Excessive sugar consumption is a problem in the UK - with the average Brit consuming 126 grams of sugar, or 30 teaspoons, per day. This is way more than the recommended intake of 9 grams daily for men and 6 grams for women. Refined sugar is an anti-nutrient that takes more nutrients out of our bodies than it puts in, leaving us with empty calories. It can lower our immune systems, lead to weight gain, and cause insulin resistance. Dependence on sugar is usually driven by physical, mental and emotional factors - it can be used as a substitute when life isn’t going perfectly. Breaking a sugar habit isn't easy (L-glutamine may help) but it's important to uncover why you may have become dependent on it in the first place.
Have you ever wondered what causes sugar cravings?
Well, it's not always a lack of self-control. Physically, it can be linked to an imbalance in hormones such as thyroid, adrenals, or female hormones, or a deficiency of certain nutrients like zinc, calcium and B vitamins. Mentally and emotionally speaking, it can be seen as any other obsession: consumed sugar triggers the release of dopamine in the brain making the person feel good for a short time. But then when insulin is secreted to decrease sugar levels, it leads to feelings of low blood sugar and appetite cravings. This cycle can repeat itself if sugar is used as an emotional crutch; some medications may be responsible for sweet cravings too. Eating too little protein and healthy fats also plays a role since these macronutrients provide satiety that sugary foods do not. Finally, poor sleeping habits have been linked to increased activity in the subcortical areas of the amygdala which triggers cravings for unhealthy food types that are likely to cause weight gain.
What is L-Glutamine? This amino acid is a building block protein that helps regulate blood sugar, and is considered conditionally-essential. It's usually acquired through diet (meat, dairy, eggs, beans, tofu, and leafy greens), but for most people it's attainable through food alone. It is also used as a supplement to reduce cravings and support gut health.
Studies have found that L-Glutamine can rapidly satisfy cravings without affecting insulin sensitivity. This means it can help avoid reaching for less nutritious snacks like candy or cakes. It can also boost energy when the immune system or energy levels are weakened. And if you're increasing exercise (especially strength training), this supplement can reduce soreness and increase energy levels too.
Additionally, as stress is a common factor in modern society, L-Glutamine may help to improve cells' uptake of sugar.
To summarize, while there are no quick fixes for sugar cravings, L-Glutamine might be able to offer some help.