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Do Carbohydrate Blockers Work?

Aug 17, 2007
If you've got a few pounds to lose, you've probably been tempted by the claims of one of the numerous "carb blocker" weight loss supplements on the market these days. After all, with the rise in popularity of low-carb diets (like Atkins, South Beach, etc.) most of us are aware that the most serious threat to the success of our diet is posed by those sweet and starchy carbohydrate-rich foods.

So it's no surprise that many of us are tempted by carb blocker supplements promising us the ability to "eat all you want and still lose weight!" Hey -- who wouldn't want that, right? Cakes and cookies and bagels and croissants -- sounds like the perfect diet to me. So how is such a miracle possible?

Well, according to the supplement retailers, this magic ability is facilitated by the carb blocker's ability to block the absorption of carb calories into the body. In other words, when you eat forbidden carbs, the supplement prevents their breakdown and utilization by the body.

While this certainly sounds good, the question really is...

Do carb blockers really work? To answer that, consider this...

Manufacturers of numerous carb and fat blockers products have been aggressively targeted by both the U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) over the last few years for making false and misleading claims in their product advertising. No surprise here. Anyone who states that you can "eat all you want and still lose weight" obviously does not have your best interests at heart.

But what about the "scientific evidence" these supplement manufacturers use to validate their claims? It's shoddy at best, says the FDA. Here's an excerpt from the FDA press release that announced its intent to pursue 16 manufacturers of such products...

"After reviewing the claims of the various products, the FDA concluded that claims being made regarding these products are not supported by reliable scientific evidence."

Exactly. For instance...

The most common ingredient in many "carb blockers" is white kidney bean extract, or phaseolus vulgaris. In vitro studies showed that phaseolus vulgaris inhibited the activity of an enzyme called alpha-amylase, which is needed to break starches down into the simple sugars that are easily absorbed by the body. But it's too early to claim miraculous weight loss effects in humans. In fact, a recent UCLA
clinical study on phaseolus vulgaris concluded...

"Clinical trends were identified for weight loss and a decrease in triglycerides, although statistical significance was not reached."

In other words, white kidney bean extract looks promising as a carb blocker, but its effects are hardly earth shattering. To emphasize this, the Food and Drug Administration has sent warning letters to 16 dietary supplement distributors (many selling "carb blockers") making false and misleading claims for weight loss products promoted over the internet. Here's the letter for your review...

http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/news/2004/NEW01045.html

So what's the bottom line on carb blockers? At this time, product claims are largely unsubstantiated and have no solid basis in science. The keys to successful weight loss are simple, but not easy; follow a sensible diet, and exercise regularly. No magic there!
About the Author
Author Paul Crane is the webmaster of UltimateFatBurner.com, the most respected supplement review site on the Net.

Vist UltimateFatBurner.com today!
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