What are Carb Blockers?
Carb Blockers are commonly presented & sold as Formulated Supplementary Sports Foods in Australia. Carbohydrates are quite possibly one of the most publicised "evils" when it comes to fat gain. Those who train professionally will know that carbs are not necessarily a bad thing & may even supplement them for energy purposes. However, carbohydrate supplementation is generally only beneficial for bodybuilders & athletes who are training enough to burn through it. With all the hype surrounding carbs, it's no surprise that scientists came up with a way to effectively "block" their effects. The purpose of carb blockers, or starch blockers, is to prevent carbs from being stored as fat, by blocking their absorption once entering the body. The intent is to cause weight loss, but this product is also popular for weight maintenance
How Do Carb Blockers Work?
The primary ingredient in many carb blocker products is a white kidney bean (phaseolus vulgaris) extract. Its function is to stop carbs from being converted into glucose & fat by disrupting the process of an enzyme in the body called alpha-amylase (Santimone et al, 2004). Alpha-amylase is responsible for breaking down carbohydrates into glucose. By interfering with alpha-amylase, carb blockers will theoretically ensure that carbohydrates are excreted from the body before entering the bloodstream & being stored as fat (Udani et al, 2004; Celleno et al 2007). The average carb blocker claims to block up to 30 to 45 grams of carbohydrates from being broken down into glucose & fat.
More recently, acai berry has also been found to possess carb blocking properties. The proteins in acai, much like white kidney beans, are able to inhibit the effects of alpha-amylase (Araujo et al, 2004).
Who Can Use Carb Blockers?
Carb blockers essentially decrease the user's calorie intake, so this type of product is mainly suited to anyone wanting to lose weight or for anyone who puts on weight easily after consuming carbohydrates.
How to Use Carb Blockers
Predominantly available in capsule form, it is recommended that users take carb blockers just before meals, particularly meals high in carbohydrates at a dosage of at least 450mg. As carbohydrates provide the body with energy via glucose, a carb blocker user is also reducing the amount of energy that their body receives and so may benefit from stacking carb blockers with energy promoting supplements such as pre-workouts or specialised energy supplements containing B vitamins, magnesium and iron to name a few ingredients. Carb blockers can also be stacked with thermogenics and fat burners to increase the metabolic rate, in order to further assist in weight loss.
Carb blocking supplements are not a sole source of nutrition and should be used in conjunction with an appropriate physical training or exercise programme. Not suitable for children or pregnant women. Should only be used under medical or dietetic supervision. Always read label prior to use.
Araujo et al (2004), Biological activity of proteins from pulps of tropical fruits. Food Chemistry, 85: 107-110
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