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.