What Are Carb-Blocking Pills?

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Carb-blocking pills, also known as starch blockers, prevent the breakdown and absorption of carbohydrates in the body, which is meant to help people lose weight. Research carb-blocking pills, some of which can cause digestive upset, with information from a registered and licensed dietitian in this free video on healthy eating.

Part of the Video Series: Health & Nutrition
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Video Transcript

My name is Christine Marquette and I'm a registered and licensed dietitian with Marquette Nutrition and Fitness and I'm going to ask what are carb blocking pills? Carb blocking pills have actually evolved over the last couple of decades. When they initially came out they were known as starch blockers and the whole concept behind them was to prevent your body from breaking down the starch or from absorbing the calories from starch. Some of the initial carb blocking pills that came out on the market didn't last very long because they caused all kinds of problems in the people that were trying to take them, primarily digestive upset, a lot of gas, bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain, those types of symptoms. So a lot of the initial carb blockers are no longer on the market however they are constantly evolving. Manufacturers are still trying to develop a carb blocking pill and the whole thought process behind developing a carb blocking pill is to help people lose weight. There is the thought that if you don't absorb all of the calories from a carbohydrate that that will help you lose weight. The thing to keep in mind again though is that your body needs a certain amount of carbohydrate. That is your primary source of fuel that's what gives your body energy. It is the preferred fuel source for your brain so you need to absorb some carbohydrate. You don't really want to block the absorption of carbohydrate. The other thought process behind that type of product is in people who have diabetes who are trying to control their blood sugar. Again they still need some carbohydrate and it is best not to try to rely on some type of pill that is going to prevent the absorption of carbohydrate. The easier thing to do or the more consistent thing for your body to do is actually just control your carbohydrate intake meaning limit how many servings of carbohydrate you are consuming at each given meal or snack. If you are trying to rely on a carb blocking pill to allow you to eat something that perhaps is not the healthiest thing, say for example you want to have a big old piece of cake or you want to have some ice cream and you think by taking a carb blocking pill that will prevent your body's blood sugar from getting too high or prevent you from gaining weight it will not necessarily work that way. How extensive that particular pill may prevent from absorbing the carbohydrate will vary person to person so you may not get consistent results with it. So ideally rather than relying on a carb blocking pill since they are not very consistent in exactly how much they prevent absorption you would actually just control your carbohydrate intake, limit your carbohydrate intake to prevent blood sugar or to prevent weight gain.


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