Overeating is something that many of us will have experienced at one time or another. This phenomenon can, of course, be down to plentiful supply of appetising food, but it can also have a physiological and/or biochemical root too. One cause of overeating is ‘hypoglycaemic’ or low blood sugar. When blood sugar levels drop to subnormal levels, it can compel the body to eat a lot of food (particularly carbohydrates) very quickly. This is one of the reasons I recommend to most individuals that they eat quite regularly, and that they keep the diet based on food that gives slow and sustained release of sugar into the bloodstream.
Another naturally-oriented strategy for maintaining blood sugar levels and therefore helping to keep hunger at bay is supplementation with certain nutrients. One of the mainstay nutrients in this respect is chromium. I’m not aware of science that has specifically tested the effects of chromium on low blood sugar, but this nutrient is known to have an influence on blood sugar control, and my experience in practice is that supplementation with chromium generally leads to less in the way of carb-cravings.
I was therefore interested to read of a recent study in which the effect of chromium was tested in a group of overweight women . This double-blind placebo-controlled study used 1000 mcg of chromium picolinate each day for a two month period. Compared to women taking placebo, those taking the chromium supplement saw significantly reduced cravings for fat, as well as general hunger levels. Food intake was significantly lower too.
What is somewhat surprising is the finding that, compared to placebo, chromium supplementation led to a reduced craving for fat but not carbohydrates. However, against this we do need to put other evidence which has found chromium can reduce carbohydrate cravings . Despite the disparity in these results, though, this latest study shows that chromium supplementation seems to offer potential for those wanting to put a natural brake on their appetite.
1. Anton SD, et al. Effects of chromium picolinate on food intake and satiety. Diabetes Technol Ther. 2008;10(5):405-12.
2. Docherty JP, et al. A double-blind, placebo-controlled, exploratory trial of chromium picolinate in atypical depression: effect on carbohydrate craving. J Psychiatr Pract. 2005 Sep;11(5):302-14.