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Starch Blockers for Weight Loss
Carb Blockers and Amylase Inhibitors to Limit Starch Absorption
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Use of Supplements to Block Absorption of Carbohydrates During Digestion

Starch Blockers for Weight Loss

A new series of weight loss supplements have entered the weight loss market. These products are amylase inhibitors, commonly called "starch blockers."

Starch blockers are an extract, made from a protein in white kidney beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) that inhibit the alpha-amylase enzyme, supposedly preventing the breakdown of starch molecules. Undigested starch is said to be passed out in the feces.

Starch Blockers for Weight Loss - History

Starch blockers were originally marketed in the 1970s. They were taken off the market in 1983 because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration determined them to be drugs. The case would be harder to win today after the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, but the fact remains that weight-loss claims need to be supported by scientific evidence. The products have crept back on the market recently, but do they really work? Is there scientific evidence to support the product claims?

Starch Blockers - No Evidence of Weight Loss

Here is an actual claim from a product found through an Internet search: Other products make claims that they can neutralize up to 1,000 calories of carbohydrates in a meal. "Now you can eat spaghetti, pizza and bread without absorbing any of the calories!"

Sounds great, right? In theory, scientists have agreed that starch blockers could work, but there simply is no published research to date in support of their effectiveness in weight loss. In fact, several studies published in the 1980s showed that these products were ineffective in inhibiting starch digestion and absorption.

Starch Blockers - Side Effects

The FDA received numerous complaints from consumers who experienced nausea, vomiting, intestinal cramps and diarrhea with the original products marketed in the 1970s. High doses (2.9 g) of a concentrated extract were later shown to have fewer side effects, but there is no published evidence of its effect on weight loss.

Starch Blockers and Weight - Little Research Support

Starch blockers are one of many products marketed with little or no research evidence for long-term safety and effectiveness. Suppliers of the bean extract note that researchers are now investigating the effectiveness of their products in weight loss.

If the research is only in progress, then why are there so many products with unsupported claims?

 

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