Supplements For Sugar Cravings

By Teresa Wagner, RD, LD
March 15, 2024

Let’s chat about cravings, of which there are many: salty chips, crusty bread, fancy alcohol, sugary treats (chocolate, dessert of any kind, soda, etc.)… you get the idea. One of the biggest nutritional myths we encounter: are cravings just a matter of willpower?

The answer to that myth is no! Cravings are NOT just a matter of willpower, and they don’t mean anything about your character. If you have food cravings, don’t feel bad – you are not alone! From clinical experience, we have found that food cravings, particularly for sugar, are a biochemical imbalance and very often point to a need to stabilize blood sugar levels in order to reduce cravings.

Before we talk about best supplements for sugar cravings, let's start with the why of sugar cravings and which certain foods and nutrition choices might be adding to your sugar or carb cravings.

cravings-sugar.jpgCommon Craving Triggers & Solutions

Why do we get cravings? Cravings are messages from the body.

Sometimes our bodies crave foods because we are missing key nutrients and have mineral deficiencies. Chocolate cravings can point to a possible magnesium deficiency, sweets cravings could mean you have a zinc deficiency, chewing ice can indicate low iron, and wanting to salt everything could mean you need more potassium.

Sometimes our bodies get food cravings, particularly carbohydrate cravings, because we aren’t eating enough of nutrient dense foods. Are you getting enough animal protein to fuel your muscles? Are you getting enough healthy fat to feel satiated and to feed your brain? Are you eating enough starchy fruits and vegetables to give you energy?

Sometimes our bodies get intense sugar cravings because our blood sugar crashes and it’s our body’s way of protecting us from going too low. It gives us the impulse to eat something that will bring our blood sugar back up to a normal range quickly! Eating balanced meals and snacks throughout the day reduces the chance of these blood sugar crashes and subsequent cravings followed by blood sugar spikes.

For some folks, they need to eat every two to three hours for blood sugar regulation and to stop sugar cravings while others find an afternoon snack with a regular breakfast, lunch, and dinner will do the trick.

Other Top Reasons For Cravings

Here are some other top reasons for cravings - can you relate to any of them?:  


Think about those times when you suddenly crave a snack out of nowhere. It might just be your body's way of saying it needs a drink. Stay hydrated to avoid those sneaky food cravings.

Lack of Sleep:

We've all been there – tired and reaching for a bag of chips or a chocolate bar. Lack of sleep can make us seek quick energy fixes in food to help us stay awake during the day. Prioritize a good night's sleep to reduce sugar cravings and food cravings.

Excess Sugar Consumption:

Sugar is like a double-edged sword – the more sugar you have, the more you want. Break the cycle by reducing sugar intake gradually to improve blood sugar levels.

Inadequate Protein Intake:

Ever felt sluggish and suddenly craved a burger? Low protein levels can mess with your mood and leave you wanting comfort food. Include protein-rich foods in your diet to feel better.

Alcohol-Induced Cravings:

After a night of partying, that morning-after desire for greasy fast food might be familiar. Alcohol can mess with our mood, making us turn to food for comfort. Plus, it dehydrates us, triggering even more food cravings.

Visual Triggers:

Open your pantry, and there's that tempting bag of chips staring back at you. We've all been tempted by what we see. Try to keep those visual triggers out of sight to resist the urge to reach for those junk foods and processed foods.

Emotional Triggers:

Life throws various curveballs at us – chronic stress, loneliness, procrastination, or just plain boredom. When these feelings hit, carb cravings and/or sugar cravings often follow. Find healthier ways to cope with these emotions to keep a healthy blood sugar balance.

Microbiome-guthealth.jpgThe Gut & Sugar Cravings Connection

It might surprise you to learn there is a gut-sugar connection that might be contributing to your cravings.

Your gut microbiome can be thrown off balance when you eat too much sugar. Our good gut bacteria love things like fermented foods and fiber from fruits and vegetables. Bad gut bacteria are the gut microbes that thrive on sugar and can be a factor in why you crave MORE sugar.

Sugar also wreaks havoc on your gut health. When you consume too much sugar, it triggers a chain reaction within your digestive system.

