In the past, white kidney bean supplements have been widely promoted as a type of “starch blocker”, a weight loss aid said to work by interfering with the digestion of starch. There’s a substance in white kidney beans that inhibits the enzyme, amylase, which is used by the body to digest carbohydrates. Simply, there is a theory that if a portion of the carbohydrates one consumes are actually not digested because of a starch blocker, a reduced calorie intake would occur.
Unfortunately the majority of older published studies had failed to prove this theory to be true. While a handful of studies did report some positive results, they were never published in complete form and therefore, they didn’t make any scientific impact. However, things started looking up for white kidney beans in 2007. That year, a relevant trial was published in its entirety in an international journal.
The trail was a double-blind, placebo controlled study where 60 slightly overweight subjects were given either a placebo or a highly concentrated white kidney bean extract once a day, a ½ hour prior to a carbohydrate-rich meal.
During the course of 30 days, it was seen that the white kidney bean extract did lead to a significant body fat reduction when compared to the placebo. Reduction in regards to waist, hip and thigh measurements as well as that of both body mass index and fat mass were also documented.
These results are quite promising so far. However, more large trial studies need to be done in order to give more leverage to the effectiveness of white kidney beans as a starch blocker.
If you wish to try out white kidney bean supplements, be sure to consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications.
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Celleno L, Tolaini MV, D’Amore A, et al. A dietary supplement containing standardized Phaseolus vulgaris extract influences body composition of overweight men and women. Int J Med Sci . 2007;4:45-52.