First things first. I am not addressing any type of medical issues such as diabetes with this article. If you are diabetic and your physician has directed you to use an over the counter type carb blocker, then by all means, do what your physician has told you. This article is directed entirely towards those who are trying to lose weight by controlling their carbohydrate intake.
I do use a few dietary supplements to enhance my needs. But despite this, I feel that a large percentage of what you can find on the shelves in any store amounts to a bunch of worthless garbage. You have to be knowledgeable and selective of what you spend your money on in any supplement store you patronize. In any store you might venture into, you will find supplements designed to appeal to the gullible and the desperate. And the majority of these will be marketed towards those who feel the need for help in weight loss or weight management.
What are carb blockers?
I cannot stress this point enough, if you’re considering using any product marketed for weight loss, talk to your doctor or a dietitian first. Ask yourself if it sounds too good to be true, and be skeptical. If it sounds too good to be true, then you know damn well it is.
Starches are complex carbohydrates that cannot be absorbed unless they are first broken down by the digestive enzyme amylase. Amylase inhibitors, also called starch blockers, prevent starches from being absorbed by the body. When amylase is blocked, those carbs pass through the body undigested, so you don’t absorb the calories.
Or at least that is the theory…
There are indeed some legitimate starch/carb blockers which require a doctor’s prescription. They are called acarbose (Precose), and miglitol (Glyset). These are used as treatments for blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes.
There are also starch blockers that are sold without a prescription as supplements.
What’s the difference?
Prescription drugs have to prove to the FDA that they are safe and effective. Supplements don’t. Because of the lack of oversight, you can’t be sure of what’s in a supplement. Some supplements may have unlisted ingredients such as stimulants, that could be dangerous for people with diabetes and or heart issues. This has been enough of a problem in past years that the FDA has sent warning letters to makers of non-prescription carb blockers for their misleading marketing claims such as being weight loss aids which allow you to eat as many carbs as you desire without providing any calories.
Carb blockers only prevent a portion of the carbs you eat from being digested. At best, they appear to block 50–65% of carb-digesting enzymes.
It’s important to note that inhibiting these enzymes does not necessarily mean the same proportion of carbs will be blocked.
One study examining a strong carb blocker found that even though it could inhibit 97% of the enzymes, it only prevented 7% of the carbs from being absorbed.
This may happen because carb blockers don’t directly prevent carbs from being absorbed. They may simply increase the amount of time it takes for the enzymes to digest them.
On top of that, the complex carbs affected by carb blockers make up only part of the carbs in most people’s diets. (1)
For most people trying to lose weight, the added sugars in their foods are a bigger problem. Added sugars are almost exclusively simple carbs like sucrose, glucose or fructose.
These sugars are not affected by carb blockers!
There are some claims that carb blockers will keep you from being as hungry, because in addition to blocking carb digestion, carb blockers may affect some of the hormones involved in hunger and fullness. One reason for this effect may be because bean extracts also contain phytohaemagglutinin. This compound can increase the levels of some hormones involved in fullness.
One rat study found that the phytohaemagglutinin in carb blockers did cause a significant decrease in food intake. The rats that had been given the compound ate between 25–90% less. However, this effect lasted only a few days. By the eighth day of the experiment, the effects had worn off and the rats ate just as much as before. To compound the problem, once they stopped taking carb blockers, the rats ate up to 50% more than before to compensate and returned to their previous weights. (2)
Carb blockers are not the magic bullet people want them to be. They don’t block all carbs, or even half of them, and they very often cause gastrointestinal side effects like diarrhea and gas. Even the most favorable studies can only find a 2-pound average benefit for weight loss with long-term use, that’s just not a great use of your money. Remember this next time you are pondering whether you should use a carb blocker or not; supplement studies are usually funded by the company that makes them. You have to ask yourself if their claims actually straddle the fence between actual research or is it clever advertising instead.
If losing weight was a easy as simply taking a pill, their would no longer be an obesity epidemic now would there?
If you desire healthy weight loss, follow us at David’s Way to Health and Fitness where we take a holistic, whole body approach to weight loss and management. Our simple methodology revolves around a lifestyle instead of a diet, there is no endpoint.
We promote healthy eating and exercise for a healthy body and sound mind.
David’s Way is a healthy nutrition and active lifestyle based on years of personal experience and scientific research. Our methodology involves the consumption of a high protein, low carbohydrate, nutritionally sound and diabetic friendly diet.
At David’s Way to Health and Fitness we don’t tell you what to eat so much as we tell you what not to eat. This is no weight loss gimmick, this simple plan is how our mothers, grandmothers and generations past used to feed us. It is simply a matter of using portion control when consuming healthy, whole foods, while avoiding foods that are not nutritionally sound. In other words, do not consume anything that does not provide you a nutritional benefit.
At David’s Way, we advise you to maintain a regular exercise regimen, and to count and track your calories and macro-nutrients in order to ensure you are eating enough, and also that you are not eating too little which is detrimental to your metabolism. For your personal caloric needs, simply go to our menu and click on Calorie Counter Pro and enter your information and get a customized calorie count to suit your individual needs. Your personal information is only visible to you, as we respect and follow all HIPPA privacy laws. We advise entering your information to lose one pound per week in order to ensure that you have plenty to eat and still manage to lose body fat in a healthy manner and comfortably.
At David’s Way our first and foremost intention is to help people live a nutritionally sound lifestyle in order to improve or maintain your health. The vast amount of content on this blog will always be free to you. We promise to never treat you as a perpetual stream of income as some other weight loss businesses are prone to do. Lastly, as a method of lowering the stress of weight loss and or management, we encourage our followers to focus on achieving a healthy body fat percentage over trying to achieve a specific or random number on the scales. We welcome all questions and comments and can be reached by e-mail through the Contact tab on our blog menu. We promise you will hear personally from either one or both of us.