Sugar interacts with your gut lining.  ➡️  Which leads to inflammation and disruptions in the delicate balance of your gut microbiome.  ➡️  Which can compromise your gut's ability to absorb nutrients.   ➡️  Which can effect your body's ability to support your immune system effectively.   ➡️   And can decrease your body's ability to create feel good neurotransmitters.  ➡️  and, the list of negative interactions could go on and on.

How To Reduce Sugar In Your Diet To Eliminate Cravings

Changing your nutrition is a great step towards eliminating cravings. Let's talk about cutting out sugar "cold turkey" versus a gradual sugar reduction...

When you cut sugar out of your diet abruptly your body goes through several reactions and adjustments as it adapts. You may experience withdrawal symptoms, blood sugar fluctuations, dips in energy, intense cravings, and mood changes. 

Cutting out sugar cold turkey might work for some individuals, especially if you feel like you have sugar addiction. Getting out of the cycle of cravings by eliminating it all together might be your approach.

Others may find these reactions too intense and find it more sustainable to gradually reduce sugary foods a little bit over a period of time.

3 Simple Steps To Reduce Daily Sugar Intake:

  1. Read labels diligently: Be vigilant about hidden sugars in packaged & jarred foods and choose options with minimal added sugars. Check out this IG Reel for help understanding sugar amounts on labels.
  2. Swap sugary beverages: Replace sodas and energy drinks with water, teas, and infused water whenever possible. Try our Key Greens & Fruit for a flavor and nutrient boost to your water without the added sugars.
  3. Eat more protein: Protein, combined with all that good bacteria in your gut, will create neurotransmitters for you. Neurotransmitters, like serotonin, make you calm and give you a take-it-or-leave-it attitude towards most sugary foods. NutriKey protein powders are a great protein boost to add to your balanced diet!

Food Swaps That Can Help Cut Sugar Without Feeling Deprived:

  • Olives & nuts instead of snack mixes.
  • Veggies & Lil' Dipper dip instead of queso & chips.
  • Dark chocolate instead of M & M's.
  • Real cream instead of creamers.
  • Sparkling water instead of soda.
  • Guacamole or hummus instead of dip.
  • Spicy chickpeas instead of chips.
  • Crispy nuts instead of popcorn.


Our Nutritionist Recommended Best Supplements for Sugar Cravings

Often making diet changes will be enough to stop sugar cravings, but sometimes a little extra support is needed. Our sister company NutriKey's supplements for sugar cravings are meticulously crafted to address the underlying causes of sugar cravings. These customer favorite supplements not only help curb sugar cravings but also empower you to make better food choices.

L-Glutamine Caps (cement) (square).jpgRecommended Supplement for Cravings: L-Glutamine

L-Glutamine is an amino acid that supports all tissues and is considered the calming amino acid. It is one of the most important nutrients the body needs because of the important bodily functions it assists with.

For this important amino acid, we’re lucky that all animal protein foods are great sources of glutamine. The long list includes beef, bison, chicken, fish, free-range eggs, grass-fed dairy, lamb, pork and turkey.

However, if you or someone in your family isn’t eating sufficient amounts of animal protein and/or needs additional l-glutamine, we recommend taking a glutamine supplement. 

How L-Glutamine Helps With Cravings

Regulates Energy Levels: 

L-glutamine is known to help regulate blood sugar levels. When your blood sugar levels are stable, you're less likely to experience sudden drops in energy, which can trigger sugar cravings. By providing a steady source of energy and blood sugar control, L-glutamine may help reduce the urge to reach for quick sources of sugar because you have sustained energy levels.

Reduces Stress: 

Remember, stress can often lead to emotional eating and cravings for comfort foods, including eating sugary snacks as a stress response. L-glutamine might play a role in reducing stress by supporting the health of your gut and helping manage neurotransmitter balance, in turn helping you stave off cravings (like those after supper chocolate cravings!).

Supports Gut Health:

L-glutamine is important for maintaining the health of the cells lining your digestive tract, especially if sugar has compromised your gut health like mentioned above. A healthy gut is linked to better digestion and nutrient absorption. When your body is properly nourished, it can help reduce cravings that might arise due to nutrient deficiencies.

