Obesity Weight Loss Drugs Carb Blockers

Natural carb blockers are over-the-counter weight loss products that have seen a surge of popularity since low-carb diets became widespread. Carb-blocker pills supposedly prevent the body from digesting starches and carbohydrates. Although popular, the effectiveness of carb blockers is a matter of opinion.

Carb Blockers and Low-Carb Diets

Low-carb diets restrict carbohydrate intake in order to achieve weight loss. While many people lose weight (or at least achieve short-term weight loss) on a low-carb diet, many people often crave carbohydrates. By taking carb blocker pills, these people hope to be able to eat carbohydrates, while also losing weight. So, do natural carb blockers work?

How Carb Blockers Work

The main ingredient in most carb blocker pills is an extract from the white kidney bean plant, called phaseolamin. In theory, phaseolamin blocks an enzyme called alpha-amylase, which converts carbohydrates into sugar. If carb blockers work as their manufacturers claim, this results in the excretion of carbohydrates from the body before they are digested and absorbed into the bloodstream.

In addition to phaseolamin, carb blocker pills often include other ingredients that supposedly help control blood sugar levels, including:

  • Chromium
  • Fenugreek
  • Vanadium.

Do Carb Blockers Work?

Whether carb blockers work is a matter of opinion, as very few clinical trials have examined carb blockers’ effects on weight loss. Anecdotal evidence on online carb blockers’ review sites suggests that either the pills provide some weight loss, or at the very least, people taking them believe they help reduce weight.

Others views aren’t as positive. While phaseolamin does impair the action of alpha-amylase in a laboratory setting, carb blocker critics aren’t convinced that the same benefits will be seen in the human digestive system. Put simply, carb blocker critics suggest the pills, as well as their active ingredients, are digested and absorbed too quickly to prevent carbohydrate absorption.

Side Effects of Carb Blocker Pills

As with all weight loss products, you’ll want to discuss carb blocker pills with your doctor before use. Carb blocker side effects include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • Heartburn.

Good Carbs, Bad Carbs and Natural Carb blockers

The debate on carb blockers may be a moot point, as the main motivation for taking carb blockers is the belief that all carbohydrates are somehow “bad.” This belief, encouraged by the low-carb diet fad, is somewhat misguided. The human body needs a certain amount of carbohydrates for health and energy.

If you’re trying to lose weight, avoid refined carbohydrates, commonly found in white bread, processed white sugar and white flour. Instead, choose complex carbohydrates, like those found in whole-grain pastas and breads.


Anne Collins Weight Loss Program. (n.d.). Carb blockers. Retrieved April 27, 2010, from http://www.calorie-counter.net/diet-supplements/carb-blockers.htm.

Free Dieting. (2010). Carb blockers. Retrieved April 27, 2010, from http://www.freedieting.com/carb_blocker.htm.

Mann, D. (2005). Starch blocker: Low-carb diet help? Retrieved April, 27 2010, from http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=52334.