- Carb blockers, or starch blockers, are dietary supplements for weight management
- They are derived mainly from alpha-amylase inhibitors found in foods like beans
- The primary ingredient for many is the white kidney bean extract, Phaseolus vulgaris
- Their main function is to impede enzymes that digest certain complex carbohydrates
- Inhibited carbs reach the large intestine undigested, reducing calorie intake
- Research shows carb blockers can support weight loss when paired with a balanced diet & exercise
- They may influence appetite hormones and promote feelings of fullness
- Their role in modulating blood sugar spikes in meals is beneficial for blood sugar management
- Increased resistant starch in the intestine due to carb blockers can improve gut health
- When combined with thermogenic proteins, Acetyl l-carnitine, & fat burners, they can further support weight loss
- Generally safe, some users might experience minor side effects; diabetics should exercise caution
- Overall, carb blockers can be a valuable tool in a comprehensive weight loss strategy
Understanding Carb Blockers: Are They Effective?
Carb blockers, commonly known as starch blockers, have gained traction as dietary supplements aimed at weight management. They promise the allure of letting you eat carbohydrates without absorbing all the associated calories.
But do they actually deliver on this promise? Let's delve into the details.
What Are Carb Blockers?
Carb blockers are primarily derived from a group of compounds called alpha-amylase inhibitors, naturally found in foods like beans. Specifically, many supplements use extracts from white kidney beans, aka Phaseolus vulgaris extract. These blockers impede enzymes that digest certain carbohydrates, ensuring these carbs aren't completely broken down & absorbed.
However, there's another type of carb blockers known as alpha-glucosidase inhibitors (AGIs). These are prescription medications meant for regulating blood sugar in type 2 diabetics. For clarity, this article primarily addresses the over-the-counter supplements derived from beans.
How Do They Function?
Our diet contains two main types of digestible carbs: simple & complex. Simple carbs are found in fruits, milk products, sodas, desserts, and many processed foods. In contrast, complex carbs are in foods like bread, pasta, rice, & starchy vegetables. Carb blockers target the enzymes that break down complex carbs.
When inhibited, these carbs navigate to the large intestine without being fully digested, thus not contributing to calorie intake or raising blood sugar levels.
Effectiveness in Weight Loss
Studies have indicated the potential benefits of carb blockers in aiding weight loss. These supplements work by preventing the digestion and absorption of certain carbohydrates, which can lead to a reduction in calorie intake.
Many individuals have reported noticeable weight loss results when incorporating carb blockers into their diet regimen, especially when combined with a balanced diet & regular exercise.
Their ability to reduce the impact of starchy foods makes them a valuable tool for those looking to manage their weight.
Appetite and Carb Blockers
Beyond just blocking carbs, these supplements may influence hunger and satiety hormones. Some evidence suggests they might slow down stomach emptying, promoting a feeling of fullness. However, the degree to which this can aid human weight loss is still under investigation.
Blood Sugar Regulation
Though marketed for weight loss, carb blockers might be more impactful in controlling blood sugar. They can slow down complex carb digestion, modulating the blood sugar spike post meals.
This effect could be particularly beneficial for those monitoring their blood sugar levels.
Beneficial Resistant Starch
An unintentional benefit of carb blockers is the increase of resistant starch in the intestine. Just like fibre, resistant starches aren't digested in the small intestine. They're fermented by gut bacteria, producing beneficial short-chain fatty acids.
This process has links to various health benefits, from improved gut health to enhanced fat burning.
Stacking Carb Blockers with Other Supplements
Pairing carb blockers with other supplements can amplify weight loss results.
Thermogenic protein powders boost metabolism and promote lean muscle. Acetyl l-carnitine aids in converting fat to energy, enhancing the fat-burning effects of carb blockers. Additionally, fat burners increase metabolism.
All these supplements synergise well with carb blockers.
Generally, carb blockers are deemed safe. However, since they lead to increased fermentation in the large intestine, some users might experience gas, bloating, & stomach cramps. Diabetics, especially those on insulin, should consult a healthcare professional before using them due to potential hypoglycemia risks.
Additionally, there's a challenge with supplement regulation. Not all supplements might contain what their labels claim. Hence, it's crucial to choose products from reputable sources.
Carb Blockers: Final Verdict
After reviewing the available data, it's evident that carb blockers offer promising benefits for those seeking assistance in their weight management journey. These supplements, designed to minimise the impact of certain carbohydrates, have garnered positive feedback from many who have incorporated them into their wellness routines.
While individual results can vary, when used as part of a holistic approach that includes a balanced diet & exercise, carb blockers can be an effective ally in achieving one's weight loss goals.
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Celleno et al (2007), A Dietary Supplement Containing Standardized Phaseolus vulgaris Extract Influences Body Composition of Overweight Men and Women. Int J Med Sci, 4: 45-52
Santimone et al (2004), Porcine pancreatic alpha-amylase inhibition by the kidney bean (Phaseolus vulgaris ) inhibitor (Alpha-AII) and structural changes in the al-pha-amylase inhibitor complex. Biochim Biophys Acta,1696: 181-190
Udani et al (2004), Blocking Carbohydrate Absorption and Weight Loss: A Clinical Trial Using Phase 2™ Brand Proprietary Fractionated White Bean Extract. Altern Med Rev, 9: 63-69