Shortcut to stop sugar and starch cravings

Do you frequently crave sweet or carbohydrate-rich foods?
Do you think you may have a sugar addiction?
Can’t you live without cookies, cakes, pastries, desserts, candy, chocolate, ice cream?
Do you feel irritable if you can’t have your fix of corn syrup, honey, maple syrup?
Do you binge on bread, cereals, potatoes?
Once you have a piece of fruit, you can’t stop having more?
Do you become anxious, shaky or edgy if you can’t have your sweet thing right there?

Well. The reality is that you are subject to some serious chemical imbalances going on in your body… and most specifically: in your brain!

But what if I told you that you could put a stop to this… effortlessly? What if I told you there is one key nutrient that can do the bran’s repair job and free you from these cravings… almost instantly?

Correcting your brain chemistry

First of all, there is something that any health diva needs to understand. Vegetarianism, a high-carb diet, chronic low-calorie dieting, juicing, fasting, lack of sleep and even extreme exercise can all deplete your brain chemistry.

When your brain is severely depleted from fundamental molecules to keep it functioning normally, the most powerful biochemical messages will command you to immediately eat refined carbs, starches or sweet foods to quickly refuel your starved brain. We are talking about a hardwired physical dynamic that makes it impossible to stop your compulsion. This is the point when you go into an inevitable crisis mode unless you have that one carb or sweet thing you can’t stop thinking about. Your craving is so strong that you start feeling edgy and shaky if food is being denied to you - often by yourself! But here’s the great news, my dear health divas: there is an instant cure... which doesn’t involve your willpower.

Sweet addiction

In 2007, a research study from the University of Bordeaux revealed findings that shocked nutritional experts around the world: sugars are FOUR times more addictive than cocaine. An increasing number of research reports continue to confirm the hard-drug nature of sugar.

Refined carbs also highjack all the brain receptors that are meant to regulate appetite. Wheat and starches are as dangerous as sugar in its addictiveness. Gluten has a heroin-like effect on brain: the endorphin centres get all lit up. But you can easily turn off your need for dense carbs. No willpower, no deep breath, no ignoring the pastries isle required.

Glutamine: Your Carb-Freedom Diva

Addictive cravings are generated by a defective brain. There are areas of the brain that are supposed to regulate our appetites and moods. If your brain is functioning well and it is loaded with the molecules it needs, you will always be pretty indifferent to substances that other people can’t live without – including sugar! There are people that are around dense carbs all the time but aren’t interested in them. Would you like to be like them? Once you repair your brain biochemistry, you can be that person too!

Your brain can READILY use two fuels only:

i. Glucose. Your must-eat sweet things or starches will make blood sugar instantly and hit your brain fairly quickly. This high will be short lived and your insatiable brain will soon start craving more of it. Powerful substances like sugar temporarily solve your craving but then symptoms come back faster and more powerfully.

ii. Glutamine. This is an amino acid (or protein fragment) that will give your brain an equivalent nutrient that doesn’t have all the adverse effects of sugar. Glutamine is made by your body and also comes as a supplement that every diva wanting to put a top to carb cravings should buy – either online or in a health store. 

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But how does Glutamine work exactly?

Glutamine is a natural food substance and the most abundant amino acid in your body. But when it comes to repairing the biochemistry of your ravenous brain, your will need the amino supplement to stave off sugars and starches. Even more so if you can’t live normally as a result of your mood changes or obsessive thoughts when you can’t have them or your meal is delayed.

This utterly divine amino acid can reach your voracious brain within minutes and put a stop to the even the most powerful sweet and starch cravings. The key resides in that your brain is fueled by Glutamine when glucose levels drop too low. Additionally, this must-have amino supplement will grace you with even more health benefits:
  • Glutamine produces a feeling of wellbeing and self-control.
  • Glutamine is important for neutralizing toxins in the body and improves cellular antioxidant status.
  • Glutamine increases blood levels of growth hormone which promotes muscle growth and the preferential use of body fat stores for energy.
  • Glutamine is the primary fuel for the entire immune system.
  • Glutamine helps counteract lactic acid build-up that leads to fatigue and soreness.
  • Glutamine spares and replenishes muscle glycogen levels.
  • Glutamine helps stabilise blood sugar and insulin levels.
  • Glutamine maintains gut lining structure and health.
  • Glutamine helps maintain acid/alkaline balance in the body.
  • Glutamine helps protect the lungs from toxic insult.
  • Glutamine aids in healing wounds.
  • .... and the list continues!

