Carb blockers - do they work?

This Week's Top Recommendation


Do carb blockers work? Do they really prevent carbs from being absorbed by your body? How do they work? Are carb blockers suitable for a low carb diet?

Thank you,


All about carb blockers

Dear Jeffrey,

The short answer to your question is yes - some types of carb blockers do seem to work. But there hasn't as yet been any scientific trials showing how effective they are in humans.

A while back, scientists were excited over a potential carb blocker called hydroxycitric acid (HCA or Citrimax). This carb blocker interfered with the body's ability to convert carbs into glucose, and thus effectively blocked those carbs from turning into energy (and calories). Unfortunately, animal testing seemed to indicate that HCA wouldn't work as a carb blocker in humans so that ingredient is a total dud.

There's a new generation of carb blockers that seem to work, with some reservations. The main ingredient of these late-model carb blockers is Phaseolus vulgaris, a compound extracted from white kidney beans. This compound interferes with the pancreas's ability to produce alpha-amylase, the enzyme that allows you to metabolize carbs.

So carb blockers do what they're supposed to, at least. No one is certain exactly how many grams of carbs a dose of carb blockers can eliminate.

Unfortunately, there are some notably unpleasant side effects associated with taking a carb blocker. These include gastric distress, heartburn, excessive gas and even diarrhea. So we certainly wouldn't recommend the regular use of a carb blocker.

On the other hand, the very occasional use of a carb blocker may help you reduce your daily carb load.

We hope this helps you succeed in your nutritional goals!

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