In food form or as a dietary supplement, carb blockers can be an effective tool in supporting the regulation of carbohydrates in the body. But how do they work, what do they do, and what types of carb blockers should you use? Read on to learn everything you need to know!
Every healthy body needs carbohydrates. Made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, carbs are the main source of energy for the body. When the body needs an immediate source of energy, it first breaks down carbs into glucose (sugar) before it starts breaking down proteins and fats. Eating the right amount of carbs means that your body can get the right amount of energy without tapping into the other valuable nutrients your body needs maintain muscle strength.
But carbs aren’t all good, all the time. In fact, because the body stores extra carbs as fat, excessive carb intake is often the main culprit when it comes to weight gain or the management of high blood sugar levels. So whether you’re looking for a way to shed some pounds or need help managing the effects of high blood sugar, like diabetes, learning to manage the amount of carbs your body consumes every day is essential. That’s where a carb blocker comes in.
What Is a Carb Blocker and What Does It Do?
Simply put, a carb blocker is an element that can help inhibit the absorption of complex carbohydrates in your body.
All carbohydrates are split into two groups – simple and complex. Simple carbs are found most often in foods like fruit and dairy products, but it’s the complex carbs that seem to get the most attention. Found in foods like pasta, bread, rice, and potatoes, complex carbs are made up of a chain of simple carbs that have be broken down by enzymes before they can be absorbed by the body and used for energy.
Carb blockers (also known as “starch blockers”) are most effective on complex carbs, blocking the enzymes that digest these carbs and preventing them from turning into calories or sugars. Instead, they pass straight through into the large intestine where they can be digested and converted into feces without absorbing into your body and contributing to weight gain or high blood sugar levels.
While there are a great deal of foods that have natural carb blocking properties, dietary supplements are also a popular way to manage the intake of carbs in the body. These supplements include a group of compounds called alpha-amylase inhibitors, which are usually extracted from beans and other elements in which the compound naturally occurs.
What Are the Potential Benefits of a Carb Blocker?
Whether in food or a supplement, a carb blocker can be an effective way to manage carb intake, therefore weight and blood glucose levels. But there are other potential benefits as well. Here are a few more potential benefits of using a carb blocker:
May Support a Lower Appetite
Along with the aid of carb absorption, a carb blocker may also promote a decreased appetite and help you feel fuller for a longer time after eating. Recent studies found that many carb blocker supplements also include specific compounds that can affect hormone levels related to increased feelings of fullness and decreased feelings of hunger.
May Promote Healthy Blood Sugar Levels Already in the Normal Range
A carb blocker may also be a helpful tool in managing blood sugar levels already in the normal range. Because the extracts in carb blocker supplements can prevent the digestion of complex carbs, they also lower the risk of a spiked blood sugar levels that happen when those carbs are absorbed into the bloodstream. Several studies suggest that a carb blocker may not only help keep blood sugar levels from rising, they may also help those levels return to normal faster after a spike. However, more clinical research is needed regarding those claims.
May Help Produce Good Starches
In addition to blocking the absorption of complex carbs that may contribute to weight gain and high blood sugar, a carb blocker can also actually help support the production of good carbs that become resistant starches. Resistant starches are found in foods like raw potatoes, unripe bananas, legumes, and certain whole grains. These mighty compounds are similar to fiber in that they cannot be digested by the small intestine, so they pass straight through to the large intestine where they team up with gut-friendly bacteria to aid in digestion, insulin sensitivity, appetite suppression, and blood sugar management. Since a carb blocker helps complex carbs pass through the small intestine without being absorbed, there’s a good chance those undigested carbs will turn into the resistant starches that help your colon function well.
What Types of Carb Blockers Should You Use?
Now that we’ve discussed some of the main potential benefits of a carb blocker, let’s talk about how to get this mighty compound into your body to do its good work!
Foods that Act as a Carb Blocker
While perhaps the most effective way to experience the potential benefits of a carb blocker is through a dietary supplement, there are also many foods that contain carb blocking compounds. Here are a few of our favorites.
White kidney beans are perhaps the most popular carb blocking food, and they’re often the food that is drawn from to create carb blocker supplements. Several studies show that the compounds in white kidney beans can alter the way that enzymes work to break down carbs.
Green vegetables like broccoli and green beans are also good sources of carb blocking power, due in large part to the amount of chromium they contain. This essential trace element is needed by the human body in small amounts, and studies have shown that it may help with weight management, athletic performance, and other medical conditions.
Foods with a low glycemic index such as grapefruit, nuts, and lentils can also act as carb blockers on a small scale. Foods with a low glycemic index may not directly block the absorption of carbs, but they do help reduce the effects of carbs like spiked blood sugar and increased feelings of hunger.
Natural Carb Blocker Supplements
There are many carb blocker supplements that can help promote weight management. These dietary aids help inhibit the amount of complex carbs that your body absorbs and may curb food cravings to help meet your weight management goals. Here are our top three picks, all available from Natural Healthy Concepts.
Carb-Down by DaVinci are gluten-free, vegetarian capsules that contain a unique combination of natural extracts to support healthy weight management. These capsules can promote fat burning and support healthy blood sugar levels already in the normal range, and they may also help neutralize the production of calories from complex carbs.
Integra-Lean African Mango Irvingia by Life Extension are capsules containing nutrients extracting from white kidney beans that act as a natural, vegetarian carb blocker. They promote appetite control and weight management by helping to block the absorption of carbs and promote healthy weight control.
Super Konjac Diet by Bio Nutrition are vegetarian capsules that feature carb blocking elements, such as konjac root fiber, white kidney bean extract, and green tea extract, which are designed to suppress hunger, burn fat, and slow the absorption of carbs.
How will you start blocking your carbs and living your best life? Whether you’re choosing to eat whole foods or getting some extra help from one of our favorite supplements, we would love to know more about your journey with carb blocker options. Leave us a note in the comments below!