Carb blockers, also known as starch blockers, are a fairly recent, small supplement category that takes advantage of the low carb approach to dieting.
Most Carb Blockers contain an extract of Phaseolus Vulgaris, the botanical name for the kidney bean. White kidney bean is the most common ingredient and is often supplemented with other ingredients such as chromium, vanadium, and fenugreek.
The idea behind carb blockers is that they will prevent the enzyme alpha-amylase from binding with starchy carbohydrates, such as potatoes, pasta, grains, to name a few. This enzyme is produced in the saliva and breaks down the carbohydrates into molecules that the body will absorb. By preventing this process from happening, the carbohydrate will pass through the body: they pass through the digestive tract and are eliminated. Most products claim to prevent 30 and 45 grams of carbohydrates from being absorbed.
- Prevent the absorption of carbohydrates thereby helping with fat loss
Carb blockers work by limiting the absorption of carbohydrates in your diet. They do this by "blocking" the breakdown of carbohydrates into energy. If carbohydrates are broken down into glucose and not used by the body as energy immediately, or if you eat more carbohydrates then your body requires, they will be stored as fat. By preventing the absorption and breakdown of some of the carbohydrates in a meal, carb blockers may prevent excess fat storage. Actually, this is an area that needs to be better understood, because the average dieter has no idea of the role carbohydrates play in the body. In fact, part of the reason we have the obesity epidemic we have today is because people do not understand the function of the food we eat. The average person sees food as a source of enjoyment. Many foods have been “developed” to fill that role but that is not the fundamental purpose! Each type of food – be it protein, carbohydrates or fats – serve a definite role in the daily functioning of the body.
The primary function of carbohydrates is to provide fuel, or energy to the body. Once those needs are met, any excess will be stored as fat. Now contrast that to the types of “foods” that are offered to the general public – things that are overloaded with sugar, fat and overall calories. It's no wonder people are over-weight! The average bodybuilder or fitness enthusiast understands this – or should understand it! This means that they are in control of the calories they eat and that their meals are designed to fulfill a specific purpose at a specific time. Does that mean carb blockers are of no use to that type of person? No, because they can be of aid to anyone trying to lean out for whatever the reason: maybe you are a competition bodybuilder getting ready for a show or maybe you just want to look good on the beach. These are both good reasons. In fact, some people will use them specifically on “cheat” days to prevent an excess of carbohydrates from being absorbed.
This is not a big category at all. Most the products I found are pretty simple combinations of white kidney bean and a few supporting nutrients. Of course, some of them get pretty involved and add in a number of other nutrients, like a caffeine source, antioxidant blends and so on. If fat loss is the goal, I can see and would suggest a caffeine source as that can boost the metabolism helping to promote faster fat loss. I would recommend adding some other effective products to your program, such as a fat blocker and thyroid support product for best results.
Timing is always before meals, primarily meals that contain a large amount of carbohydrates. Dosage should be as directed on the label, be sure and read the label carefully before buying and using.