Is it safe?

Glutamine as a supplement is a “free form” amino acid instantly bioavailable, which means it is pre-digested, unlike protein powders which are harder to absorb. Hundreds of research studies, including Harvard and MIT, confirmed the effectiveness of using targeted amino acids to increase the key neurotransmitters in the brain, helping eliminate depression, anxiety, cravings for food and even alcohol and drugs.

L-glutamine was first synthetized by a biochemist to eliminate alcoholics’ cravings for alcohol. And since then it has been used in addiction rehab centres around the world on millions of patients. The fantastic news is that it has the exact same miraculous effect on addictions for sweets and starches. Amino therapy is a standard protocol for eating disorder treatments in most specialised centres today, including Overeaters Anonymous.

Liquid fasting and L-Glutamine:

In a 1997 study carried out by researcher Dr. Blum, 247 individuals were monitored for two years after completing a medically monitored liquid fast. At the end of the two years, the group taking L-Glutamine, often together with DLPA, GABA or 5HTP, showed a 70% decrease in cravings for females and a 63% decrease for males, a 66% decrease in binge eating for females and a 41% for males, and a weight regain of only 14.7% of the weight they had lost during fasting, whilst the control group regained most of their lost weight.

Our recent Health Divas article on Fasting does NOT include L-glutamine on your fasting days for a good reason. The unique biochemistry during fasting will self-regulate your appetite centres in the brain. Use L-glutamine on the non-fasting days only to restore your depleted brain and minimise your post-fasting cravings which usually come back soon after you have reintroduced food.

Similarly, if you are on a very low-calorie diet or have just finished one, such as our "Can an 800-calorie a day diet help you slim down quickly?", L-Glutamine supplementation is required to a) keep you sane and b) support your weight loss goals.

How and when should I take it?

You can alleviate your carbs (or alcohol) cravings in just a day by taking two 500 milligram L-glutamine capsules three times a day between meals – for example, mid-morning, mid-afternoon, at bedtime. The best option that we have tried and tested is the Solgar Vegetable Capsules. The effects of a capsule on an empty stomach can be felt within 10 to 15 minutes in most cases. Avoid taking your L-glutamine with (or after) a meal as this will diffuse its action. Instead, you could have it before a meal, but wait for at least 20 minutes before ingesting any food. As L-glutamine stabilises your brain’s blood sugar level, your mood will stabilize as well. It will make you feel stable, calm and balanced.

Some people do better on the lowest dose of one capsule of 500 mg three to four times a day (e.g. on rising, midmorning, mid-afternoon, at bedtime). Others may need to gradually increase their dose until they shut off all sugar cravings. The highest possible dose, for instance that given to alcoholics or serious binge eaters, is one to three capsules of 500 mg taken four times a day.

Red-code emergency?

For fast relief of cravings, open a capsule of L-glutamine (500 milligrams or more) under your tongue or dissolve it in your mouth. The brain will receive this nutrient in three minutes and the signal turns off. Always have a capsule ready in your pocket or purse! The rapid absorption under your tongue means that you can apply this emergency technique after a meal if you want to skip dessert and stay sane!

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Do I need to take L-Glutamine forever?

The good news is that you don’t, provided you follow a high-protein (ideally animal protein) sugar-free diet to keep your brain chemistry balanced. You may achieve this within a couple of weeks to six months, and in most extreme cases probably a whole year.

