Nutrition and Healing
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  • Kick carb cravings to the curb

    Q: Try as I might, I just can’t stay away from sugary snacks. I feel like I’m addicted to carbs, which isn’t helping my diet plan! What can I do?

    Dr. Wright: At the Tahoma Clinic, for more than 20 years we’ve been helping folks greatly diminish sugar and carbohydrate cravings––often eliminating them entirely–within four to eight weeks. The “secret” is a supplemental mineral: chromium. But the typical 200 micrograms a day found in most chromium supplements won’t do the job.

    As always, let’s cover safety. Industrially used hexavalent chromium, the type featured in the Erin Brockovich movie, can be quite toxic. But trivalent chromium, the type found in food and supplements, has a “low order of toxicity” for both humans and animals. After reading a publication by chromium expert Dr. Richard Anderson stating that 70,000 micrograms (70 milligrams) of chromium daily is the safe upper limit, I tried 40,000 micrograms daily myself for six months (no, I don’t recommend this for anyone for any purpose) and noted no negative or positive effects ––although the chromium content found in my hair mineral analysis certainly went very high!

    If you have sugar or carb cravings, how much supplemental chromium should you use? I recommend starting with 3,000 to 4,000 micrograms (not milligrams) daily, and gradually tapering down toward 1,000 micrograms for “daily maintenance” (the minimum quantity usually found effective for reduction of insulin resistance) as the cravings diminish and disappear. Individuals who have type 2 diabetes themselves or in their families often need to remain at this level to keep sugar and carb cravings away. But for those without this problem themselves or in their families, further tapering down toward the 100 to 200 micrograms often found in a multiple vitamin-mineral is usually possible.

    In 2005, researchers published the first double-blind, placebo- controlled verification of the ability of chromium to control carbohydrate cravings. Compared with the placebo group, the group that took chromium (600 micrograms daily, from chromium picolinate) showed significant improvements on four items–appetite increase, increased eating, carbohydrate craving, and variation of feelings over 24 hours–measured in a standardized 29-item test, the “Hamilton Depression Rating Score.”

    For more than 20 years, it has been my observation that 3,000 to 4,000 micrograms of chromium daily will greatly reduce or in many cases eliminate sugar and carbohydrate cravings regardless of whether the “craver” herself (the majority are teenage girls and women) has atypical depression.

    Chromium is sometimes hard to find in capsules or tablets containing more than 200 micrograms each, but the 500-microgram size can be found at some compounding pharmacies, natural food stores, and the Tahoma Clinic Dispensary. Of course, as always, you should work with a physician skilled in natural medicine to find the right dosage for you.

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