White Bean Extract and The Wizard of Oz

Dr. Oz is promoting another supplement. I’ve been asked about “White Bean Extract” several times and decided to give an opinion on it in blog format.

When I typed Dr. Oz’s name, my thoughts flashed to a scene from the 1939 movie: The Wizard of Oz. In a pivotal scene from the movie, Dorothy’s dog Toto moves the curtain in the wizard’s chamber literally exposing the “great and powerful wizard” as an ordinary man operating a series of wheels and levers and speaking into a microphone ………….

And onto white bean extract.

Dr. Oz promotes this supplement as another “one of his favorite fat busters.”
White bean extract is a highly concentrated extract from white kidney beans. If taken at a meal that is high in carbohydrate content, it is said to delay the absorption of carbs by blocking a natural enzyme’s release into the small intestine. The enzyme, alpha amylase is associated with the digestion of carbs enabling them to be absorbed. By blocking its release, it prevents the intestine from breaking carbohydrates into sugar. According to supplement marketers, this delaying of carb absorption results in weight loss and lower blood sugar.

White bean extract is known as phaselous vulgaris. It is marketed as a “fat blocker” by health food stores. Marketers promote that this supplement has the potential to allow diabetics to enjoy lots of carbs without ruining blood sugar control and also to control weight.

Truth be known, “blocker” is a misnomer…the extract basically slows the absorption of carbohydrates.
There is limited research on health benefits and have been few clinical trials. A 2007 study, the one sited by proponents, used “60 slightly overweight volunteers whose weight was stable for about six months before the study.” For 30 days some of the group took a placebo and others took white bean extract when they ate high carb meals. At the end of 30 days, the study said that those taking the white bean extract lost more weight and had waistline changes.

It turns out that the study participants were prescreened. Subjects who were less compliant with study protocols were excluded. The study directors purposely chose participants who were known to be compliant. This is the most “thorough” study to date.

It should be noted that when alpha amylase is blocked from release, another enzyme, glucoamylase, can take over.

There do not appear to be any serious side effects from taking white bean extracts and there is also no clinical proof of its effectiveness.

The conclusion of the Wizard of Oz? The man behind the curtain promises to take Dorothy home in his hot air balloon, but when he loses control of the balloon and flies away by himself, Glinda (the good witch) explains to Dorothy that she had the power to get home  within herself all along.


About Diane Kress

Author of The New York Times Bestseller; The Metabolism Miracle, The Metabolism Miracle Cookbook, and The Diabetes Miracle. and The Metabolism Miracle, Revised Edition. Owner, developer, and administrator of The Metabolism Miracle's support site: www.Miracle-Ville.com. Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, www.themetabolismmiracle.com www.thediabetesmiracle.com www.miracle-ville.com Email: dietquestions@ymail.com
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6 Responses to White Bean Extract and The Wizard of Oz

  1. Pam T says:

    Thanks Diane I know I can count on you with the real info on Dr Oz breaking news supplement of the week

  2. Marcia says:

    I love your analogy. I’m sure that Dr. Oz is a great MD, but his show has gone around the bend. He started with some good information, but we can only be impressed by comparing healthy and diseased organs for so long before real medical information becomes boring. Now, he’s always promoting supplements and foods to magically lower cholersterol or blood pressure, “melt fat” or “flatten your belly.” I know that foods can be our medicine, but a person isn’t going to lower her blood pressure by eating a beet or two. He is almost as bad as Dr. Mercola. The only difference is that Dr. Oz doesn’t have his own line of supplements–yet.

    • Diane Kress says:

      I get email from so many readers/day and when a hot topic surfaces, I feel the need to comment on it. As of late, Dr. Oz’s supplement proclamations have been taking up valuable blog space! I just wish that the information being provided on his program these days wasn’t so faddish, reactionary, baseless. This product appears to be pretty harmless (except for some gas, bloating, diarrhea, distention), but some other supplements have been downright scary.

      • Marcia says:

        I know! It’s so much better to just be smart about the carbs than to try to trick the body into digesting them differently. I really, really don’t need any extra bloating and gas, that’s for sure!

  3. at least with Mercola…I’ve always known that he is a little over the deep end sometimes…and so i use his protein powder but not the supplement stuff….. but Oz…well is is nutty and sadly too many fall for his gimmicks….i do like the image and note…the Wizard was fake too…..

  4. I got good information from this blog.

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