Carb blockers is the name given to a special category of weight loss supplements designed to help dieters shed unwanted pounds by restricting the amount of carbohydrate the stomach is able to digest. The fancy claims can be dispensed with. Carb blockers are a simple product intended to achieve just one task that results in a prescribed result—weight loss.
Carb blocking has become a more popular approach to weight loss over the last ten years or so. Not surprisingly many supplement manufacturers have begun producing dedicated carb blocking products in an attempt to give customers what they want and profit from this somewhat recent trend, but carb blocking is not a new idea.
Several decades ago such supplements were known has starch blockers. They gained a certain amount of popularity and then all but disappeared from the market as interest in their abilities declined. They resurfaced again a few years into the new millennium when the ‘low carb diet’ became the latest dieting trend (again).
Carb Blockers at Work
Carb blockers suppress the digestive enzyme alpha glucosidases. This enzyme is extremely important to the correct digestion of carbohydrates. When its correct function is impaired the body is unable to handle carbohydrates in the normal manner so they remain undigested and cannot provide the body with any calories.
Several ingredients are believed to possess carb blocking powers, but white kidney bean (phaseolus vulgaris) is by far the most popular one.
But do they Really Work?
The viability of carb blockers is a controversial subject. Some health authorities such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) say there is no satisfactory proof carb blockers can live up to their name. Several experts concur, stating the pancreas producesalpha glucosidases in too high a quantity to be successfully blocked, but some tests contradict this statement.
In 2007 an issue of the International Journal of Medical Sciences documented a study conducted on 60 overweight people who had managed to sustain a stable weight for six months or more. The volunteers followed high carb diets for 30 days. Half of the group consumed white kidney bean extract (445mg) before their meals.
The rest of the group received a placebo. The final recordings revealed the group given with kidney bean lost more weight than the placebo group. The group members also showed superior reductions in waist size measurements and retained more lean muscle mass.
How Does Cutting Down on Carbohydrate help Reduce Body Fat?
There are two forms of carbohydrate—simple carbs and complex carbs. Both forms are good calorie providers and usually account for most of the body’s calorie intake. Simple carbs (sugars) are quick and easy to digest, which makes them good for rapidly raising the blood sugar and providing short bursts of energy.
Complex carbs are harder to digest, and release their calories more slowly, so they are particularly useful for providing a long-lasting supply of energy. Problems only arise when people overeat and provide their bodies with too many calories. Those extra calories quickly become extra body fat, so it’s not hard to see why blocking carbs can have its benefits.
Carb blockers may not always be the answer though. They will prove to be of little help if the root cause of the weight problem can be traced to a love of fatty food (fat contains twice as many calories as carbs pound for pound), but in cases where carbs are the definite culprit blocking those carbs should prove to be an effective weight loss technique.
Carb Blocker Side Effects
Unless the main ingredient(s) have been mixed with unnecessary fillers and binders carb blockers are a safe dieting option that should be completely free of the stimulants that account for so many of the side effects attributed to other form of weight loss supplement.
Their use is not totally free from side effects though. The main problem experienced appears to be the buildup of intestinal gas and/or stomach cramps and diarrhea.
- Carbohydrates contain significant amounts of calories
- Weight gain is the result of the body receiving more calories than it needs
- Carb blockers prevent the carbohydrate in food from being digested correctly
- Carb Blockers do not usually contain any stimulants or other troublesome ingredients
- White Kidney Bean is the most popular carb blocking ingredient and it has proven to be effective in some scientific tests
- Carb blockers have not been linked to any dangerous side effects, but their uses may cause minor stomach irritations and flatulence.