Help for Sugar Cravings: L-Glutamine

Note: This post has been edited. It was formerly titled “The Cure for Sugar Cravings,” but I realized that was too strongly worded…I can really only speak for my own experience and should not claim to have a “cure.” So this post is now titled “Help for Sugar Cravings.” I hope it can help you as it has helped me!

I am SO TOTALLY excited I can hardly sit still in my chair to write this!!!!

Folks, I finally found something that WORKS for me!

Works for what?

For sugar cravings! Food cravings! It works for me, it’s worked for thousands of others, and it might work for you, too!

I finally found something that makes sense, that explains that deep, deep hole inside me that has driven me to the sweets more often than I can count. I found something that WORKS, for heaven’s sake! I found something that works WITHOUT willpower!!! I found something sustainable, long-term. It works within MINUTES, and it works without FAIL. It is the amino acid l-glutamine!

l glutamine

Grab a cup of tea and read on, because if you struggle with cravings like I do, this might just change your life.

Okay, so let me back up just a bit.

I’ve struggled with sugar cravings since I was a kid (read about fighting sugar cravings here, here, here, and here). Since I’m almost 40 now, that’s a good 30 years of CONSTANT struggle. Finding the MS Recovery Diet and the Fit4God program changed my life in that my cravings were reduced, my weight became relatively stable, and I was freed of 40 pounds of fat and a chronic, incurable brain disease.

The MS Recovery Diet and the Fit4God program eliminated most of my sugar cravings for quite a while, but there came a point where they came roaring back. I can look back now and see why. There was a summer a few years ago when I was doing a very low-carb, low-calorie diet plus intermittent fasting and a ton of exercise in an effort to reduce my weight from 133 to 130. I was also under a great deal of stress from my father dying, my daughter’s broken arm, and two kids home for the summer who were not getting enough exercise (the broken arm kept us quiet and indoors). Within a month of all of this starting up, the cravings came roaring back. In retrospect, I can see it was all a recipe for disaster. Oh, if only I’d just been happy at 133 lbs, I could have saved myself a lot of heartache!

But if there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that God ALWAYS uses my hardships to teach me something important. And in this case, I think I can finally see what he wanted me to understand and learn. He wanted me to see how foolish dieting was. How dieting and stress can whack out your brain chemistry, your adrenals, your thyroid, your hormones….and when that happens, ZAP! You get cravings. Because your body isn’t getting what it needs, and it will send POWERFUL signals until it gets what it needs!

So, fast forward. That low-carb, low-cal, IF, high exercise, high stress time was a couple of years ago. And I’ve struggled DAILY with sugar cravings ever since. I tried everything. Prayer. Low carb. High carb. I optimized my nutrition until I knew nothing else to optimize. I was SO frustrated. It should have been working!

And I felt absolutely awful. I began to realize that I ONLY felt good when I was consuming sugar. Without it, I felt bad, weak, shaky, angry, anxious, irritable, nervous, obsessive, panicky. I just felt WRONG.

I began thinking something must be truly wrong with me. I didn’t WANT to eat the sugar. I KNEW (better than most – I teach on it for heaven’s sake!) how horrible it was for me. But I couldn’t stop. Because I felt SO BAD when I didn’t have it.

I would resist it, and resist it, and resist it until I couldn’t resist it anymore and then I would eat it, and oh, it was like a HUGE sigh of relief. I felt better. I felt right. I felt happy. I felt energetic. I felt NORMAL.  I felt RIGHT.

But it wasn’t good or right and I knew it. And the good feelings would fade and then I’d have to have more sugar. It caused me to gain and lose the same 5 pounds over and over. It cost money. I had to hide my habit from my husband and my kids. The emotional toll was terrible. What kind of horrible person can’t resist a cookie? What kind of shmuck am I?

The added pressure of teaching Fit4God just made it all worse. I’m teaching others how to eat, and yet I have this horrible struggle with sugar! I consoled myself over it by always being upfront with my classes and my readers about my sugar addiction. I never hid it. I told people at the beginning of each class that I wasn’t teaching the class because I was perfect, I was teaching the class because I was so screwed up. God used my health problems to teach me a better way to live and eat, and it helped me tremendously. I lost 40 pounds and got rid of my MS, and I yearned to help others with my new knowledge. But I knew I didn’t have the answer to everything. I continued to struggle with sugar and so did some of our participants.

So, about two or three weeks ago, I googled “sugar cravings.” I swear it was one of those “God moments.” You know those moments, right? Where you don’t remember your cerebral cortex being involved at all? You don’t remember consciously thinking about doing something, you just do it? Well, that’s how this was. I just suddenly found myself googling “sugar cravings.” And this time, God had an answer waiting for me.

One of the first links I saw was from Food Renegade. I’ve read her before, and knew she was a good gal with a philosophy for food like Fit4God’s. Her post was called “How to Beat Sugar Cravings with Glutamine.” I was intrigued. I didn’t know what glutamine was. I clicked.

