Craving sugar means your body needs certain minerals that are involved in the metabolism of glucose or the production of insulin. You can still avoid sugar by eating the foods that supply the minerals you need.
Certain trace minerals, such as zinc, magnesium, vanadium and chromium are important for your body and various metabolic processes. When your diet does not include foods that contain enough of these minerals, you will naturally experience a deficiency in them.
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This can be the result of frequent dieting, which can often lack these foods. In fact, when dieting, cravings for foods like sugar, which you are likely to be avoiding in the first place, can cause you to abandon the diet altogether and go back to eating such foods. You could then end up in a vicious circle of adopting diets and then abandoning them almost as fast. Sugar cravings causes could be caused by a mineral deficiency.
Craving sugar could be a sign that you need the mineral zinc, magnesium, vanadium or chromium.
Sugar Cravings and Zinc
Zinc can help speed up your recovery from the common cold and can be found in a variety of foods, including oatmeal, almonds, chickpeas, yogurt, lobster, pork and beef. No matter whether you're a vegan, vegetarian or eat meat, there are plenty of places you can get zinc. You can also get it in the form of a dietary supplement.
Men should take at least 11 milligrams of zinc per day, and women should take no less than 8 milligrams a day, according to the National Institutes of Health.
However, pregnant women should take at least 11 milligrams of zinc a day, which is the same as the recommended daily intake for men. Just make sure to keep your daily intake below 40 milligrams since zinc can be toxic when taken in higher amounts than that. Symptoms of zinc toxicity include abdominal cramps, headache, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea.
You should not take zinc if you're on penicillamine, the drug used to treat arthritis; diuretics; or antibiotics. If you are interested in taking zinc supplements to help you curb your sugar cravings, make sure you talk to your doctor first.
Sugar Cravings and Magnesium
Harvard Health points out that magnesium helps regulate blood sugar levels and is partially responsible for the levels of glucose in your body. It is also involved in the production of insulin, which is responsible for the regulation of blood sugar levels. Magnesium is involved in the regulation of dopamine levels in the body. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter involved in many important processes in the body.
You can get magnesium from various sources, including brown and white rice, spinach, oat bran, cereal, bread, soy milk, salmon, halibut, yogurt, avocados, bananas, potatoes, raisins, apples, carrots, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, peanuts, kidney beans, lima beans, black beans, broccoli, edamame, soybeans, chicken breast and beef. These are foods that curb sugar cravings.
The recommended daily intake of magnesium is between 400 milligrams and 420 milligrams for men and 310 and 320 milligrams for women, according to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements.
Eighteen-year-old men need 410 milligrams of magnesium and 18-year-old women need 360 milligrams. Eighteen-year-old women who are pregnant need 400 milligrams and women of the same age who are lactating need 360 milligrams. Men ages 19 to 30 years old need 400 milligrams and women of the same age range need 310 milligrams.
Women ages 19 to 30 who are pregnant need 350 milligrams and those who are lactating need 310 milligrams. Men ages 31 to 50 need 420 milligrams and women in this age range need 320 milligrams. Women in this age range who are pregnant need 360 milligrams and those who are lactating need 320 milligrams. Men over the age of 51 need 420 milligrams, while women over 51 need 320 milligrams.
You should not take magnesium if you're taking medication for osteoporosis, according to the Johns Hopkins Lupus Center. You should also not take it if you have kidney problems. If you're interested in taking magnesium supplements, make sure you talk to your doctor first before trying it.
Sugar Cravings and Vanadium
Vanadium may be responsible for normal bone growth, according to Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. If you have a vanadium deficiency, then there is a high chance that you will have sugar cravings, according to the Diabetes Library.
Vanadium can be found in artificially sweetened drinks, shellfish, mushrooms, grains, beer, wine, dill weed, parsley and black pepper, states Penn State Hershey.
When it comes to recommended daily intakes, there isn't a set amount for vanadium. The average person gets 0.01 milligrams daily, which is sufficient, according to the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Penn State Hershey advises against taking vanadium if you are on diabetes medication, have high cholesterol, have anemia or any other condition that has to do with your white blood cell count or have kidney issues. You're also generally not supposed to take vanadium if you are on any blood-thinning medication. Talk to your doctor before you take vanadium to combat your sugar cravings.
Sugar Cravings and Chromium
Most Americans have a diet that is low in chromium, though not deficient. Chromium is an important part of blood sugar regulation.
The GTF is a necessary aspect of allowing insulin to deliver glucose to your cells, so they can get the energy they need. Consequently, not having enough chromium in your diet can lead to intense sugar cravings.
You can get chromium naturally from broccoli, grape juice, English muffins, garlic, basil, orange juice, turkey breast, whole wheat bread, red wine, apples, bananas and green beans. When it comes to recommended daily intakes, men should take between 30 and 35 micrograms, whereas women should take between 20 and 25 micrograms, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Pregnant or lactating women, however, should have at least 30 or 45 micrograms of chromium, respectively, from their diet on a daily basis.
- Oregon State University Linus Pauling Institute: Micronutrient Information Center: "Micronutrient Inadequacies in the US Population: An Overview"
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: "Zinc"
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: "Magnesium"
- Royal Society of Chemistry: "Vanadium: Element Information, Properties and Uses"
- National Institutes of Health: "Chromium"
- Harvard Health: "Key Minerals to Help Control Blood Pressure"
- Johns Hopkins Lupus Center: "Osteoporosis Medications (Bisphosphonates)"
- Diabetes Library: "Why am I Craving Sugar All of a Sudden and Remedies"
- Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center: "Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Vanadium"