HOW CARB BLOCKERS MAY HELP WITH WEIGHT LOSS
Why are “Carb Blockers” so unique and effective?
Carb blockers are a unique type of diet supplement that works through a different pathway than all other diet or weight loss supplements.
Most weight loss supplements work through the power of caffeine or other stimulants to give you energy, maybe even giving a false sense that your metabolism is sped up or that you are not hungry because of the stimulant effect.
Some weight loss supplements help with “fullness” by using dietary fiber or bulk agents that distend the stomach and make you feel fuller thus wanting to eat less. Many others are herbs or minerals that help the body to metabolize energy more efficiently and while this can work very well, understanding how supplements work in the body are very important for maximizing your individual needs.
What Are Carbs?
Carbohydrates, or carbs, are sugar molecules. Carbohydrates, proteins and fats are the three main nutrients found in food.
Your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose. Glucose is the sugar that enters the blood stream and is the main source of energy for your body's cells, tissues, and organs. Glucose can be used immediately OR stored in the liver and muscles for later use.
What Does the Evidence Say?
Several studies show that carb blockers may be able to cause some weight loss.
The studies ranged from 4–12 weeks long and people taking carb blockers usually lost between 2–5.5 lbs (0.95–2.5 kg) more than the control groups. One study showed up to 8.8 lbs (4 kg) greater weight loss than the control group.
Interestingly, the people who ate the most carbs appear to be the same ones who lost weight while using these supplements.
This makes sense because the higher the proportion of complex carbs in your diet, the bigger the difference carb blockers can make.
However, the average weight loss for those eating a carb-rich diet was still just 4.4–6.6 lbs (2–3 kg), on average.
Carb blockers, also known as starch blockers, can help block the enzymes needed to digest certain carbs. They block carbs from being digested, allowing you to eat carbs without (some) of the unwanted calories.
But are they really as beneficial as they sound? This is a detailed review of carb blockers and their effects on your health and weight.
Some types are sold as weight loss supplements. They’re made from a group of compounds called alpha-amylase inhibitors, which occur naturally in certain foods.
These compounds are usually extracted from beans and are referred to as Phaseolus vulgaris extract or white kidney bean extract. Others come in the form of prescription medications called alpha-glucosidase inhibitors (AGIs), which are used to treat high blood sugar in type 2 diabetics, In this article, the term carb blocker will refer to the nutritional supplement containing bean extract, not the prescription medications.
Carb Blockers May Decrease
Carb Blockers May Help
Beneficial Resistant Starch
Carb blockers have another unintended benefit — they increase the amount of resistant starch in the large intestine. This is because they decrease the amount of carbs that are absorbed in the small intestine, thereby increasing the starch that runs through the gut.
Similar to fiber, resistant starches are any starches in food that cannot be digested by the enzymes in the small intestine.
They are found in foods such as raw potatoes, bananas legumes and some whole grains. When resistant starches pass into the large intestine, gut bacteria ferment them and release gasses and beneficial short chain fatty acids.
When carb blockers prevent the digestion of complex carbs in the small intestine, these carbs function like resistant starches.
Many studies have associated resistant starch with decreased body fat, healthier gut bacteria and improved blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity. Additionally, resistant starches may help increase the amount of fat your body burns after a meal.
Are Carb Blockers Safe?
Carb blockers are generally considered safe, but make sure to buy them from a reputable source.
Safety and Side Effects
As far as side effects are concerned, carb blockers are considered very safe.
However, when carbs are fermented by bacteria in the large intestine, the gasses they release can result in a number of uncomfortable side effects.
These can include diarrhea, bloating, flatulence and cramping.
These side effects are usually not severe and go away with time, but they are enough for some people to stop taking carb blockers.
Additionally, people with diabetes who take insulin should talk to a doctor before taking carb blockers, since there is a chance they could cause low blood sugar if the insulin dose is not adjusted.
Another issue is supplement regulation.
Supplement manufacturers are themselves responsible for the safety and integrity of their products, and there have been many cases of fraud in the supplement industry.
The FDA recently inspected several herbal supplements and found that a mere 17% of the products contained the main ingredient listed on the label.
In the past, the FDA has even found dietary supplements that were adulterated with prescription medications that had previously been removed from the market due to their dangerous side effects.
These potentially harmful medications had been added in an attempt to make the supplements more effective.
For this reason, chances are that many of the carb blockers you can buy in the store don’t actually contain what is listed on the label.
When it comes to supplements, it’s always a good idea to do some research and buy from a reputable manufacturer.