How To Take L-Glutamine

In clinic, our nutritionists recommend taking ¼ to ½ tsp. of NutriKey L-Glutamine Powder in water before every meal. Or, if your cravings come and go, some clients put the powder right on their tongue to make the cravings go away immediately.

If you’re not a fan of using powders, NutriKey also has convenient L-Glutamine capsules you can add to your supplement routine. We recommend taking one to two capsules before meals with your probiotic.

Bifido Balance (cement) (square).jpgRecommended Supplement for Cravings: Bifidobacteria

Bifidobacteria is one of the most important probiotics for good digestion, which as you know by now, can impact whether or not you have cravings. Bifidobacteria should make up 70 percent of the beneficial bacteria in your intestinal tract.

Real food sources of probiotics would be fermented foods, like whole-milk yogurt or kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, fermented vegetables (such as carrots and beets). Prebiotics, like the fiber in whole vegetables and fruits, are also a great way to support your good gut bacteria.

How Bifido Stops Sugar Cravings

Supports Gut Health:

Taking a probiotic helps crowd out bad bacteria. Bad bacteria loves sugar, and if you have an excess amount, it’ll often make you crave more and more sugar. If you’ve been on antibiotics or have been eating a lot of sugar, there’s a good chance you have an imbalanced microbiome and a probiotic might be beneficial.

Supports Mental Health:

Most are shocked to learn that probiotics are needed to make neurotransmitters (aka our feel good chemicals) as 70-80% of our neurotransmitters are actually made in our gut and healthy bacteria like bifidobacteria support this process. Supplementing with Bifido Balance or Powder along with eating a balanced diet can help support mental health.

Supports Nutrient Absorption:

 Bifidobacteria helps support the small intestine to make sure you’re able to absorb all the nutrients from your food, which helps eliminate cravings from nutrient deficiencies.

How To Take Bifido

Our nutritionists recommend taking one NutriKey Bifido Balance capsule a few minutes before every meal. If you prefer a powder to capsules, you can use ¼ to ½ tsp of NutriKey Bifido Powder instead.

Should I take Bifido Balance or Bifido Powder?

Choosing between Bifido Balance or Bifido Powder form depends on your preference and comfort. If taking capsules before each meal isn't your preferred method, the powder offers a convenient alternative. Rather than a capsule, you can mix half a teaspoon of the powder with 4-8 ounces of room temperature water. This option ensures you still get the benefits in a way that suits you better. 

"We’ve seen several clients start supplementing with Bifido Balance (along with eating a balanced diet) and see their life-long cravings go away within weeks if not days."-Elizabeth Leppart, MS, LN

5htp (cement) (square).jpgRecommended Supplement for Cravings: 5-HTP

5-HTP, or 5-Hydroxytryptophan, is a naturally occurring amino acid and the precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, sleep, anxiety, and appetite.

When you consume foods containing tryptophan, your body can convert it into 5-HTP through a series of enzymatic reactions.

Food sources high in tryptophan include:

  • Poultry: like chicken and turkey (this is why turkey is often associated with feeling sleepy after a Thanksgiving meal, although it's likely the combination of a heavy meal and other factors rather than just tryptophan alone)
  • Fish: such as salmon, tuna, and halibut
  • Nuts and seeds: examples include pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and almonds

How 5-HTP Helps Eliminate Cravings

Once 5-HTP is produced in the body, it is converted into serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine) in the brain. It is often referred to as the "feel-good" neurotransmitter because of the influence serotonin levels have on mood and emotional well-being.

With regular use of 5-HTP, you can expect to experience fewer mood swings, reduced cravings, and improved sleep patterns.

How To Take 5-HTP

Our nutritionists recommend taking 1-2 capsules of NutriKey’s 5-HTP, 10-15 minutes before each meal for even moods, less anxiety, and reduced sugar cravings and 2-6 capsules at bedtime to encourage sleep or reduce chronic pain.

Important to Note:

If you’re on an anti-depressant medication discuss 5-HTP with your medical provider before taking.

