You have decided to shed a few pounds and resorted to healthy eating and exercise. Unfortunately, the scale does not budge, and if it does, it registers a change that is much less than your weekly or monthly targets. You decide to look for something else to add to your weight loss program. In the process, you come across carb blockers.
Carb blockers may seem to be a magic pill due to their manufacturers’ claims. However, you ought to get some extra knowledge first before trying them. Here is important information you need to know about carb blockers.
What are carb blockers?
Carbohydrate blockers, also known as starch blockers, are dietary supplements that contain a specially-prepared ingredient extracted from white kidney beans. They prevent a portion of the carbohydrates in your diet from being absorbed by your body, reducing your daily calorie intake.
How do they work?
Carb blockers inhibit amylase, the enzyme that digests starches. Consequently, the digestion of starches from the food you consume becomes less effective as food moves along your gastrointestinal tract. A portion of these carbohydrates pass through the tract undigested and are eventually eliminated. Carb blockers therefore promote weight loss through calorie reduction.
Are they effective?
There is little evidence to show that carb blockers work. New York University’s Langone Medical Center claims that most research has found them to be ineffective. One of the reasons suggested for ineffectiveness is the possibility of the enzyme inhibitors being broken down in the stomach. Another reason suggested is that the enzyme glucoamylase may take over the task of digesting carbs when amylase is inhibited. Several studies carried out in the 1980s showed that carb blockers did not have any effect on weight loss.
On the other hand, there is some research that supports the effectiveness of carb blockers. Studies at Mayo Clinic showed that 4000mg of wheat germ extract and 4000 – 6000mg of bean extract slowed digestion of carbohydrates. Unfortunately, the studies did not show whether slowing the digestion of carbohydrates contributes to weight loss. A study that was conducted in 2007 and was published in the “International Journal of Medical Sciences” showed that Phaseolus vulgaris, an amylase-inhibiting ingredient that is found in many carb blockers, can significantly reduce fat mass and body weight while maintaining lean body mass.
As a result of the contradicting findings and little data available, we cannot draw a conclusion in relation to the effectiveness of carb blockers. There is need for more studies to be conducted.
How are they used?
Carb blockers should be taken right before meals so as to effectively prevent absorption of starches once digestion starts. Typically, 1-3 capsules are taken prior to a high-carb meal. Instructions on dosage from the manufacturer can be found on the bottle. Most manufacturers recommend not taking more than two doses to supplement two carb-rich meals.
How much do they cost?
The price of carb blockers vary depending on brand and number of capsules in the bottle. A 120-capsule bottle usually costs $20 – $25.
Carb blockers are great for those people who can’t keep away from carb-rich foods like breads, rice, cereals and pasta. If you have failed to follow your diet plan a couple of times due to your love for carbs, these products will come in handy. They’ll let you enjoy your favorite foods without interfering with your weight loss efforts.
Carb blockers can lower the glycemic index of high-glycemic foods, by slowing their absorption and may improve or prevent insulin resistance. They may therefore be effective in the management of diabetes.
Carb blockers don’t prevent absorption of proteins and fat calories. Therefore, if your carb-rich foods are also high in protein or fat, you may not get your desired weight loss results. This is because despite a reduction in your intake of carbohydrate calories, you will still be taking in many calories from proteins and fats.
Starch blockers may prevent the absorption of essential nutrients. This could make you suffer from deficiencies.
Carb blockers can cause certain side effects. These include:
These side effects may disappear with continued use of carb blockers.
As you can see from the above information, carb blockers are not miracle solutions to your weight problems. Now that you have more knowledge, you can make an informed decision on whether or not they are right for you. It is advisable to involve your medical practitioner in the decision-making process.