A high carbohydrate diet is thought to be the main culprit for a person’s expanding waistline. Because of this, low carb diets have gained popularity over the years. Examples of these include the Atkins diet, which makes use of a high protein but low carbohydrates to help people lose weight.
How do carbs make a person fat and what is the principle behind low carb diets? Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for our bodies. In the food pyramid, carbohydrates are found at the base, meaning people should compose more of carbohydrates than any other food type. When we consume less carbs, the body must look for another source of energy.
Next in line is the body’s glycogen stored in the liver and then stored as body fat. In a nutshell, reducing carbohydrate intake forces the body to burn fat. Second, carbs stimulate the production of insulin. Insulin converts excess carbs to fat. Less carbs means less insulin and consequently, less fat.
Carb blockers are an incidental discovery of diabetes research. These pills claim to be able to let a person eat carbohydrates minus the fear of an expanding waistline. Most carb blockers are made from kidney beans plus other minerals like vanadium, chromium and herbs like fenugreek.
The basic mechanism involved in the use of carb blockers is that it prevents the enzyme alpha-amylase from binding with starches. This enzyme is produced in the saliva and breaks down carbohydrates into smaller molecules that the body can absorb. By preventing this process from happening, the carbohydrate will pass through the body. Manufacturers recommend taking the carb blocker pills immediately before or after a meal. The type of food doesn’t matter. To carb blockers, as far as your diet is concerned, a starch is a starch.
Some studies have already been done on this. However, most of these clinical trials are done internally and not peer reviewed. Most supplements only have anecdotal evidence to back up their claims.
Among the possible side effects that come with the use of carb blockers are gastrointestinal distress, heartburn, excessive gas and diarrhea. Diet pills are notorious for being ineffective unless taken religiously. Be prepared to handle digestive discomfort and diarrhea on a daily basis.
Before taking carb blocker pills keep in mind that low carb diets have helped some people achieve short term weight loss. People like to take shortcuts. However, these shortcuts may only bring you back to where you started one or two years later. A smart diet and adequate exercise will definitely help.