good in other ways.
This is sometimes known as addiction transfer. Someone might stop one compulsion or addictive behavior, but then they may replace it with another because they haven’t fully worked through what’s causing their binging behaviors in the first place.
Blood Sugar Changes in Sobriety
Another reason someone who is sober and especially newly sober might crave sugar is that they could experience an imbalance in their blood sugar levels. They might crave sugar as a way to balance their blood sugar.
There is also some research indicating that people who tend to have a sweet tooth may also be more likely to have a personal or family history of alcohol abuse or alcoholism.
So once you have a better understanding of the links between sugar and addiction, the question is how you can help stop your sugar cravings in a healthy way?
Learning How to Stop Sugar Cravings with Nutritional Supplements
When you’re working on controlling sugar cravings and breaking a sugar addiction, there are lifestyle and behavioral changes you can make, but there are also nutritional supplements that can help as well.
Continue reading to learn more about how to stop sugar cravings with nutritional supplements. We’ve included not only how to stop sugar cravings with nutritional supplements, but some of the best supplements and top-reviewed versions of each from Amazon.
B Vitamins for Sugar Cravings
B vitamins are important for helping stop sugar cravings, but they have benefits beyond that as well.
- B vitamins help the metabolic and nervous systems function optimally.
- When we have enough B vitamins, then it can help our bodies most effectively use the carbohydrates we consume, and B vitamins help create steady, sustainable energy supplies from carbs so that they’re not stored as
- B vitamins include thiamin, niacin, folic acid, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, biotin, and pantothenic acid.
If you are using the healthy carbs you’re eating for optimal energy then your body is less likely to urge you to crave excess sugar.
B vitamins are also important for healthy stress management, which can then reduce the risk of consuming sugar to cope with emotions.
If you’re a recovering alcoholic, B vitamins may be even more important for you to supplement with. Alcohol abuse and dependence are the major cases of B vitamin deficiency among people in the U.S. Alcoholism has a significant impact on the levels of B vitamins in your body.
For someone currently in the phrase of detoxing from alcohol, a vitamin B complex can help manage symptoms, and improve cognition and memory. Vitamin B-5 can help eliminate alcohol from the body and boost adrenal function.
What’s the Best B-Vitamin Complex?
There are a lot of options on the market that are B complex vitamins. One of the top-rated on Amazon is Nature Made’s Super B Energy Complex. The following are some important points to know about the Nature Made B-Complex:
- Includes eight individual B vitamins
- This particular B vitamin complex is an easy-to-swallow soft gel
- According to some user reviews, specific benefits include increased energy levels and reduced migraines
- This product is around $9.49 on Amazon currently and features Prime shipping
Glutamine for Sugar Cravings
If you’re researching how to stop sugar cravings with nutritional supplements, don’t overlook glutamine. Glutamine, also known as L-glutamine, is an amino acid that more and more people are starting to rely on to stop sugar cravings.
Glutamine is an amino acid, and amino acids are described as building blocks for proteins.
One idea as to why glutamine for sugar cravings might be helpful is because some people have diets that leave them deficient in certain amino acids. This can then lead to imbalances of certain neurotransmitters that play a role in sugar addiction.
For someone with sugar addiction or sugar cravings, taking 500 mg doses of L-glutamine several times a day may help curb sugar cravings.
Some people also use L-glutamine to improve their gut health and help manage autoimmune disorders. Another benefit of L-glutamine is as a workout supplement. Some evidence suggests it can help shorten recovery times after workouts and can improve overall athletic performance.
What’s the Best Glutamine Supplement?
If you are looking for glutamine, one of the top-rated glutamine supplements on Amazon is from Optimum Nutrition. The following are some things to know about Optimum Nutrition’s L-Glutamine Muscle Recovery Powder:
- 5g of pure L-glutamine per serving
- According to reviews of the product, along with helping with workouts and fitness, this L-glutamine product helps with leaky gut and other intestinal issues
- Other specific reviews of the product say that it helps them control their intense sugar cravings and helps them stay on track with their diet goals
- The price is around $40 and Prime shipping is available
Coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10 is an antioxidant naturally produced by the body, but it’s something many people opt to take in supplement form as well. CoQ10 helps the body break down damaging free radicals.
