It can be difficult to control your weight during a food-focused vacation with starchy side dishes and sugary desserts. Stress can also attract you to foods that are high in carbohydrates and high in calories.
Unless you are on a special low-carb diet, you about half of your daily calories from carbohydrates (carbs). For someone consuming 2000 calories per day, that would be 250 grams (g) of carbohydrate.
Could supposedly "Carbohydrate Blocker" Supplements, sometimes called starch blockers, allow you to enjoy high carbohydrate foods without the full calorie load?
Carbohydrate Digestion 101
Digestible carbohydrates come in two main forms: simple or complex. Carbohydrate blockers can work on one form of carbohydrate but not others. It is therefore important to understand the difference between the types of carbohydrates.
- Simple carbohydrates - Include sugar and other calorie sweeteners. They are commonly added to candy, baked goods, ice cream, soda, and other processed foods. Some simple carbohydrates are found naturally in food, especially fruit and milk.
- Complex carbohydrates - Are better known as starch and are made up of longer and more complex chains of sugar molecules. They are mainly found in grain-based foods (like bread, pasta, cereals, crackers, and chips), legumes (beans and peas), and vegetables (especially starches like corn and apples. earthen).
Your body breaks down complex carbohydrates with the help of amylase digestive enzymes. Once the starch is broken down into smaller units, other enzymes finish the job.
The end result of carbohydrate digestion is unique sugars that can be absorbed in your small intestine. Once you've absorbed the sugars, you can use them for energy or store them as fat. In other words, you glean their calories. But what if you could outsmart this system with a carb blocker?
What are carbohydrate blockers?†
"Carbohydrate blockers" are supplements designed to interfere with the digestion of carbohydrates. How do they do that?
“Carbohydrate blockers bind to digestive enzymes that normally break down carbohydrates into smaller molecules,” says Jay Udani, MD, an intern in Agoura Hills, Calif., Who has co-authored several studies on carbohydrate blocking supplements. . "It can help prevent or slow down the digestion of carbohydrates."
Preventing the digestion of carbohydrates can reduce the calories you get from carbohydrates. It can also help reduce spikes in blood sugar and insulin when you eat carbohydrates. These effects can improve your weight.
The most common type of Carbohydrate blocking supplement is made from white bean extracts (Phaseolus vulgaris). These supplements are designed to interfere with the digestion of complex carbohydrates.
Do Carbohydrate Blocker Supplements Work?†
Phase 2®, a standardized white bean extract, is the most studied natural carbohydrate blocking ingredient. Udani and other scientists have examined the effects of this carbohydrate blocker on weight and body fat in a review of 14 human clinical studies.
Participants in these studies were overweight or obese and took at least 1,200 milligrams (mg) of the carb blocker per day for 1 to 3 months. Compared to a placebo, people taking the carb blocker while following their usual diet:
- Lost an average of 2 1/2 pounds more weight†
- Lost an average of 7 pounds of extra body fat (suggesting a possible beneficial change in their body composition)†
A previous examination white bean extracts have not always been found in clinical studies to help with weight loss. This was probably due to the variability in the quality of the bean extracts tested. Additionally, the bean extracts developed in the early 1980s were made with inferior technology, resulting in limited effectiveness. Better options are available today.
Still, you should have realistic expectations.
“Like most supplements designed to reduce weight, consumers tend to overestimate the benefits,” Udani says. “Don't expect a carb blocker to help you lose 20 pounds and three dress sizes in a week. Instead, use the supplements in combination with an overall healthy change in your diet and lifestyle. "
Tips for taking carb blockers†
To get the most benefit from carb blocking supplements, you need to take them with certain types of meals, in the right doses and at the right time.
"Carbohydrate blocking supplements made from red bean extract only work if you eat complex carbohydrates," says Udani. "If you eat a meal that is all protein and fat, these supplements won't do anything."
For example, if you follow a strict keto diet and having a very low carbohydrate intake, there won't be a lot of starch to block. This means that the carb blocker won't have a substantial impact on the calories you get from your meal. (An exception is if you have a higher carbohydrate “cheat meal”.)
Also remember that bean extract carbohydrate blockers only work on complex carbs, not simple carbs. So, don't expect these carb blockers to help if you overindulge in candy, soda, and ice cream, which mostly contain simple carbs.
The dosage and timing of carb blockers are also important. In studies among red bean-based carbohydrate blockers, people typically received 500 to 3,000 mg of the supplement per day. It is best to spread the daily dose over your meals with the highest carbohydrate content.
In addition, some evidence suggests that you should take carbohydrate blockers about 10 minutes before eating. Udani explains that you need to allow time for the supplement capsule to dissolve in your gut. At least he advises taking the supplements before your first bite of complex carbohydrates.
Carbohydrate blockers are generally well tolerated, especially after your gut get used to them. “There are individual cases reports some people with digestive symptoms such as bloating or loose stools, ”explains Udani. "But, these seem to resolve themselves after a few days of using the supplements."
If you have diabetes, consult your doctor before taking a carbohydrate supplement.
Control of carbohydrate intake
The goal is not to eliminate all carbohydrates. Remember that nutritious plant foods like sweet potatoes and blueberries are mostly made up of carbohydrates. The most important thing is to eat healthy carbohydrates most of the time and limit highly processed ones.
