Lose The Carbs, Keep The French Fries

By: Dallas Dougan

"Carb blockers" are a new type of diet pill that will be great news for anyone considering a low-carb lifestyle. They promise to basically put anyone who takes them on a low-carb diet by blocking the digestion of any carbohydrates that are eaten. Many people who have tried low-carb dieting understand the unstoppable power of a french-fry craving, so carb blockers could turn out to be a invaluable tool for low-carbers suffering moments of weakness.

The active ingredient in carb blockers is called "phaseolamin," and it is derived from plain old white kidney beans. Clinical trials suggest that diet pills containing phaseolamin are every bit as safe as eating white kidney beans, too. The supplements don't exactly work by "blocking the carbs;" they actually work by neutralizing a digestive enzyme called alpha-amylase. Since alpha-amylase has only one job in your digestive system--to break down starches into simple sugars--it can be neutralized with no ill effects on any other part of digestion. And since starch molecules are too large to be absorbed into the blood, they pass harmlessly through your whole digestive tract and are excreted.

The only possible bubble in all of this is the fact that there are some bacteria living in your lower intestines that can break down starches, and when they do they create gas as a byproduct. On the bright side, there are other byproducts of allowing these intestinal critters to digest your starch for you that have been found to have a number of positive health effects, including increased fat-burning!

Another potential problem which has not been addressed in the literature so far, is whether the use of these carb blockers might have any negative effect on the absorption of other nutrients, such as minerals which might be bound to the starches. As I said, this has not been addressed one way or the other, so it may not be a real concern at all. However, anyone putting carb-blockers into long-term use should probably have their doctor check their mineral levels every few months just to be on the safe side.

One final thing to know about carb blockers is that they only block the absorption of starch, not sugar. This means that any sugar you eat while taking carb blockers will still go straight into your blood stream, and will still have all of the negative health effects that delicious sugar is known to have!

Also, there is no guarantee that a carb blocker diet pill will neutralize all of your alpha-amylase enzyme. From the literature that's out there, it seems reasonable to stay on the safe side and assume that about 40% of the carbs you eat after taking a carb blocker will still be absorbed in the usual way. Still, that's a significant drop in the amount of carbohydrate that will be able to make you fat! Given their very nice safety profile and relative inexpensiveness, carb blockers are an exciting supplement for anyone trying to lose weight and improve their health.

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