So with summer coming up it is getting more and more easy to saying yes to go down to the pub for a drink on a Friday night (or perhaps any night if the sun’s out!) and then that generally leads to poor food choices which in turn spikes blood sugar levels which can often cause even the next days food choices to also be poor.
So what can we do in order to prevent or reduce these sugar cravings?
Chromium has been about for years around blood sugar control. It is essential for carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism. Supplementation has been show to help stabilise blood sugar, therefore helping diabetes, control weight and appetite and improve mood and binge eating.
The typical western diet is much lower than the recommended daily requirements of between 50-200ug/per day (micrograms). It has been shown that a diet high in white bread, cakes, sweets and biscuits increase chromium loss because it is used in the processing of sugar. NOT what you need, if you’re trying to metabolise your food properly!
So what is chromiums role? Well it helps insulin to bind, increase the number of insulin receptors and also increases insulin effectiveness – effectively leading to improved glucose control!
Links to Depression? Well insulin, actually is required to drive serotonin and dopamine (feel good hormones) into the brain – which may give you an explanation as to how it can boost mood!
An excellent study was conducted on those suffered with ‘atypical’ depression. It’s a type of depression which is associated with excessive sleepiness, carb cravings and weight gain – and thought to account for up to 40% of depression cases. In a double blinded study, ten patients suffering with atypical depression were given 600mcg of chromium daily, and five others a placebo for eight weeks with dramatic results.  Seven of the ten taking chromium showed a big improvement, opposed to none on the placebo. 
Chromium for weight loss!
So, just to show you have effective chromium is for weight loss I shall tell you about a study. A double-blind placebo controlled study in 2008 randomly assigned 42 overweight adult women with carbohydrate cravings to receive chromium or placebo for 8 weeks. Chromium, as compared to placebo, reduced food intake, hunger levels and fat cravings as well as decreased body weight. 
A review of six studies involving different doses from 200 to 1000ug noted a modest effect on the body weight of over 1kg, compared to placebo, over 12 to 16 weeks. 
So, what to do next?
Blood sugar balancing can be difficult – once you have your food in a good place it does become easier but who doesn’t fancy something sweet every now and then? That ‘every now and then’ is fine – but when it becomes on a daily basis, that’s when something needs to be done to ensure bad habit’s do not form.
My favourite brand is Viridian! They had a chromium complex* (you would need to take 2-3 tablets a day for it to be effective, so 1 with each meal) or they also have a chromium and cinnamon complex** which, cinnamon is also known to have huge blood sugar control benefits! (One a day of these!)
Try it out and let me know how you get on 🙂
- J Davidson et al, Effectiveness of chromium in atypical depression: A placebo-controlled trial, Biological Psychiatry (2003), vol 53(3), pp 261-4.
- J Docherty et al, A double-blind, placebo-controlled, exploratory trial of chromium picolinate in atypical depression’, Journal of Psychiatric Practice (2005), vol 11(5), pp 302-314.
- Tian H, ‘Chromium picolinate supplementation for overweight or obese adults.’ Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Nov 29;(11):CD010063.
- Anton S et al. Effects of chromium picolinate on food intake and satiety. Diabetes Technol Ther, 2008 Oct, Vol 10(5): pp. 405-12