Is there any natural supplement that will help me curb my afternoon sugar craving? I’ve read about chromium – is that a safe option?

with Dr Marc

Chromium is an essential trace mineral that assists in regulating insulin levels which in turn controls blood sugar. Dietary sources of chromium include brewers yeast, whole-grain breads and cereals, cheese, eggs, bananas, spinach, mushrooms, broccoli and meats. Chromium supplements are generally considered safe, but before using supplements it is worth considering exactly what you are craving and why. Sugar cravings can be cause by high glycaemic foods that cause a surge in blood sugar followed by a dramatic drop. They can also be caused by medication, hormonal changes and boredom. It is also common to mistake thirst for cravings. You may like to try keeping a water bottle handy and making sure you keep it filled and empty it a couple of times each day.

If you are indeed craving sugar you need to ensure that your diet contains sufficient protein, fibre and complex carbohydrates. Snacking on low GI foods (GI below 35) such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and wholegrain cereals allow the slow release of sugar throughout the day and help avoid the highs and lows in blood sugar associated with consuming refined sugars. Dark chocolate containing at least 70% cocoa is also a good option as it has a glycaemic index of only 23 and increases insulin sensitivity as well as elevating mood. Including cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf, green tea and ginseng in your diet may also assist in stabilising blood sugar. If your cravings persist after implementing the above dietary measures you could consider chromium supplements containing around 200 micrograms per day although long term use should be under the supervision of a health practitioner.