Chromium Picolinate is a mineral supplement that aids in blood sugar control and is commonly used to help control diabetes and boost weight loss. Only very small amounts are needed in the body, but as they are vital for health it is known as an essential trace element. In this post we will look more closely at chromium picolinate benefits to see if this supplement right for you and your needs.
Uses for chromium picolinate:-
Chromium can be used in the treatment of a whole host of diseases, including pre-diabetes, type 1 and 2 diabetes, depression and certain other mental illnesses, PCOS, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome and some eating disorders.
Here I will essentially focus on the main reason chromium picolinate is used as a supplement in the thriving health and fitness industry to boost weight loss and and increase energy levels, and also its role in anti aging.
So here’s the deal, who doesn’t have blood sugar dips and troughs every now and then, or even all the time like many people do? One of the culprits of this problem is the hormonal changes that occur during the female monthly cycle when you may start craving with abandon refined carbohydrates and sugary treats.
The good news is we really can’t help it ladies: these cravings are real and are down to the dips in serotonin which can happen during premenstrual hormone fluctuations. This has the side effect of making you crave carbohydrates, for the simple fact that they are the building blocks of that much needed serotonin.
Punishing yourself only makes matters worse!
For many, along with this feeling of lack of self control, comes a feeling of guilt that leaves you even more depressed. It can be a vicious cycle that is hard to break and can lead to sugar addiction, and then as if that wasn’t bad enough, the whole host of new problems that come along with that. But you can find ways to deal with this problem at its root cause, and this is where chromium picolinate may be really helpful in getting those sugar cravings under control.
It’s all about stable blood sugar!
The other solution to this (alongside the support of chromium picolinate supplementation) is to keep blood sugar levels stable throughout the day by eating low GI foods little and often. However, this can be a problem for most of us (not just hormonal females) because our modern diet is littered with refined carbohydrates and other unhealthy simple sugars; combine this with not enough fiber and nutrients from fruits, vegetables and wholegrains and it can all end in up in a blood sugar disaster!
That is why diet is crucial, and should always be your number one priority. An alkaline, highly plant based diet filled with lots of plant proteins, antioxidants, and detoxifying foods will work together to not only blast those damned sugar cravings into kingdom come, but also boost fat loss, and lower your risk of a myriad of other diseases, including obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
HIDDEN SUGARS IN FOOD
According to new statistics as of 2015 the average person consumes around 32 teaspoons of sugar a day, and these are mostly hidden in fast and processed foods. This is the main cause of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome – all of which in themselves will eventually make you sick with other problems leading off the back of them. Therefore controlling sugar intake is absolutely vital for long term health.
Lets face it, sugar is everywhere, and hidden in SO many foods – even unlikely savory foods can contain high amounts of sugar, and it has been called one of the most addictive substances on earth. The body was not designed to metabolise the huge amounts that we consume in our modern diet, in fact we can only safely metabolise around 7 teaspoons a day – any more and we are be storing up ill health.
All this is also dependent on other lifestyle factors of course, for instance, if you are a body builder or do lots of exercise then you are likely burning excess sugars off. Also, if you have high amounts of muscle mass on your body this will also help to mop up excess sugars from the bloodstream.
Sugar Addiction – A Plight of Modern Times:-
Most of us have some level of sugar addiction going on that we are more than likely unaware of. Even those who claim they are ‘not a sweet toothed person’, and never eat cakes and deserts, are probably in reality still consuming way over the recommended 7 teaspoons a day, often hidden in so called savory foods.
In fact, the average hamburger from a fast food joint could be loaded with over 2 TEASPOONS OF SUGAR; and other processed foods such as fruit juices, breads, processed meats, and most condiment sauces will all be packed with sugar too!
Hidden Sugars in your Cupboards:-
If you open up your kitchen cupboard and properly checked out ingredient lists, you would most likely find sugar hidden absolutely everywhere. And even more frustratingly, sugar is not always labelled as just ‘sugar’ as there are in fact around 50 different chemical names and types of sugar on the market, and many times they are totally unidentifiable. Stressful, yes, but if you eat a whole food, and low GI healthy diet, then you will be steering clear of all these sugars naturally.