Your protein/carb rule: Whenever you eat carbs (any carbs, including green vegetables), ALWAYS have some protein to shut off your appetite centres and to prevent your insulin levels from skyrocketing leading to a subsequent sugar low. High insulin is the worst anti-diva: it makes you fat. The rule to keep your insulin and blood sugar stable is to always follow a religious “0.5 : 1” ratio: half a gram of protein for every gram of carbs you consume.

In my experience, vegan and vegetarians are the greatest sufferers of sugar addictions. Many of them binge on fruits, dry fruit, cereal, or whole jars of honey. The lack of consumption of animal protein, especially red meat, can cause the greatest brain imbalances leading to frequent binges and dense carb addictions.

If you fill in the profile of a true sugar addict, I recommend you also start taking other two star supplements:

CHROMIUM. A fantastic blood sugar stabiliser, which regular supplementation will also help stop your sugar cravings and other low blood sugar symptoms. Chromium also helps build muscle, promotes the burning of unneeded body fat, and aids with the normalisation of your cholesterol levels. Take the chelated form or Chromium Picolinate, 200 mcg one to four times a day, ideally between meals. Always start with the smaller dose, probably your body works best with it. Monitor how you feel and increase it gradually until you have no low blood sugar symptoms.

ZINC. Without enough zinc, the body can register only extreme sweetness, saltiness or spiciness as having any taste - healthy foods become unappetizing. Rehab centres for overeaters and people with eating disorders often supplement zinc and their patients normally report that sweets are “too sweet”, junk foods begin to be repellent and vegetables and “boring foods” taste much better. Regular dieting, sugar use, fasting and vegetarianism significantly reduce the supply of zinc. Fortunately these deficiencies are easily addressed with supplements and zinc-rich foods. Do you want to know if you are zinc deficient? You can buy a Lamberts Zincatest online and follow its instructions. If the test result is “Tasteless like water”, you have very low levels of zinc. Take 25 mg to 100 mg of Zinc Gluconate once or twice daily, always with or after a meal to avoid stomach pain. Adjust your dosage gradually until the test result is either “Definite taste” or “Strong unpleasant taste”.

You can adjust your anti-sugar supplement plan table to suit your particular case:

If you suspect that carb-craving is not your only problem and that you may suffer from additional biochemistry imbalances, you can take this quick Symptoms Questionnaire. More about your brain’s repair job will come soon.

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For more on the subject, I have listed a series of articles that will help you with your carbs-detox!

Is Sugar More Addictive Than Hard Drugs?

Can you enjoy delicious Holiday treats but not gain any weight?

Good carbs, bad carbs.

Is It Really Wise To Listen To Your Body?

Are You Destined To Be Overweight Forever?

How Can I Become Slim, Once And For All?

What Artificial Sweeteners Should I Buy?

To stop food addiction, start eating the same foods daily. Weight loss guaranteed!

Can cold exposure help you slim down?

Two Foods You Should Never, Ever Eat After Exercise

How Exercise Influences Hunger and Weight Loss

Why Does Breakfast Make Me Hungry?

Is Juicing Bad For You?

We welcome you to join our new Health Divas Forum where you can post your comments and questions, find support from people going through the same issues or blog about your carb-detox progress.

Happy recovery!

Health Divas

Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and it is not intended to substitute a doctor’s or any other form of medical or professional advice. If you are pregnant, have diabetes, or any other medical condition, the methods and recommendations contained in this article should not be practiced. Any person following a dietary regime similar to the one proposed in this article would do it at his / her own risk and responsibility.

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  1. Hi Health Divas - Is it safe to give my 9 year old Lglutamine? We are really concerned about his behavior when he can't have his daily sweets. He would rant, scream, cry, beg, kick and do anything he can to get his candy, his milkshake, his Coke, his ice cream. And his behaviour can go on for hours, getting worse. When we concede and he has his sugar hit, he becomes the sweetest kid in the world. My biggest worry is that he is asking for candy more often - morning, afternoon, evening. Is this a safe way to help with this situation? I am worried he will turn into more powerful substances as he grows up. Thanks for this great article, and I look forward to your reply.