Crave Control (cement) (square).jpgSupplement Recommendation for Cravings: Crave Control Plus

If nothing else is working and you still have intense cravings, NutriKey’s Crave Control Plus was created with specific ingredients in mind to help. While we can get the amino acids and essential mineral and vitamins from our food, sometimes we need that extra boost to kick the cravings to the curb.

How Crave Control Plus Helps Stop Sugar Cravings

Crave Control Plus gives your body the building blocks for serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine and helps restore neurotransmitters to optimal levels.

Three Essential Neurotransmitters

To understand how Crave Control Plus was crafted, it's helpful to know how cravings might be related to low neurotransmitters. As you read through this list, see if your cravings fall into a certain category (or maybe all of the above!):

  • Low Serotonin can trigger hunger for food, especially sugar, breads and other simple carbohydrates.
  • Low dopamine is associated with increased sugar cravings, lack of focus, and low motivation.
  • Low norepinephrine can be indicated by intense cravings for chocolate and diet soda.

Ingredients that support whole body support

The ingredients in Crave Control Plus contain the amino acids that help create the three essential neurotransmitters:

  • 5-HTP: a building block for serotonin
  • N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine: a building block for dopamine
  • Vitamin C: helps to convert 5-HTP to serotonin
  • Vitamin B-6: important for conversion of 5-HTP to serotonin
  • Magnesium Glycinate & Citrate: alleviates tension, irritability, and promotes relaxation; supports healthy sleep patterns
  • L-Phenylalanine: building block for norepinephrine

How To Take Crave Control Plus

Our nutritionists recommend adding two to three capsules before every meal.

Important to note:

If you are taking prescription medications for depression, check with your health care provider before taking.

Stop Sugar Cravings

Your cravings might be from various biochemical reasons but they are NOT because of your willpower. Reduce the sugary foods you are eating cold turkey or slowly overtime with healthy lifestyle habits to eliminate cravings. If you need extra support, try our recommended supplements for sugar cravings and work with a nutritionist or dietitian to come up with a customized plan just for you. Getting free of sugar cravings IS possible!

Want To Learn How To Break Up With Sugar?
Join our 28-Day Break Up With Sugar Challenge

NutriKey Products Mentioned

L-Glutamine: one of the most important nutrients needed for a healthy digestive tract because of its ability to maintain the integrity of the intestinal wall.

Bifido Balance: a superior probiotic supplement for intestinal health and food cravings.

5-HTP: the precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, and may help balance moods and control appetite during the day and improve sleep patterns at bedtime.

Crave Control Plus: a safe and effective formula uniquely designed to help balance brain chemistry.

About the author

Teresa is a licensed dietitian at Nutritional Weight & Wellness. As a mother of three children and avid runner, Teresa knows that good nutrition is essential for energy and well-being. She also sees first-hand the impact food choices have on her children’s behavior, moods and happiness. Teresa is a registered and licensed dietitian through the Minnesota Board of Nutrition and Dietetics. She received her B.S. in dietetics from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and completed her dietetic internship at Indiana University School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. She worked as a clinical dietitian for the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis.

View all posts by Teresa Wagner, RD, LD


Mary Quinlan
I would like to order these three supplements for cravings
February 27, 2019 at 3:38 am


You can order these products on our website with free shipping. click here to order the Bifido Balance, Here to order the L-Glutamine Powder, and Here to order the Crave Control Plus. Give us a call at 651-699-3438 if you have any questions. 

Beatrice Burnett
Do I need to take all 3 supplements or try 1 at a time to see which one works.
November 13, 2019 at 2:46 pm


You do not need to take all three of these at once. You can start with Bifido Balance or L-Glutamine first and see if that helps you with your cravings. For more information about cravings, you can check these articles and podcasts out. If you feel you need more individualized guidance you can set up an one-on-one appointment with one of our nutritionists. 

Shana Edwards Strange
I take the Bifido Balance and the L-Glutamine before meals and it works! I don’t take the Crave Control Plus because I take bupropion for anxiety.. So glad I listened to the podcast about cravings!
May 29, 2021 at 8:19 am


We're so glad to hear this!

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