SUBSTITUTING SUGAR WITH GOOD QUALITY ‘REAL’ FOOD:-
The solution to a diet too high in sugars, is to always buy your food in its most whole and close to nature form as possible. These include fruits, vegetables, wholegrain pastas, brown rice, granary breads, and wholegrain breakfast cereals (you may need to check sugar content with these), organic butters and plain yogurts (you can add healthier brown rice syrup, date or maple syrup; or fruit for sweetness but only in moderation). You can also eat pulses, lentils, good quality oils such as olive, coconut, flax, sunflower, and sesame oils, and unsalted nuts and seeds.
All of these contain only a minimum, if any added sugars, and will give you a full array of nutrients, protein, fiber and amino acids. For a full list of low GI, low sugar foods please read this low GI foods list and find out exactly what you need to put on your shopping list for your low sugar diet.
What happens to sugars in the body?
When you eat sugar, or other refined carbohydrates such as refined flours, they are broken down rapidly by the body and absorbed into the bloodstream thus causing a rapid and ‘fast’ blood sugar rise. This causes the brain to signal an insulin release from the pancreas to mop those sugars up, then transport them into the liver and muscles where they can be stored for energy, OR more often than not, stored as fat.
The problem with this scenario is all this extra energy, in most cases isn’t actually used, and so those excess sugars get stored as fat – specifically dangerous belly fat. This was a good thing once upon a time when we were living in caves and didn’t know where our next meal was coming from, but it’s not good to be having these reactions many times a day at every meal, and a low sugar diet will help to negate this.
This occurs when the body is bombarded on a continual basis with too much sugar; the cells eventually fail to respond to the insulin being pumped out and become insulin resistant.
This leads to the body being unable to clear sugar from the bloodstream effectively – which is VERY DANGEROUS, and leads to type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and a whole host of other potentially life threatening diseases.
SLOWING DOWN THE SUGARS IN FOODS
Eat unrefined and low GI foods, such as wholegrains, whole fruits and vegetables, and nuts, seeds, and pulses; all of which release their sugars slowly into the bloodstream, which helps keep your blood sugars on an even keel for hours. This helps to reduce over eating and those dreaded sugar cravings.
Try not to break your foods down!
An easy way to quickly assess a food’s GI (which is the rating for the amount of sugar it contains, the lower the better) is to think of it like this: if something is in its whole form, for example, a boiled potato in its skin, then this is going to have a much lower GI than potatoes that have had their fibrous skins removed and then mashed.
Why? Because the mashing process in itself has broken the food down, which is a job that your mouth, stomach, and intestines are supposed to do. But in this scenario it has already been done, therefore your body doesn’t have to do anything and can absorb those sugars quickly – too quickly!
These sugars are then released almost instantly into your bloodstream, rather than more slowly over a longer period through the digestion process – and there you have it, an unnatural blood sugar spike that promotes a strong insulin release. It all makes absolute sense when you think about it, it’s obvious that this is what the body is designed to do in nature – break down food slowly to keep us sustained and full for hours.
THE FACTS ABOUT FRUIT JUICES
This same reasoning holds true for everything you consume. Fruit juice, for instance, has a MUCH higher GI value than eating the whole fruit because it has had its fiber taken out in the juicing process, and even if your juice contains the pulp, it is still only marginally better as that pulp has also been broken down too. You get where I’m going with this?
It is also easy to consume 10 oranges when they are in juice form, but you could NEVER consume 10 whole oranges within minutes if you were to eat the whole fruit one after the other (unless you’re some kind of eating competition champ). This would be way to much fruit sugar (fructose in particular) for your body to deal with in one hit, which would cause a big sugar spike and therefore promote fat to be laid down. Just think of how easy it is for this to happen when you drink fruit juices.
Always go for ‘whole foods’ in their natural form:-
Refined flours, pastas, rice, and all sweet products will all have the same effects on blood sugar. But the sugars in ‘whole foods’ are released much more slowly as they haven’t had their fibers broken down or nutrients processed out of them.
So in essence, it is the process of the body having to do the hard work of breaking down the food that makes it lower GI, thus giving you a steady release of energy and stopping those uncontrollable cravings.
This is why NOT all calories are created equal!