The recommended dietary intake for carbohydrates for adults without diabetes is 130 g per day, which is sometimes considered a "minimum daily carbohydrate requirement". This is based in part on your brain's need for glucose (carbohydrates) for fuel.
However, your body can convert some components of fat and protein into glucose. That's why people who eat only 20-50g of net carbs (which doesn't include fiber) per day on a ketogenic diet can still fuel their brains. That said, you need to be careful to make sure that you get all the nutrients you need with such a restrictive diet.
If you find processed carbs like breakfast pastries, cookies, and cakes calling you a little too often, you may need to tackle your cravings head-on. Remember, most carb blocking supplements aren't formulated to help with the simple carbs in these treats.
To help tame carbohydrate cravings†, try:
- Chromium - This essential mineral supports blood sugar control and good insulin activity, which can impact food cravings. Research suggests 200-1000 micrograms Chromium picolinate daily can help fight carbohydrate cravings.†
- 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) - This compound is the immediate precursor to tryptophan, an amino acid that your body needs to make serotonin. When serotonin levels drop, they inclined to do while on a diet, carbohydrate cravings may increase. Complete with 5-HTP can help support serotonin levels so that you aren't overly tempted by carbohydrates.†
- Gymnema sylvestre - The compounds of this herb can temporarily block sweet taste receptors on your tongue, which can help control cravings for sugary foods. For example, a study found that sucking a Gymnema the lozenge has helped people eat less chocolate. In addition, the herb can help inhibit the absorption of glucose (sugar) in your gut.†
- Balanced - Aim for balance in your meals and snacks. Eat foods that provide protein, healthy fat and fiber supports a feeling of fullness. It might also help you eliminate carb cravings.
Remember, carb blockers are just one of the many tools you can use to help you manage your weight. You should also watch what you eat and get regular physical activity. And other supplements can help reduce carbohydrate cravings.
†These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
But skipping abdominal strengtheners can have a big effect on your mobility and independence — and not for the better.
The abdominal groupes de muscles ( often called the abs ) include not just the visible ' six-pack ' or rectus abdominis groupes de muscles in the front of your abdomen, but also the obliques in the front and side of your abdomen and the transverse abdominis across your lower abdomen. ' The transverse abdominis is the inner bourrinage underneath the outer abdominal layers. It provides stability around the spine, ' Brown explains.
The abs are part of your core, the collection of groupes de muscles that act as your foundation. In addition to your abs, your core includes the groupes de muscles along your spine, near your shoulder blades, in your hips and buttocks, and in your pelvis.
You must work all your core groupes de muscles to stay strong and réactive. ' We need that strong core or base so that the arms and legs can perform well, ' Brown explains.
What if you don’t mind doing shoulder, hip, and back bourrinage exercises, but can’t stand the ab workout ? You’re putting your entire core in jeopardy. ' If your core isn’t durable and strong, you increase the risk for injury and falls when you lift something or walk, ' Brown says. A weak core also makes it to turn, bend, and get dressed.
Starting place : Kneel on all fours with your hands and knees directly aligned under your shoulders and hips. Keep your head and spine neutral.
Move of the month : Abdominal contractionPhotography : Michael CarrollStarting place : Kneel on all fours with your hands and knees directly aligned under your shoulders and hips. Keep your head and spine neutral. Movement : Exhale as you tighten your abdominal groupes musculaires by pulling them up toward your spine. Keep your spine neutral ( no arching your back ! ). Hold. Release your abdominal groupes musculaires and return to the starting place. Do this eight to 10 times, then rest for 30 to 90 seconds. If you can, repeat the sequence.
Abdominal exercises don’t have to include crunches, and you don’t have to do a long ab workout. You may find it more palatable to sprinkle ab exercises throughout the day. ' Shorter bouts of exercise can still contribute to better health and function, ' Brown says. The key is to make each ab exercise count by ' activating ' the muscles.
Can’t think of ways to fit abdominal exercises into your schedule ? Check out the Harvard Special Health Report Gentle Core ( www. health. harvard. edu/gc ), and consider the following tricks.
Watch TV from the floor. You probably did this when you were a kid. Try it now, and maybe you’ll be more likely to do an ab exercise, like modified push-ups ( leaning on your forearms instead of your hands ). ' Or try lying on your back with your knees bent, ' suggests Brown. ' Then activate the abdominal groupes musculaires by drawing in your belly button toward the spine. '
Use phone time. Stand with your back flat against the wall while chatting on the phone. Activate your abs. ' Draw in your belly button again, and push yourself against the wall, ' says Brown
Take a break from work. Whether you’re in the kitchen or at the office, you can do a modified push-up against a desk or counter.
Don’t just stand there. Sneak in an exercise while you stand in line at the bank or grocery checkout. ' Do a single-leg stand and slightly lift your leg off the floor while activating your core groupes de muscles, ' Brown suggests. ' Keep your chest high and your shoulder blades down and back. '
March in place. Next time you’re brushing your teeth, march in place. ' Make it intentional. Draw in the abdominals and keep your hips level, so they’re not swiveling, ' Brown adds
You can even activate the abdominal groupes musculaires while you’re walking. ' Just be very intentional about it, ' says Brown. Think about position and force activation with each step. The more often you activate your abs, the stronger they’ll become, making ab workouts a lot less daunting.