Eating a diet high in sugars satisfies and rewards both the pleasure and pain centres of your brain. When your sugar levels become too low, the desire to seek out sugar becomes amplified, impacting your chromium levels and sugar metabolism.
What’s with sugar?
Once you start eating foods high in sugar, it can be hard to stop. Sugary foods are typically high in calories and low in both nutrients and fibre, and their ability to make you ‘feel good’ makes them easier to overeat. High-sugar diets increase the excretion of chromium through the urine, which can leave you needing more of this important mineral. A diet high in simple sugars or refined carbohydrates increases chromium requirements.
What is chromium?
Chromium is an essential trace mineral well known for its role in carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism in general, and sugar metabolism in particular; chromium is a co-factor in all insulin-regulated activities in the body. Chromium picolinate and chromium chloride are two trivalent forms of chromium; the same form of chromium mainly found in foods and the form your body can utilise. Trivalent chromium is the most stable form of chromium and has good bioavailability and absorption. Chromium is found throughout the body, although the highest concentrations found in the bones, spleen, liver and kidneys.
Low levels of chromium
Although a chromium deficiency is relatively rare, low levels of chromium are very common as good dietary sources of chromium are scarce, so chromium intake is generally low. Increased urinary excretion of chromium due to a diet high in simple sugars or refined carbohydrates, strenuous exercise, infection and periods of stress all exacerbate low levels of chromium. See Chromium MAX.
Chromium and glucose metabolism
Chromium is particularly important for healthy sugar metabolism. Chromium is a component of Glucose Tolerance Factor (GTF), considered the biologically active form of chromium involved in sugar metabolism. Through GTF, chromium acts as a co-factor that regulates the activity of insulin and assists in the uptake of sugar from the blood into the cells, so it can be used for energy. Athletes or those involved in strenuous exercise may have increased requirements for chromium. See GlucoPlex.
Benefits of chromium:
- An important component of GTF, the biologically active form of chromium
- Involved in sugar metabolism
- Assists in the uptake of sugar into cells
- Requirements are increased when consuming a diet high in sugar
- Necessary for carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism