Starch is a carbohydrate that is made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms and is naturally found in lots of grains and vegetables–wheat, rice, potatoes, cassava–you name it. Many people depend on carbohydrates and starch to function because it can be a primary source of our energy. (You’ve likely seen other articles I’ve written on how the body can use ketones from fat as the main energy source as well, in the absence of starch, and depending on the person, either can be a healthy approach).
But since I get a lot of questions about starch and weight loss, I thought it’d be helpful to dedicate today’s newsletter to looking at starch and a growing area of study in the field of weight loss involving blocking starch absorption.
Our body uses starch by digesting it and converting it into sugar or glucose which our cells use to produce energy. Others are stored as fats. So it seems reasonable that the quickest way to gain weight–and perhaps be overweight–is to consistently have an oversupply of carbohydrates (aka consistently eating too much of it) without burning them or converting them into energy.
This is why many people try to go on a low-carb diet. For some, this is a great approach–they feel wonderful when they eat this way! Others, for various reasons, either struggle to make this way of eating a habit or actually notice health declines when they go too low-carb. The research on starch blockers has evolved to support weight loss in people who struggle to reduce dietary carb/starch intake.
Let me give you an example:
Phase 2 Carb Controller, a supplemental extract of white kidney beans that has been well studied, has been found to reduce the absorption of carbohydrates. It does so by acting on amylase, the enzyme found in the digestive tract that converts starch and glycogen into sugars. According to clinical studies, Phase 2 reduces the digestion and absorption of starches up to 66% (does not appear to effect fiber absorption).
A review of 10 clinical studies concluded that taking the supplement resulted in more weight loss than the placebo group when taken concurrently with meals containing carbohydrates. Weight loss over 3 months was an average of 6.5 lbs. vs. 2 lbs., respectively.
Some people do experience digestive symptoms such as increased gas and bloating when taking these supplements.
Now, eating some starch is part of a balanced diet. Starch and fiber both contribute to the food supply of your healthy gut bugs. I don’t think it is healthy to eat tons of starch and miss out on protein or healthy fats and I also don’t think it’s healthy to eat no carbs (think veggies, fruits). It’s really important to listen to your body and eat in alignment with how you feel best!
I find the research on blocking starch absorption and weight loss to be most helpful to those of you who really struggle to sustain a healthy weight while maintaining consistent diet and lifestyle practices rather than to be thought of as a quick fix or magic pill.
It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.
If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!
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Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!