Carb Blockers are a type of dietary supplement developed for aiding with weight management. Their primary purpose is to inhibit the metabolism of carbohydrates into stored fat. So far there are no clinical studies performed by the mainstream medical and research communities to suggest that Carb blockers work in the long-term for weight loss. For the most part, studies done by those selling these products are dubious and only focus on short-term intervals.
What are the Claims about Carb Blockers?
Proponents of these OTC weight management aids often claim that carbohydrate blockers provide the following two primary benefits:
- Stops the body from digesting all carbs – Carb blockers supposedly prevent the body from digesting a certain percentage of carbohydrates ingested. So, instead of being processed by the body, they are eliminated as waste and do not contribute to calories or blood sugar levels.
- Eat all the carbs you want – You can eat as many carbs as you want without worrying about digesting all of them.
Most carb blockers developers claim the diet pills can reduce between 30 and 45 grams of carbohydrates from entering the body.
How Do They Work?
Carb blockers are composed of substances that prevent some of the enzymes the body needs to break down complex carbs. Carbs can be divided up into two categories:
- Simple carbohydrates – Fruits, milk products, processed foods, etc.
- Complex carbohydrates – Pasta, bread, rice, starchy vegetables (e.g. potatoes)
Carb blockers hinder the breakdown of complex carbs, which are essentially composed of simple carbs that connect to create chains that must be broken down first by enzymes before they can be absorbed by the body.
Complex carbs that are not broken down, pass into the large intestine instead of being digested and absorbed. As a result, they do not contribute to calories or raise blood sugar.
Phaselous Vulgaris – The Key Ingredient
The critical ingredient in carb blockers is called phaselous vulgaris, an extract from the northern white kidney bean. The extract interferes with an enzyme in the body called alpha-amylase that breaks down carbohydrates into glucose. Instead of carbohydrates being broken down and turning to fat, the carbs are excreted from the body before they can enter the bloodstream. Mos carb blocker products will also contain Chromium Picolinate or Alpha Lipoic Acid to regulate insulin and reduce sugar cravings.
Phaselous vulgaris (white kidney bean) extract is a key ingredient in carb blockers. That said, there are carb blocker diet pills sold that do not contain Phaselous vulgaris. These products have little or no carb-blocking effects.
As for Phaselous vulgaris, clinical studies have been conducted on a specific proprietary product called Phase 2 Carb Controller (Pharmachem Laboratories, Kearny, NJ). These studies suggest that Phase 2 has the potential to induce weight loss and lower spikes in blood sugar that result from carbohydrates though its alpha-amylase inhibiting activity.
How to Take Carb Blocking Supplements
Typically, carb blocker diet pills should be taken just before or during a meal in order to block the absorption of the carbohydrates in the meal. It is estimated that each 1000 mg of Phaseolus vulgaris extract will block up to 50 grams of carbohydrates according to some manufacturers.
These diet pills should be taken as directed and are often meant to be used in combination with a healthy diet and fitness-appropriate exercise for optimal weight loss benefits. Moreover, while your meal should contain carbs if you plan to take these pills, keep in mind that you should still watch your overall carbohydrate consumption. Carb blockers should never be used as an excuse to overindulge in carbohydrates.
Whether these diet pill products are safe or not is an open question. There are no reliable long-term studies concerning carb blockers and the weight loss supplement industry is not regulated by the FDA.
Therefore, if you are interested in taking carb blockers to help with your weight management goals, regardless of your current state of health, you should speak with your medical professional to find out what the best course of action would be for your specific needs and lifestyle.
For more information about these products, go to the category clinical studies.