She described reading a book called “The Diet Cure” by Julia Ross. Ross recommended l-glutamine, an amino acid supplement, for sugar cravings. Julia (I’m going to call her “Julia” instead of “Ross” because I feel like she’s my new best friend!) asserted that they would stop cravings in MINUTES.

Now I was DEEPLY intrigued!

So I raced out and bought the book the next chance I got. I read it in 3 days. (Yeah, I do that kind of thing.) The day after I finished reading it, I bought the amino acid l-glutamine as well as the mineral chromium. Julia recommended taking the l-glutamine and the chromium upon waking, mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and at bedtime. I did exactly that.

And you know what? She was RIGHT. Totally 100% RIGHT!

My cravings were gone within 10 minutes of taking the supplements. And they stayed gone ALL DAY. I did not crave one time that day!

I did begin having some cravings in the evenings several days later. I reread sections of the book, and I bought some more supplements. After about a week of experimentation, I got my supplements and dosages exactly right and I feel AMAZING!!!!

I get NO cravings throughout the day. NONE. My energy has leveled out, my irritability is gone, I feel emotionally flexible, I deal with stress better, I sleep better, I laugh more…in short, I feel WONDERFUL! And guess what? I suspect that this is how God intended for me to be! I suspect that this is what He had in mind when He made me!

Okay, so what are these wonderful supplements I am taking, and how do they work?

So, here’s the deal: The idea is that powerful food cravings are a sign that our bodies are out of whack, that we have an underlying physical problem that needs to be addressed. Julia Ross says it beautifully in her book:

“You are trapped inside a body that is malfunctioning, and that body needs help. Years of dieting, psychotherapy, and the best pep talks about fitness can’t help much when what you really need is a biochemical overhaul.” P. xxi

She outlines eight malfunctions that can cause cravings. They are:

  1. Brain Chemistry Imbalances – here your neurotransmitters are low, causing you to eat for reward and comfort; to have excessive worry, anxiety, panic, pain, tears, tension, irritability; low energy or drive; depression and negativity; low self-esteem.
  2. Malnutrition from Dieting – cravings for food, focus on food, overeating; weight loss followed by regain; moodiness, irritability, low self-esteem; anorexia or bulimia; low calorie eating, skipping meals.
  3. Unstable Blood Sugar – get a lift from sweets followed by a drop; nervous, jittery, irritable, weak throughout day but calmer after meals; mental confusion, hard to focus; frequent thirst or night sweats or dizziness; feel stressed, anxious, overwhelmed; sensitive to bright light; hard to get up in morning, but wakeful at night.
  4. Low Thyroid – low energy, easily chilled, weight gain, low energy, high cholesterol, low blood pressure, hair loss, use food to get yourself going.
  5. Food Addictions/Food Allergies – crave dairy or doughy foods; digestive upset, gas, belching, bloating, constipation, diarrhea; respiratory problems; low energy after meals; food allergies; headaches, migraines.
  6. Hormonal Imbalance – very uncomfortable symptoms during  PMS, perimenopause or menopause; PCOS.
  7. Yeast Overgrowth – bloated, foggy-headed, depressed, yeast infections, fungal infections, sinus infections, chronically fatigued, rashes, unusual stools.
  8. Fatty Acid Deficiency – been on low fat diet, crave fatty foods, feel heavy after fatty foods, light colored stool, hard or foul-smelling stool, pain on right side under rib cage.

So, Julia outlines these eight imbalances that could be causing your cravings. And then she goes on to say this:

“This book is a repair manual: It will help you to find and fix the physical malfunctions that have caused your particular eating, mood, or weight problem. Then you will drive away in your refurbished body and crave, binge, starve, and obsess no more.” P. xxiv

And boy, from my own two weeks of experience with it, is that ever TRUE! It took me a couple of weeks to fully diagnose my own “malfunctions” and get my supplements right, but once I did, the cravings were gone and I felt amazing!

Her recommendations vary according to each imbalance, but they are all doable by ordinary people. Only in a few situations would you need to get help from a doctor. Most situations can be repaired on your own.

She recommends an eating plan that is VERY close to Fit4God’s program, and she stressed that it is an ESSENTIAL, not an optional, component for healing. For the most part, she recommends nutritional  supplements that help restore our imbalances to the way God intended for us to be. These supplements are readily available, totally safe, and easy to find online, at health food and vitamin shops, or even at your local Walgreens or Walmart! We offer them through our Fit4God shop and if you purchase them through our link, we get a small percentage to help fund our web site.

And here is the best part: You only take the supplements for a short period of time! You don’t do it forever! You might take them only for one month, maybe for 3, maybe as much as 12 months. But once you have restored your imbalances to their proper levels, you can go off the supplements and be just fine!

