In the world of dieting, fashions and fads come and go, sometimes with dangerous implications.
This year, the new black is carb blockers. According to the claims by the manufacturers, carb blockers can keep your body from digesting up to 60% of the carbohydrates that you eat,.
As you probably know, whatever your body doesn’t digest, your body doesn’t transform into fat.
If you follow that through to its logical conclusion, carb blockers can prevent up to 60% of the carbohydrates that you eat from turning into fat.
There are two main questions where the best selling carb blockers are concerned: do they work – and HOW do they work?
The Theory Behind Carb Blockers
Your body needs carbohydrates to function. When you take in food, your body goes to work breaking it down into glucose, which it uses for energy. Ideally, you take in just enough food for your body’s energy needs.
When you eat food that has more carbohydrates than your body can use immediately, it converts the extra to fat and stores it in fatty cells for later.
That’s a wonderful adaptive mechanism to keep your body from starving when there’s no food available. As long as you give your body enough food to fuel your energy needs, it won’t touch those fatty stores.
It uses the glucose it breaks down from digestible foods instead. I have tried this carb blocking formula, and found that it not only filled me up, but it did seem to reduce the effect carbs had on my blood sugar (they usually spike it then drop it very fast, making you feel like you’re starving).
What happens when your body encounters something that hasn’t been broken down into glucose?
It treats it like garbage, passing it through your digestive system without taking in the calories and nutrients from it.
That’s the process that carb blockers like Dietrine capitalize on. Here’s how it works:
Your body creates an enzyme called alpha amylase that starts the digestive process by attacking carbohydrates and breaking them down into glucose.
The glucose then continues through the process and is either burned to fuel your energy needs, or stored as fat.
Back in the 1980s, scientists found that some substances inhibited the function of alpha amylase by neutralizing it before it could start breaking down the carbohydrates.
One of these, Phaseolus vulgaris, is a substance found in white kidney beans.
The first phase of carb blockers using phaseolus vulgaris was released in the 1980s, and while it appeared to be effective, it caused a great deal of ‘gastric distress’ in those who took it – gas, cramping and bloating. Because of those side effects, the FDA recommended that it not be used.
In the twenty years since then, scientists have concentrated on refining the method of extracting phaseolus vulgaris from kidney beans, and with the advances in science, they’ve created an extract that has reduced those side effects and is effective in reducing the amount of calories absorbed from carbohydrates.
But Does It Work? Clinical Research Into The Effectiveness of Carb Blockers
The theory behind carb blockers is solid – but does it work in practice? There’s a considerable amount of research that strongly suggests that carb blockers, when taken properly, do block the absorption of starches and can help people lose weight.
In one double-blind study1, fifty obese adults were given either a carb blocker or a placebo shortly before meals. Other than that, neither group changed their eating or exercise habits at all. The group that took the carb blocker lost an average of 3.79 pounds after eight weeks, in comparison to the placebo group, who lost an average of 1.65 pounds in that same time.
In another study2with 40 participants, one group were given a product containing a carb blocker and the other a placebo. The group that was taking the carb blocker lost an average of 7.7 pounds in the twelve weeks of the study as compared to 2.6 pounds in the placebo group. In this study, though, the product also contained other ingredients that may have affected the outcome.
Three unpublished studies by the same researcher3all showed similar results. In one, college age students were given a meal that consisted of four slices of white bread, soy margarine and artificial sweetener.
Half the meals were mixed with a carb blocker, half were undoctored. Researchers measured the amount of glucose in blood samples drawn from the subjects.
Those who had meals with carb blocker added tested with consistently lower levels of blood glucose at every time interval when blood was taken. The other two studies produced similar results.
These studies and other similar ones suggest strongly that carb blockers may play an important role in helping dieters maintain weight loss by blocking the absorption of some of the carbohydrates that they eat.
Are carb blockers safe?
The ingredient that blocks the absorption of starch is all natural, and the new extraction methods have greatly reduced the side effects of the original product. Most people have no side effects at all. There have been no reported adverse effects in any of the studies that have been undertaken.
The Bottom Line on Carb Blockers
While carb blockers have been around for over twenty years, there’s remarkably little data on the newest variation of alpha amylase inhibitor. The research that has been done is highly suggestive that phaseolus vulgaris, extracted from white kidney beans, does keep amylase from breaking down carbohydrates, and reducing the levels of glucose in the blood after meals by as much as 60%.
There are several studies, both in vitro and in live people, that suggest using carb blockers can help people lose weight by reducing the number of calories absorbed by the body from food. Even more promising, some study results strongly suggest that carb blockers can help regulate the way that the body uses and produces insulin and the production of triglycerides in the body. That’s exciting news for diabetics and dieters alike.