- Do not consume sugar or simple carbs such as refined sugar, pasta and breads made of refined white flour. Avoid sugar sweetened drinks and alcoholic beverages as they are loaded in simple carbohydrates.
- Foods containing added sugar and simple carbohydrates will spike your blood sugar and insulin which will drive your cravings for more. If you have not had control over sugar and simple carbohydrates in the past, it is unlikely you will keep them under control in the future if you have been prone to binge eating. If you are addicted to simple carbs you will almost certainly have the same issues as an alcoholic who thinks he can enjoy just one drink. This might work occasionally, but will usually derail the individual entirely.
- The only caveat to not consuming simple carbs is fruit. The fiber in fruit acts to buffer the simple carbohydrates in them from just dumping into your bloodstream like happens when you eat sugar and other simple carbohydrates.
- In our recipe category, we have subcategories with plenty of sugar free dessert recipes that are delicious, and can be eaten by anyone including diabetics, while not having to concern yourself with the health issues and cravings which come from sugar.
- No processed foods as they are almost always high in sugar, sodium, unhealthy fats and preservatives.
- While there are some processed foods that are nutritionally sound, most are not. If you are going to consume processed foods because of the convenience factor, be sure to read the label first. For example, if you purchase a sauce, read the label to identify whether the product contains added sugar, unhealthy fats, high amounts of sodium and any other ingredients which you might have to do a Google search of in order to even know what it might be.
- Simply put, we encourage you to eat whole foods such as meats, seafood, vegetables, fruits and dairy products that are easily prepared at home. Skip restaurants and fast food’s unless you know that you are able to make healthy choices from their menu.
- An example of a healthy choice in a restaurant would be meat and vegetable fajitas in a Mexican restaurant. You could enjoy this while skipping the flour tortillas and the corn tortillas and salsa that is usually served. Have a unsweetened drink with your meal instead of a soda pop or alcoholic beverage.
- Be sure to track how many calories a day you consume and do not exceed the amount your body requires. Just as important, you want to ensure you are not under eating.
- If you find yourself going over on one day, simply eat lighter the next day and do not stress over it. One day is not going to derail your weight loss, especially if you are eating healthy, whole foods only. You can do an average of your daily caloric intake for the week, and if your average does not exceed what it would be if your calories were spot on each day, there is no need for worry about weight gain.
- If you have an exercise regimen, you will especially want to track your caloric intake in order to ensure you are consuming enough calories to fuel your physical activities. Too large a caloric deficit will cause you to lose lean muscle mass along with body fat. This will only serve to slow down your metabolism.
- Be sure during your weight loss mode to eat a diet that is high in protein and lower in carbs, Do not skip out on healthy fats either as they are essential for good health and proper absorption of nutrients from the foods you eat.
- A diet that is higher in protein and which includes healthy fats will keep you satiated between meals far better than a diet that is higher in carbohydrates than protein.
- During your weight loss, try to consume no less than 35% and up to 50% of your calories from a variety of protein sources. Meats, seafood, dairy, eggs and even protein shakes that do not contain sugar. Once you are maintaining your weight, try to eat at least 35% of your calories from protein sources. Track your macronutrients!
- If you have a vigorous exercise regimen such as strength training and or running, be sure to eat from .8 grams to 1 gram per pound of body weight if you are female. And 1 gram to 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight if you are male. Protein is a must in order to maintain, build and repair your lean muscle tissue which gets broken down during vigorous exercise.
- Be accountable to yourself! Besides tracking your calories and macro-nutrients, weigh yourself no more than once per week, and aim for only a 1 pound per week weight loss, and no more than 2 pounds per week.
- Be consistent in your weigh in. Do it on the same day each week, at the same time of day and in the same clothing or lack thereof. We recommend weighing yourself before you even get dressed, and before you have anything to eat and drink.
- Practice Intermittent Fasting on the 16:8 protocol. This means to fast for 16 hours and then eat all of your allotted calories for the day during your 8 hour eating window.
- You can build yourself up to 16:8 by first starting with 12:12 then 14:10 before going 16:8. By consuming enough protein along with healthy fats, you will find this much easier than you might think. With the elimination of added sugar and simple carbohydrates, you will feel hungry, but the hunger will not be unbearable as when you are craving simple carbs.
- David’s Way is NOT Keto. Keto only allows you to consume about 50 grams of carbs per day. We advocate you target 100 to 150 grams of complex carbohydrates per day, with 125 grams as a target number. 16:8 Intermittent Fasting while on high protein and low carb will drive you into ketosis for weight loss. But again, we are not a Keto plan.
- Aim for a healthy body fat percentage as an ultimate goal over a specific number on the scale. Everyone has fluctuations in their body weight from day to day, and from morning to night. These fluctuations are from water weight. If you are aiming for a healthy body fat over a specific number, you will find weight loss to be less stressful. Your weight can fluctuate by 5 pounds or more with no impact on your level of body fat.
Again, David’s Way is about living a healthy lifestyle over living on a diet. We believe in keeping it simple, thereby reducing the level of stress which can come when on a weight loss mindset. What we advocate is nothing new under the sun, this lifestyle is just how life used to be lived before the epidemic of rampant obesity in America. It is about personal responsibility and accountability to self and loved ones as your health will always become a burden on others should you allow it to. Someone will always have to pick up the broken pieces behind you should you live a unhealthy lifestyle. Do not allow yourself to become a burden to your loved ones simply because of a lack of dietary control or discipline.
You are better than this, and your loved ones deserve better.