Armed with this knowledge, it is easier to understand the concept of not all calories being created equal. Take the mashed potatoes versus the boiled in their skin potatoes – both have the same calories gram for gram, but their different cooking and processing methods means their sugars are released differently.
The mash, being higher GI, will cause the body to not only more readily lay down those sugars as fat, but also this faster processing process will cause them to ‘burn off’ more quickly, encouraging hunger to strike again fast and the ultimate consumption of too many calories over all.
Chromium Picolinate Benefits and Blood Sugar Control
1. BLOOD SUGAR CONTROL
Chromium picolinate supplements may be of considerable help to you, especially if you are pre-diabetic, already have type 1 or 2 diabetes, have high blood sugar, high cholesterol, depression and other mental illnesses, metabolic syndrome, or eating disorders. ALL of these can potentially be alleviated by controlling your blood sugar, and ultimately, your sugar cravings.
Recent studies suggests chromium picolinate has the abilities to augment insulin action, so therefore helps to control blood sugar better in those with glucose intolerances and insulin resistance. Slowing down the release of sugars into the blood is one of the, MAJOR CORNERSTONES of health in general, and will help with your weight loss efforts and overall body fat reduction.
2. SUGAR CRAVINGS
Chromium may also help those those who suffer severe sugar cravings. It was shown in one study over 8 weeks that 600 micrograms of chromium daily significantly reduced carbohydrate cravings – and the best results were seen in those with the greatest cravings.
The recommended daily intake is between 50-200 micrograms to maintain health, but higher doses of up to 1000 micrograms can be used with certain medical conditions.
Cinnamon and chromium picolinate are a dream team!
You will find, in some supplements, that cinnamon is added to also help lower blood sugar alongside the chromium. There is a very good reason for this, as cinnamon helps lower blood glucose which in turn means an even bigger boost to weight loss and blood sugar control.
Cinnamon has SO many other amazing health benefits, such as being a powerful antioxidant, anti cancer, anti fungal, and anti aging. My advice would be to buy your own ceylon cinnamon sticks and grind them yourself to add to your breakfast or smoothies, or however else you like to use cinnamon. Try to keep it raw so as not to destroy its antioxidants.
Always be sure to buy ceylon cinnamon and not cassia as this is much healthier. Most supermarket ground cinnamon will be the cheaper cassia variety and you can’t tell the difference when it is pre-ground, which is why I advise you grind your own.
Find out exactly how to use cinnamon for weight loss and blood sugar control, along with other fat burning tips, in this post cinnamon and fat loss.
Find what works best for you:-
You may want to experiment to find the dosage that works for you, especially if you are using it to control sugar cravings. Chromium Picolinate should not be taken without breaks for more than 8 weeks at a time, and never more than instructed on the bottle. ALWAYS make sure, as with any supplements, that you buy from a reputable brand to be sure you’re getting a good quality, controlled product that actually works.
3. ANTI AGING
You may be wondering how all this ties in with anti aging, and the answer is quite simple: sugar is VERY AGING (yes, horrors!!), just like the sunshine and smoking. Every time you have blood sugar spikes and troughs this accelerates your aging process even more by shortening your precious telomeres.
Telomeres are strands of DNA that shorten as you get older through the simple effects of time, but mostly through the oxidative damage of the above factors. Take these out of the equation, and add in lots of antioxidant rich foods and you will vastly slow down the aging process. It’s just simple science.
The relatively easy process of cutting down on sugar, adding in more healthy foods (specifically a plant based diet), along with some natural anti aging supplements, will keep you looking younger far more effectively than any cream or potion can.
POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS:
It may not be safe for everyone to supplement with chromium picolinate, and you should always consult with your doctor before taking these supplements if you have the following conditions:-
- Kidney or liver disease
- Insulin dependent diabetes
- Allergy to leather
- Mental illness
- Thyroid disorder
- Certain steroid medications
Recommended dose: Up to 1000 micrograms daily. Always buy from a trusted chromium picolinate brand that doesn’t use unethical methods of production, OR fill their products with synthetic chemicals, fillers, or artificial preservatives.
Thanks for stopping by and reading this post. If you decide to use chromium picolinate to help with sugar carvings, then please drop me a line and let me know how they work out for you as I would be grateful of the feedback. If you have any questions then I am always ready to lend my help, so go ahead and post below. Have an awesome day!