By Ginger Hultin, MS, RDN, LDN
White Kidney Bean Carb Intercept® by Natrol® is a product that claims to work by controlling fat storage related to the ingestion of too many carbohydrates. It works by interfering with specific digestive enzymes and may be appropriate for a client looking for a supplement that is not a stimulant like so many products in the weight loss category. By combining 1000mg white kidney bean extract and 40mcg Foodbound® Chromium, this product claims to neutralize carbohydrates in a non-stimulating way, supporting weight loss.
Chromium has been studied for general blood sugar control and in diabetics and even received clearance from the FDA for use in doses of 200mcg daily for up to 6 months. Taking chromium may work by decreasing fasting blood sugar levels and possibly increasing sensitivity to insulin in cells. At lower levels, such as the 40 mcg in this product, is has shown some efficacy when combined with white kidney bean extract regarding weight loss specifically. There is evidence that kidney bean extract combined with chromium can increase the weight loss effects of the product. Though a small amount in milligrams, when combined with the white kidney bean extract, it could still cause hypoglycemia or low blood sugar so be sure to discuss with your doctor or pharmacist before starting this supplement. Chromium can interfere with some medications so again, check for safety before you start.
White kidney bean extract is also called Phaseolus vulgaris or bean pod and is used to decrease cholesterol and for weight loss. Studies show it to be possibly safe up to 3000mg daily and since two caps of Natrol® is 1000 mg, it likely meets the safe doses studied in research. As a food, beans are high in fiber and can reduce fat absorption as the compound binds to cholic acids and dietary fat before they are assimilated by the body. The enzyme this product may block is called alpha-amylase and some research has shown that it works by blocking the breakdown of carbohydrate and hence reduces absorption of calories from these foods. Basically, it works as a starch blocker. As with other types of fiber, there could be some gastrointestinal side effects from this type of product and it can possibly interact with diabetic medications so please be sure to check with your doctor about any potential interactions before you take it.
Remember that many of the studies with products like kidney bean extract were also done in conjunction with a calorie-redistricted diet and/or increased physical activity. As with any weight loss promoting product, be sure to include it as part of a healthy lifestyle and clear it with your medical doctor before you start taking it. This product may be appropriate for people looking for a non-stimulating weight loss support that are willing to combine the supplement with lifestyle changes. It may be beneficial for those who struggle with elevated blood sugars as long as they are being monitored closely when starting the product that glucose levels are not getting too low, especially when being used in conjunction with other medications.
Ginger Hultin, MS, RDN, LDN, is a Chicago-based nutrition writer and dietitian at the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Care specializing in integrative health and whole food-based nutrition. Ginger earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Washington and her Master of Science in Nutrition from naturopathic Bastyr University. She serves as President for the Chicago Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Ginger is a plant-based dietitian who has a passion for physical activity and cooking. She believes that an interest in unprocessed foods and natural health will help heal the chronic health problems our country has been facing. Follow Ginger on her blog: ChampagneNutrition (www.champagnenutrition.com), Twitter (@GingerHultinRD), Instagram (http://instagram.com/champagnenutrition), and Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/champagneRDN/).
Reference: White Kidney Bean
Onakpoya I, Aldaas S, Terry R, Ernst E. The efficacy of Phaseolus vulgaris as a weight-loss supplement: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised clinical trials. Br J Nutr 2011;106:196-202
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