CoQ10 plays an essential role in the mitochondria of our body’s as well. These are the cells that produce energy, and when you supplement with CoQ10, it can help your body more effectively store and use energy.
When you supplement with CoQ10, it can help your body use carbohydrates in a way that improves your energy levels. This then can reduce or prevent blood sugar crashes, and blood sugar crashes are one of the key culprits leading to sugar cravings.
What’s the Best CoQ10 Supplement?
Our pick for the best CoQ10 supplement available on Amazon is called Qunol Mega Ubiquinol CoQ10. The following are some things to know about this supplement:
- Price is around $30.75 and Prime shipping is available
- 100 mg
- Water and fat-soluble formulation for optimal absorption
- Reviewers site many benefits including improving energy and improving joint pain along with helping combat sugar cravings
Resveratrol is something found in grapes and red wine, and in studies looking at mice, it has improved life expectancy. Resveratrol may also improve insulin sensitivity.
What this means in terms of sugar cravings is that supplementing with resveratrol can help the body more effectively use glucose for energy.
What’s the Best Resveratrol Supplement?
Our selection for the best resveratrol product on Amazon is from aSquared Nutrition. Their product is 1000 mg per serving, maximum strength 100 percent pure resveratrol. The following are some details of this product:
- Cost is around $29.99 and Prime shipping is available
- Amazon’s choice for the best pure resveratrol supplement
- 180 capsules for a full 90-day supplement
- High potency formulation to help improve cardiovascular health and reduce sugar cravings
Gymnema Sylvestre is one of the lesser-known substances on this list of nutritional supplements that help with sugar cravings, but it’s an important one.
Gymnema Sylvestre is actually an herb, and it contains something called gymnemic acid. When gymnemic acid is placed on the tongue, it fills the sugar receptors in the taste buds. When that happens, it blocks your ability to taste the sweetness
There is some evidence suggesting Gymnema Sylvestre can also reduce the absorption of sugar molecules by the intestines, which reduces blood sugar levels. Because of these effects, this herb is often used by people who have diabetes.
One animal study showed that gymnemic acid decreased the levels of blood glucose in mice with diabetes by anywhere from 14 to 60 percent within 60 hours after they consumed it. A human study also showed that Gymnema was able to repair beta cells in the pancreas and in people with diabetes, up to 80 percent of their beta cells aren’t functional.
Some of the possible benefits of Gymnema for sugar cravings, weight loss, and overall health include:
- It may help reduce sugar cravings and also suppress appetite. Some evidence suggests Gymnema Sylvestre can help reduce the appeal of foods that are high in sugar and calories.
- In studies looking at rats, when given Gymnema Sylvestre extract, they ate less and had reduced body weight.
- It may improve the ratio of good-to-bad cholesterol.
What is the Best Gymnema Sylvestre?
Our selection for the top Gymnema Sylvestre product on Amazon is from NOW Foods. The following are details of the product:
- Customers who have reviewed the product and they say it has significantly helped them with sugar cravings and blood sugar spikes
- Reviewers say that even if they have sweets while using this, it tastes bland
- Cost is around $8.09 currently, and Prime shipping is available
Summing Up—Supplements for Sugar Cravings
Sugar addiction is real and affects the brain in a way that’s similar to addiction to drugs like heroin and cocaine. Speak with your doctor about your symptoms of sugar cravings and find out whether or not any of the above supplements or herbs could be beneficial for you as you work to overcome sugar cravings.
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Ben Greenfield Fitness. “12 Dietary Supplements That Can Massively Control Your Most Intense Carbohydrate Cravings.” Accessed March 9, 2019.
Yasin, Kareem and Schaefer, Anna. “Experts Agree: Sugar Might Be As Addictive As Cocaine.” Healthline. October 10, 2016. Accessed March 9, 2019.
Michaelis, Kristen. “How to Beat Sugar Cravings with Glutamine.” Food Renegade. Accessed March 9, 2019.
Adkins-Ali, Carrie. “Can Gymnema Sylvestre Stop Sugar Cravings?” University Health News Daily. November 17, 2017. Accessed March 9, 2019.
Lidicker, Gretchen. “CoQ10: Everything You Need to Know About This Powerful Antioxidant.” Mindbodygreen.com. Accessed March 9, 2019.