WHAT IS A CARB INHIBITOR?
Amylase inhibitors, also called starch blockers, prevent starches from being absorbed by the body. When amylase is blocked, those carbs pass through the body undigested, so you don’t absorb the calories.
Carb blockers are amylase inhibitors. And when you consume carb blockers, they block the enzyme alpha-amylase which is produced in your saliva, from attaching to starches and breaking it down into simple carbs the body absorbs.
So by negating the ability for saliva to produce amylase, the food you ate will quickly move out of the body and prevents it from absorbing any calories.
The majority of diet supplements on the market focuses on improving your metabolism to more effectively digest calories.
The Science Behind Carb Blockers
There are two main groups of carbohydrates – complex and simple.
Simple carbohydrates are found in processed food such as candy, soda, milk and fruits.
On the other hand, complex carbohydrates are foods that have nutritional value, higher in fiber and also digests slower in the body.
Examples of complex carbohydrates include grains, quinoa, broccoli and beans.
When you begin to chew a complex carbohydrate like pasta, grains or potatoes your body starts to produce the digestive enzyme alpha-amylase through your salivary glands. This starts the process of converting complex carbs into simple carbs.
Once the carbs are broken down into smaller simple carbohydrates, the food will then enter your stomach. This is where carbohydrate blockers come into play.
Complex carbs are comprised of a chain of simple carbs linked together. To absorb complex carbs, they need to be broken down by your body’s enzymes.
After ingestion, carb blockers can help stop the digestive enzymes that break carbs down into small, singular units of sugar also known as simple carbohydrates. These complex carbs will go straight into the large intestine without being broken down into simple carbs.
When this happens, they aren’t counted as calories at all.
The mechanism of carb blockers function to only bypass complex carbs and not simple carbs.
What Does the Evidence Say?
Several studies show that carb blockers may be able to cause some weight loss.
The studies ranged from 4–12 weeks long and people taking carb blockers usually lost between 2–5.5 lbs more than the control groups. One study showed up to 8.8 lbs (4 kg) greater weight loss than the control group.
This makes sense because the higher the proportion of complex carbs in your diet, the bigger the difference carb blockers can make.
However, the average weight loss for those eating a carb-rich diet was still just 4.4–6.6 lbs, on average.
Carb Blockers May Decrease Appetite
In addition to blocking carb digestion, carb blockers may affect some of the hormones involved in hunger and fullness.
They may also help slow stomach emptying after a meal.
One reason for this effect may be because bean extracts also contain phytohaemagglutinin. This compound can increase the levels of some hormones involved in fullness.
However, there may be other ways that carb blockers decrease appetite.
Studies found that a carb blocker supplement could decrease the amount of food the rats ate by 15–25% over a consistent period of time and even caused them to eat less of foods that are high in fat and sugar.
This effect has not been well-researched in humans, but one recent study found that a concentrated, standardized bean extract did decrease feelings of hunger, probably by suppressing levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin.
Carb Blockers May Help Control Blood Sugar
Carb blockers are usually marketed as weight loss supplements, but they probably have a bigger impact on blood sugar control.
They prevent or slow down the digestion of complex carbs.
As a result, they also lower the spike in blood sugar levels that would normally happen when those carbs are absorbed into the blood stream.
However, this is only true for the percentage of carbs that are actually affected by the carb blockers.
In several studies of healthy people, carb blocker supplements have been shown to cause a smaller rise in blood sugar after consuming a meal high in carbs. They also cause blood sugar levels to return to normal faster.
Studies have shown that carb blockers can cause blood sugar to rise less and return to normal faster after a meal.
Are Carb Blockers Safe?
Carb blockers are generally considered safe, but make sure to buy them from a reputable source.
As far as side effects are concerned, carb blockers are considered very safe.
However, when carbs are fermented by bacteria in the large intestine, the gasses they release can result in a number of uncomfortable side effects. These can include diarrhea, bloating, flatulence and cramping.
Additionally, people with diabetes who take insulin should talk to a doctor before taking carb blockers, since there is a chance they could cause low blood sugar if the insulin dose is not adjusted.
Carb blockers are usually safe, although they can cause uncomfortable side effects, although rarely.
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