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Can White Kidney Bean Extract Help You Lose Weight?

White Kidney Bean extract has starch blocking abilities, which can ease the detrimental effects of carbohydrates on the body. Before we can really understand if that means it can help you lose weight, we need to know how body weight works.

Weight Homeostasis


Contrary to how it may feel sometimes your body is not in the business of storing needless weight, in fact you body does not want your weight to change at all. While the mechanism is yet to be understood, there are several homeostatic factors at play in your body that are dedicated to keeping your body at a consistent weight. This is called
weight homeostasis


To overcome the weight homeostasis and get the ball rolling in either direction it is going to take some force, just like Newton's first law: an object at rest tends to stay at rest; an object in motion tends to stay in motion.

 

An Analogy of Weight Homeostasis

Have you ever tried to push a piece of furniture that just wouldn’t move? At first you push as much as you can and it won’t budge. Maybe you decide that you really have to put your all into it or maybe you recruit a friend, but you push again - a little harder. 


This time, it begins to slide a little. Then, all at once it gives way and you can push it across the room. What has just happened is that you overcame static friction. You may have heard of friction before, but as it turns out the friction force on an object depends on if the object is moving or not. Moving objects have less friction! 


In the same way, your body has a static friction constant that keeps it from moving, but when it does then it moves further with the same amount of effort.

Body Fat Percentage

In the real world, this means that during sedentary periods your muscles tend to atrophy and you store more energy molecules in the form of fat; vise-versa is also the case assuming your diet has the protein intake to build back the muscles. 


The change of “body fat percentage” is what is actually taking place during these periods even though the weight itself is not changing. This is why body fat percentage is generally a better predictor of overall health than weight alone, since weight can vary wildly with different bone structures and genetics. 


Although, the amount of fat, namely having copious amounts of fat, has been shown to come with other health risk factors and should definitely be attended to.

Calories In, Calories Out and Beyond

Biologically, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn to lose weight, there is no way around it. Calories are the measurement of how much energy a food provides to your body. Your body will use the energy you eat and any left over gets stored. 


Excess energy is stored first as glycogen in your muscles keeping you primed for action, then it is stored in your adipose tissue as fat. One of the big factors determining your weight is how many calories you are consuming and using every day, but this is not quite as simple as it may first appear. 


As it turns out, what you are eating has just as big of an impact, if not more, than how much you are eating. It doesn’t have more of an impact because eating a low carb diet has a great effect on weight loss; any diet can have potential for weight loss so long as the person following it is calorie deficient. 


However, the type of diet you are eating is important for where that weight loss comes from - muscle, fat, or water loss - and is important for meeting your body's nutritional needs. 

The Low Fat Diet

One popular diet option is the low fat diet. The low fat diet has been the major proponent backed by the US government for over a hundred years, but it is not without its share of problems. 


Low fat diets tend to lack the vital nutrients that your body needs forcing it to get them by breaking down muscle and bone mass, but its greatest effect is on the signalling hormone Insulin. 

Low Fat and Insulin

Insulin has been nick-named the master hormone by some, since it affects more signalling cascades than almost any other molecule in the body. Since, this diet is also high in carbohydrates this will create high prolonged insulin spikes. 


It is produced by the beta-cells of the pancreas in response to food. It is released in greater volumes based on the chemical makeup of the food. Insulin has a larger spike in response to the glycemic level of a food. The larger the spikes, the larger the impact they have on creating hormone imbalance and insulin resistance over time. 


Low Fat and Hormones

As hinted at earlier, low-fat diets and insulin over saturation also has many effects on hormone levels creating an imbalance. All hormones are made from fat and protein, so if fat is cut out of the diet then the body has a more difficult time supplying essential communicating molecules like the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is responsible for regulating mood, and a lack of serotonin is correlated with poor mental health. 


Other hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are also affected. Estrogen deficiency in women can cause symptoms such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Hot flashes
  • Irregular periods

One cornerstone of men’s health is testosterone and a deficiency in will also have many negative symptoms including:

  • Reduced libido
  • Difficulty building muscle
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Higher likelihood of serious health problems

White Bean Extract

The devil is in the details and in this case low-fat does not mean lose fat. Instead the burden of carbohydrates on the body is becoming greater recognized. One way people are combating the negative effects of excess sugars is with white kidney bean extract.


White kidney bean extract blocks starches by slowing down the activity of a digestive enzyme named alpha-amylase, but upregulating an inhibitor molecule. Alpha-AI1, the inhibitor, typically binds to long-chain carbohydrates, starches, and decreases their ability to be digested and absorbed into the body. 


This mechanism in theory could help you lose weight and several studies have been conducted to determine if this is the case, but thus far the research has not moved beyond weight benefits to the possible metabolic benefits. Some minor side effects that some users experience from taking this supplement include bloating, gas and diarrhea.

In Conclusion


White kidney bean extract certainly does have the ability to aid in your weight loss journey if you are ahearing to the larger weight loss principles. While it might have some minor side effects, it can ease the burden of carbohydrates on your system
benefiting your overall health.




Sources:

Glycemic Index: Overview of Implications in Health and Disease | American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

A Proprietary Alpha-Amylase Inhibitor from White Bean (Phaseolus Vulgaris): A Review of Clinical 

Studies on Weight Loss and Glycemic Control | Nutrition Journal

Recent Advances in Understanding Body Weight Homeostasis in Humans | F1000 Research

Meet our Experts

This article has been reviewed by members of our Scientific Advisory Board.

  • Dr. Jay Cowin, Nutrition Expert

    Founder of Functional U, a Nutrition, Performance & Optimal Health practice.