Julia Ross says it best:

“Within twenty-four hours your mood and food problems should be notably improved, if not completely eliminated. Within three to twelve months you will be able to eliminate all but a few supplements for good.” P. xxiv

Now, I just want to be clear here: This is not a magic diet pill! This is not about taking the easy way out and taking a diet pill that is going to allow you to eat all the McDonald’s, Cheetos, and candy that you want to eat! You MUST do the work of eating right! Don’t think of this as a magic diet pill. This is more like medicine that is designed to help you get well, or more like a vitamin or mineral you take because you are low in a certain nutrient. Okay?

So, just to give you an example, I’ll share with you what I am doing.

I found that I have unstable blood sugar and some neurotransmitter imbalances. Julia explains that these problems can be inherited (looking back, mine surely are), and they can arise from low-calorie dieting (Uh, yeah, I started low-calorie dieting when I was 16 years old), and they can arise from too much stress (I think my low-carb/low-cal/IF/hard exercise/Dad dying/daughter’s broken arm summer counts as too much stress).

So as a result of all of that, I had unstable blood sugar and neurotransmitter imbalances. That was what was causing me to feel so WRONG. I WAS wrong! There was something very wrong with me! And that was what was causing my strong cravings.

So now I am taking 4 amino acids (l-glutamine, l-tyrosine, l-tryptophan, and DLPA) and two minerals (chromium and biotin) and I feel WONDERFUL! I feel happy, free, and energetic! I handle stress easily. I don’t get irritable. I don’t get dizzy. My brain is focused. I sleep better. And I DON’T CRAVE! Nor do I overeat. I just eat normally, the same as I always have, and the cravings stay at bay. It’s lovely. Just lovely. So I’ll do this for a few months, then go off the supplements, and I hope at that point to be free!

So, this post was a LONG one! Much longer than I had planned. But I wanted to give you a good introduction to “The Diet Cure.” This post is the first in a nine-part series I’m going to do. I highly recommend that you buy Julia Ross’s book “The Diet Cure” and her other book “The Mood Cure” and read it for yourself. I’m going to blog about each of the eight imbalances just to give you the flavor, but you’ll need to do the work yourself and read the book to figure out what your imbalances are and how to treat them. You must rely on her book, your judgment, and your doctor’s judgment concerning any supplements you decide to take. The book is also available in our shop.

Wishing you well on your health journey!!! I sincerely hope and pray that this post reaches those who need it and that the information here will restore you to the you that God intended for you to be, just as it has for me!

Blessings!

Update: I realize some of you may desperately need help with your sugar cravings. I deliberately did NOT include dosing recommendations for l-glutamine in the article because you REALLY need to read the book and figure out what your imbalances are and read FULLY how to take and use the supplements. However, I will just say briefly that the general recommendation for l-glutamine is to take one to three 500-mg capsules upon arising the morning, mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and bedtime. You also take 200 mcg of chromium at the same times. Start at the lowest dose and go up if you need to. You can even open the l-glutamine capsule and dissolve it under the tongue for faster relief. You MUST take other supplements with this to be fully effective, and there are certain restrictions about when to take them, like taking them at least 20 minutes before a meal and 90 minutes after one. There are also some people who have certain conditions who cannot take aminos. You can see this information on her web site or in her book. YOU MUST READ THE BOOK! Also, we are not doctors and your health is in your hands. We are not responsible for your health. Read the book, decide what is best for you, consult a doctor! But I know this worked for me!

Also, our web developer has not yet put the links to the books and supplements on our shop yet, but you can still buy them through us. Just click through to our amazon shop and anything you purchase will work even if it’s not listed. You don’t have to have anything listed in our shop, you only need to click through via our shop. Hopefully the developer will have it up soon. Thanks!

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Comments

  1. Good article. I craved alcohol for the same reasons. After supplementing with L-glutamine and vitamin b complex (esp B3 since the l-glut needs B3) the cravings vanished, and my mood has improved greatly. Ive stopped drinking before without supplements and felt very depressed and highly anxious. Finding what has been missing in me has saved my life. God bless!

    • Yes, Julia Ross discussed this in her book, “The Diet Cure.” She came to realize that alcoholics benefitted from the amino acids, and then realized sugar addicts did too. So happy for you that you have found something that works for you! I, too, feel that finding out about how amino acids affect brain chemistry has changed my life! Bless you too!

      • This is amazing because you practically told my story. I started off with reading “The Mood Cure” by Julia Ross and found that it worked immediately! After years of trying this and that, it is such a gift to actually find something that works. With her help, I was able to finally get off of an anti-depressant I have taken for the last 10 years. I have since ordered the second book “The Diet Cure” and have began supplementing with L-Glutamine as well. Now this has not worked as quickly and I still crave sweets at 3:00 every day. This may also be a matter of time to have my brain chemistry brought back to normal. I am so thankful for Dr. Ross’ work and wanted to add my two cents.

  2. I am reading her book now, All because of coming across this article. I just want to thank you for posting this and I hope that it is a life changer for me as well. This is my first day using the supplements, and I’m sure I will have to make changes as I go to find what works for me. I will post an update and let you know how it goes Thank You
    In Ohio