What are carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates are the sugars naturally present in the food we consume every day. These sugars can form chains in which case they become known as Starch (or Complex carbohydrates).
The energy needs these sugars in order to function, these sugars are what we refer to as energy. Because we consume complex carbohydrates, they need to be digested and broken down into individual sugars before our body can use them as energy.
If our carb intake is more than we need for daily function and we do not burn the energy off by exercising, the excess sugars are stored as fat.
How do carb blockers work?
Alpha amylase is an enzyme contained in the digestive system whos role is to metabolize carbohydrates and break them down into glucose. Carbohydrate blockers target this enzyme, preventing it from working. Without glucose being available to be turned into fat, it becomes very difficult to put on weight from overindulging with carbs.
The carbohydrates that have been prevented from being absorbed are simply passed through the body undigested. Blood sugar levels rise immediately after a meal, and carbohydrates can cause a large spike in blood sugar levels.
Shortly after a carb laden meal your blood sugar levels crash back down again, which can trick the body into thinking it is still full.By preventing some carbs from releasing their sugars into the blood stream. Carb blockers should help with hunger pangs too.
Who should take a carb blocker?
Some people struggle with a sweet tooth, craving sweets and cakes. If you snack on sugary foods a carb blocker may not be the best option because they do not prevent the absorption of sugars. They only prevent these sugars from being released by carbohydrates in the first place.
On the other hand, if you crave carb heavy foods such as bread and pasta a carb blocker may be the best choice. People who are on the low carb diet the Atkins diet often turn to carb blockers if they find it difficult to cut down on carbs using their willpower alone.
Do carb blockers have side effects?
Two issues arise from taking carbohydrate blockers. The first being that you cannot ensure 100% of the carbs you eat remain undigested. This is because the lower digestive tracts contain many other enzymes that can break down carbs into their constituent parts.
The second is that a potential side effect of gas can occur, although this tends to settle down over time.
Not all carb blockers are created equal, one diet pill known as Decarb claims to reduce carbohydrate absorption by 66%.