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Can Certain Vitamins Stop Sweet Cravings?

author image Andrea Cespedes
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.
Can Certain Vitamins Stop Sweet Cravings?
You may need time to withdraw from a daily doughnut habit. Photo Credit Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

Sugar cravings can be the downfall of the most diligent dieter. A clean-eating day filled with lean proteins, vegetables and healthy fats can easily be negated by an evening spent bingeing on ice cream and brownies. Robert Lustig, doctor and expert on childhood obesity at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, says sugar accesses some of the same stimulating neural pathways as cocaine does. If you battle sugar cravings regularly, getting an adequate amount of the B complex of vitamins may help them subside slightly. Long-term abstinence from sugar, though, is one of the only ways to squelch the desire for good.

Sugar Cravings

When you consume sugar, your body chemistry changes. A hormone called leptin that helps you feel full loses its complete effect, giving you a bigger appetite so you never quite feel satisfied -- especially when it comes to high-sugar foods. Sugar also creates a taste sensation that's incredibly pleasurable to most people. Once you have a little, you want more. This arises from the simple instinct to find calorie-dense foods for survival -- but in today's society, there's no real shortage of food and this instinct only causes us to pile on the pounds. Sugar can also stimulate the release of serotonin -- the "happy hormone" -- in the brain, instantly boosting your mood and energy.

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Biotin for Carb Use

Sugar is a carbohydrate, grouped with other less-sweet carbs such as bread and pasta. Biotin, also known as vitamin B-7, can increase the satisfaction you get from the carbs you do eat and reduce your desire to overconsume them. Biotin helps your body convert carbs into the usable energy source of glucose. Getting enough biotin -- which is easily depleted by antibiotic use, stress and digestive ailments -- could help you use the carbs you do eat more efficiently and thus deter your body from wanting more. Eat more cooked eggs, sardines, nuts, beans and cauliflower to load up on this important nutrient.

Riboflavin for Fat Metabolism

Vitamin B-2, or riboflavin, helps your body properly digest fat so it can provide you with energy. If your body doesn't sense it's getting enough calories for energy, it'll put you into sugar-craving overdrive in an attempt to correct this perceived imbalance. Getting adequate amounts of riboflavin can help your body properly metabolize the fat you do consume so you feel satisfied and energized. Find it in abundance in bananas, dairy, meat, eggs and fish.

Not Just Vitamins

Getting an adequate amount of B vitamins may help curb your sugar cravings, but it won't solve them completely. You'll need to address stress issues, poor dietary habits and emotional problems that may cause you to turn to sweets, as well. Expect to go through a bit of a withdrawal when combating the cravings; the addictive qualities of sugar are real.

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