We just don’t have a sweet tooth,
Damn, we got a sweet belly?
Sugar and carb cravings sabotage any well-meaning promises to eat better on the daily!
I know even myself, a Certified Nutritional Practitioner can fall prey to carb cravings. Carbohydrate cravings aren’t always a behavioral problem or lack of will power, but instead have genuine, biological causes that can be helped with various strategies and natural high quality supplements.
What drives the sugar cravings??
1. Candida overgrowth can cause extreme cravings for sugar and simple carbohydrates. Candida is a type of yeast that is naturally present in everyone’s digestive tract; however if your immune system is weak and your digestion is poor, Candida levels can get out of control. Grapefruit Seed Extract, Caprylic Acid, Undecylenic Acid, Berberine, Garlic, Horopito, Saccharomyces boulardii, Clove oil, and Coconut Oil are some natural ways to help kill Candida overgrowth.
2. Altered gut flora, new studies show that certain gut bacteria, require different substrates for different strains, to grow and reproduce. for example, Bacteroidetes grow with fats as a substrate while Prevotella grows best on a carbohydrate source. To help, substitute sugar with Manuka honey as it provides antimicrobial benefits to the gut, which help to promote the growth of bacteria that are good for your gut health while reducing cravings. High quality probiotic supplements also will help with sugar cravings, aim for 10000. Several strains of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus have been shown to improve anxiety- and depression-like behavior, which also tend to alter eating behaviour.
3. Insulin resistance - Supplementing with a high-quality multi-vitamin is also beneficial toward reducing your sugar cravings and balancing blood sugar levels through improved insulin sensitivity. A daily vitamin ensures you meet recommended levels of minerals like zinc, chromium and magnesium — all of which are involved in maintaining healthy blood sugar and insulin levels. Myoinositol and D-chiro Inositol have been shown to reduce insulin increase. Researchers at the Linus Pauling Institute have identified a compound from Hops that significantly improve markers of metabolic syndrome and reduced weight gain, Gymnema tincture - Gymnema helps our cells take in sugar more effectively (hence not needing more), and improves sugar metabolism. Have a few drops on your tongue before you eat and help your sugar cravings lessen - it literally blocks the sugar receptors on your tastebuds. Cinnamon is also beneficial for help maintaining blood sugar. Eating Fibre, Protein and Quality Fats also help to regulate blood sugar.
4. Hormonal Imbalances; For women who feel worse around their menstrual cycle, try taking vitamin B6 (200mg) or P5P, its more bioavailable form. This helps ease the deficiency of the "feel good" hormone prostaglandin E1 (when this hormone is low, irritability and sugar cravings can result). If mood swings accompany the sugar cravings, it could be from excess sugar thats blocking your ability to turn a substance called GLA (gamma linoleic acid) into the DGLA (dihomo-gamma-linoleic acid) needed to produce prostaglandins that improve mood. Eveing Primrose Oil provides GLA, as does Borage Oil. Chastetree also helps PMS.
For those whose sugar cravings increase when they enter perimenopause in their 40s, estrogen and progesterone deficiency may be driving sugar cravings.These supplements are helpful, B complex, Vitamin D3, and Omega3’s, Magnesium, Fiber, Liver Detox supplements and don’t forget a great quality Probiotic. Magnesium takes a big dip in menopause and we need magnesium for mood, relaxation and sleep. Herbals that help perimenopause are, Maca; Black Cohosh; Dong Quai; and Angelica Root,
For men, testosterone deficiency associated with andropause can also cause sugar cravings. D-Aspartic Acid. D-Aspartic acid is a natural amino acid that can boost low testosterone levels. Vitamin D, Tribulus Terrestris, Fenugreek, Ginger, DHEA, Zinc, Ashwagandha. Naural Bioidentical Hormones may also be helpful.
5. Depression or a bad mood can mentally and physically affect cravings too. Sugar consumption increases serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, appetite, memory, and social behavior. Because sugar boosts serotonin, you feel happier, temporarily, so your brain craves this. Oh serotonin also is made in your gut, so you need great gut health to produce your own serotonin. St. John’s wort, SAMe, 5-HTP, Omega-3, Vitamin Bs, Vitamin D, Saffron, Kava Kava are used to help combat depression. This article is not meant at medical advice, please consult a licenced Natural Health Practioner for guidance.
6. Stress If you have cravings and are under stress, feel anxious much of the time, or you have insomnia, it can be related to your adrenal function, specifically a type of imbalance that can lead to exhaustion. You may notice that you need caffeine to wake up, and you crave sweets, salty foods, and more caffeine during the day — then carbohydrates or alcohol at night. If your adrenals are totally shot, these well meaning strategies don’t even cut it because you still feel run down, lethargic and no amount of sugar peps you back up. This only leads to a vicious cycle. There are many adrenal support supplements that help your adrenals combat stress. Aswaghanda, Rholdiol, Holy Basil Leaf, Licorice root, Curcumin, and Phosphatidylserine (PS) are excellent for supporting adrenals. Stress also causes the hormone cortisol to flood your body, releasing glucose from your liver, which in turn raises your blood sugar. The same list that helps adrenals also helps to reduce cortisol levels with the addition of Cordyceps, and Bacopa.
7. Poor quality sleep , When we sleep poorly or go for long periods of time without sleep, our bodies make more ghrelin. Ghrelin is a hormone that controls our cravings for carbohydrates and simple sugars. In one study, participants went from getting eight hours of sleep to five hours of sleep. This reduction led to a 15% higher level of ghrelin in their bodies. As Ghrelin increases so does sugar cravings. Leptin is produced by our fat cells. It influences our satiety or feeling of fullness. When we are inadequately rested, we tend to produce less leptin, making us want to eat more. Again, when we are tired, we resort to more quick energy foods, simple carbs to keep ourselves awake. In the same study mentioned above, the sleep-deprived subjects demonstrated a 15% lower level of leptin, leading them to eat more. To help eas you back to more restful sleep, there is Melatonin, Hops, Passion Flower, Valarian, 5HTP, Tryptophan, L-Theanine, and Glycine.
8. Mineral deficiencies might be another reason for your cravings. An iron deficiency will zap your energy, leaving you feeling fatigued, weak, and spurring cravings to perk you up. Calcium, zinc, chromium, and magnesium imbalances can manifest themselves as sugar cravings too. so here again, a high quality vitamin helps supply you with the nutrients you cannot get from food alone.
Other alternatives for natural sweeteners include maple syrup, coconut sugar, monk fruit and xylitol, (which also provides dental benefits)
Eating well with whole foods to supply necessary nutrients is a part of the answer that helps combat food cravings. Of course avoiding the overly processed junk foods is also a must. Getting proper sleep, adequate exercise also factor in to help curb sugar cravings. Many of the supplements mentioned above also come in formulas specific to the issue. Keep in mind this is not an exhaustive list, but it is a great start for you to consider adding these supplements if you have never tried any before. The right quality nutrients and supplements will help maintain your body and stop your sweet belly from growing out of control! In fact all these great tips could help shrink your sweet belly!