April 1, 2007 UCLA researchers have found an extract in white kidney beans may help the body stop carbs from breaking down into sugars. A digestive enzyme in the body normally acts like scissors, literally cutting starches into little sugars. Phase 2 stops the enzyme from cutting, so the starches stay in the body as long fibers and are burned off quicker. Patients in the clinical studies who took Phase 2 lost body fat, not lean muscle.
Americans are getting fatter. In fact, more than 60 percent are overweight and 18 million have type 2 diabetes. It's an epidemic that's becoming more of a problem with each passing year. Now, a new discovery could help you shed those dangerous pounds and live a healthier life.
Pastas ... breads ... cereals ... We know them well. And doctors say it's carbs like these that are making us fat.
"The problem is that starches are broken down immediately into sugars. When starch breaks down into sugar, it stays in the bloodstream, but is eventually stored as fat," Steven Rosenblatt, a family practice doctor in Los Angeles, tells DBIS.
But if you can't bear to give up your favorite foods, there's a new option. UCLA researchers have found an extract in white kidney beans may help the body stop carbs from breaking down into sugars.
"By lowering the amount of starches in our diet and the amount of carbohydrates in our diet, we allow the body to slowly start to burn off that stored energy," says Rosenblatt. He with the bean extract, known as Phase 2, which is sold in pill form and is now even added to certain foods. Here's how Phase 2 works: A digestive enzyme in the body normally acts like scissors, literally cutting starches into little sugars. Phase 2 stops the enzyme from cutting, so the starches stay in the body as long fibers and are burned off quicker -- making losing weight and keeping a normal blood sugar much easier.
Doctors say patients in the clinical studies who took Phase 2 lost body fat, not lean muscle. The extract is not recommended for pregnant women or type one diabetics because their blood sugar could get too low. Mild nausea is the only known side effect. Nora Cosgrove's struggled with her weight all her life. She admits to probably having been on every diet, but nothing worked. But when her doctor said she was on the fast-track to developing type 2 diabetes, she tried Phase 2.
After three months, she lost 30 pounds and six dress sizes! "I'm not tired anymore," Cosgrove says. "That's the main thing."
The FDA recognizes Phase 2, but doctors say it isn't a miracle pill. Patients still need to watch what they eat and exercise. But at least they don't have to give up carbs for good. It is available over the counter at health food stores for about $25 a bottle.
BACKGROUND: Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles, examines the effect of white kidney bean extract (called Phase 2) on food and Glycemic Index (GI) levels. The research has resulted in the development of many new products for people on special GI diets, including a new pasta. It could especially benefit patients with diabetes, who need to closely monitor and control blood sugar levels, as well as serious athletes and overweight people.
ABOUT THE STUDY: Previous clinical trials found that 1 gram of the Phase 2 kidney bean extract affects blood glucose levels, while the new study shows that 2-3 grams affect GI levels. White kidney bean extract neutralizes the digestive enzyme necessary for starch to turn into glucose. It slows the digestion of starches and sugars, which can cause a rapid rise in blood sugar after eating. A previous UCLA study found that Phase 2 reduced starch absorption by 66%.
THE GLYCEMIC INDEX: Developed in the 1980s, the glycemic index (GI) ranks various foods according to how they affect blood sugar levels two to three hours after eating. Foods high in fat or protein don't raise levels very much, while certain carbohydrates are so easily broken down in intestine that blood sugar levels rise too quickly. The GI only tells you how rapidly a particular carbohydrate turns into glucose; it doesn't tell you how much of that carbohydrate is in a given serving of a particular food, or what percentage are 'available' carbohydrates, i.e., those that provide energy (starch and sugar, as opposed to fiber). You need to know both to fully understand how a given food affects blood sugar levels. The glycemic load (GL) measures the latter. A GI if 70 or more is high; 56 to 59 is medium; and 55 or less is low. A GL of 20 or more is high; 11 to 19 is medium; and 10 or less is low.
HOW DIGESTION WORKS: Food and drink must be changed into smaller molecules of nutrients to be absorbed into the blood and carried to cells throughout the body. It does this via the digestion process. Food is travels through the esophagus into the stomach, where it is dissolved and emptied into the small intestine. The digested nutrients are absorbed through the intestinal walls, while the rest is expelled as waste.
Editor's Note: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.