  2. Dear Sandy - it is perfectly safe to give children L-glutamine, always in smaller doses. Even the smallest dose would work instantly with children. Nutritional therapist Julia Ross has treated thousands of patients with food / sugar addition including children. See believes they are the easiest to treat, and that in most cases they should be free from cravings 2 weeks after being on L-glutamine. Good luck with your little one!

  3. I don't know about the vegetarians/vegans more prone to carb & sugar addiction..I was a vegan/veggie..and was also a heavy meat I am back to eating meat for many years now..and I still have a sugar and carb addiction, more so now than when I was vegan. I am now 170 lbs comparing to 105 on vegan diet. I keep gaining weight montly 1-2 lbs. one day I eat 3 eggs, hot dogs, chicken, beef, burgers, bread, brown rice, cakes, cookies..etc..It's crazy. Now I have to slowly wean myself back to being vegan. I think I probably eat over 100 grms of protein most days..carbs, sugar and high fat cannot even count.

  4. Hi Dear Anonymous Friend,

    Thanks for sharing your problem with us. Your are not alone, Meat Eaters can also develop a carb addiction! The key is to balance protein and carbs in the right ratio to prevent the insulin roller-coaster that will leave you hungrier and tired. Sugars and starches promote overeating and insulin resistance/metabolic syndrome. Say you have a bagel, your blood sugar rises almost instantly, insulin is excreted to store the sugar (and prevent the damage it can cause in our body when circulating freely), the sugar from your bagel is no longer in your blood, but insulin is still there, now lowering your blood sugar BELOW standard levels, leaving you hypoglycemic - so now you need sugar again, your appetite centers start flashing alarmingly... you must eat again!

    It is very disruptive to live life this way... hungry all the time, mood swings, weight gain. And I can see from your posting that you want to take control again. First, vegan or not, you must re-balance your hormones and appetite signalling, which at the moment are all over the place.

    The best way to do this is to SEVERELY limit your carb intake for 3 consecutive days. That's enough time to re-balance your blood sugar and insulin. Try this:
    - For 3 days remove all grains (bread, cereals), all starches (rice of any kind), starchy veggies (potatoes, butternut squash, pulses, avocado), fructose (fruits, honey, bell peppers) and of course sugars, candy, sweets, cakes, cookies, ice cream.
    - The only veggies you are allowed to eat are starch-free veggies, e.g. spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, cabbage. For satiety, have A MINIMUM OF 1 kg or 2 lbs of starch-free veggies a day. Before cooking them, spice them up with your favorite herbs and spices - shop for Turmeric, Garlic Powder, Rosemary, Cumin, Cayenne Pepper, these are the most fantastic carb detoxing potions.
    - Use coconut oil in your stir fries or salads(a satiety and fat loss promoter that athletes use daily)
    - You can have some protein if you want to - it promotes satiety. Mushrooms, eggs, seeds are ideal for your 3-day detox.

    Do some groceries shopping for your 3-day detox and keep the naughty foods out of sight (or donate them).

    It won't be easy. You will experience the same withdrawal symptoms of an addict, that's where the L-glutamin, Chromium and zinc can help you. But once these 3 days of hell are over, you will be free from the insulin roller-coaster and can take control of your eating, with or without meat.

    If you need support in this journey to health, feel free to post your questions or blog about your experience in our brand new Health Divas Fasting Forum:

    Say in touch and tell us about your progress!

  5. These are great tips. I also found that eating more fruits can curb sugar cravings.

  6. Hi Rachel!! The best fruit to curb sugar cravings is oranges. Even the smell of an orange can trigger a serotonin response: feel good/satiety hormone :-)


  7. Sugar and sweet foods can cause your blood glucose level to rise outside the normal range. Sugary foods can also be high in calories and cause weight gain. It is better to avoid sweet foods such as cakes, pastries or candies.

  8. Awesome article and very well written! I switched to a low carb diet and the first time around was a breeze. Now that I'm trying again, my body is holding out for bread and chocolate lava cakes :) even though I'm eating healthy foods like cobb salads with fat. 2 capsules of l-glutamine beforehand helps me feel normal and my blood sugar balances out.