The Basics: What you need to know in just a few sentences.
Carbohydrates are converted into glucose in your body. The glucose is taken up by your cells for energy.
Excess glucose is sent back to your liver and in converted into glycogen. Glycogen is sent to your muscles and stored for future energy needs.
Excess glycogen is sent back to your liver and is converted into triglycerides. Most triglycerides are stored as fat – unlimited storage potential in your fat cells.
Fiber can prevent or slow down the insulin surge caused by glucose.
Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors prevent the digestion of carbohydrates.
Alpha-amylase inhibitors block the absorption of carbohydrates.
The Details: If you really want to know more about carbohydrate absorption and weight loss, please continue reading.
Weight loss can be tricky even on a good day. Carbohydrate absorption is another option to consider for weight loss. Eating excessive amounts of carbohydrates, particularly those with a high glycemic index, causes an insulin spike. Foods with a high glycemic index contain lots of simple sugars. Insulin increases amino acid absorption in your body, stops protein breakdown after a workout, and replenishes glycogen stores in your liver.
Carbohydrates and Fat Storage
Carbohydrates are converted into glucose. The glucose is used by your cells for energy. Once your cells use up the glucose that is needed for energy, then the excess glucose goes back to your liver and is converted to glycogen. Glycogen is stored then in your muscles for future energy use. Glycogen gives your muscles the energy to work. What happens when you fill up your muscles with glycogen? The excess glycogen is sent back to your liver where it is converted into triglycerides. Most of these triglycerides are then stored as fat. Unlike your muscles, your body has an unlimited storage potential for fat.
Some of the triglycerides remain in your blood vessels. Your blood can actually thicken if there is an excessive amount of triglycerides. When this happens you are a good candidate for a heart attack or stroke.
Carbohydrate Absorption – Fibers
How can you prevent, or slow down this process? One way is to eat something that will absorb some of the carbohydrates and dampen the insulin surge caused by glucose. Fiber is a good thing to eat before or during your meal. Fiber helps you in two ways. First, you may eat less because you have a feeling of being full. Second, it binds or disrupts the full impact of the glucose conversion in your body. Many studies, in the United States and overseas, have shown very positive effects of adding fiber to your diet on a regular basis – lower body weight and lower waist-to-hip ratios. It also has been noted in many of these study groups that markers for heart disease were reduced.
Are all fibers created equally? No. Fiber from oats and barley are called beta-glucans. Beta-glucans have been shown to be very effective in slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates. Another fiber for your consideration is glucomannan. It is a dietary fiber that is actually a water-soluble polysaccharide. Glucomannan is effective in reducing the insulin spike after eating high-glycemic foods. It is very effective for constipation, high cholesterol and obesity.
Carbohydrate Absorption – Other Options
Are there any other options beside fibers? There are things other than fiber that can interfere with or inhibit the breakdown of simple and complex carbohydrates. Oral anti-diabetic drugs called alpha–glucosidase inhibitors are used to treat type-2 diabetes. The alpha-glucosidase inhibitors prevent the digestion of carbohydrates. I always prefer natural solutions to prescription medicine solutions when they are available and safe. The mushroom, Maitake, has a naturally occurring alpha-glucosidase inhibitor. The Salicia oblonga is a plant that has used in Ayurvedic medicine for over a thousand years. It is also a naturally occurring alpha-glucosidase inhibitor.
Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors produce abdominal gas as a side-effect because many of the starches and glucose are not absorbed. Starches and glucose produce gas when left alone in your intestine react with normal bowel bacteria and yeast. Prescription alpha-glucosidase inhibitor medicines list many serious side effects. As always, carefully read your prescription labels for side effects and possible contraindications with other food and drug products.
White kidney bean extract is an alpha-amylase inhibitor. It blocks carbohydrate absorption by blocking the enzyme, alpha amylase which is used to break down carbohydrates in your digestive tract. The undigested carbohydrates are allowed to process through your body without absorption. White kidney bean extract is a dietary supplement that can be taken before each meal. You may also find dietary supplements containing both alpha-glucosidase and alpha-amylase inhibitors.
Carbohydrate Absorption – Your Health
As always, you are responsible for your own health. Just because you might choose to take carbohydrate blockers or inhibitors, you can’t expect to eat all the carbohydrates you want. You have to eat and exercise in moderation. It might be best to use a carbohydrate blocker or inhibitor for your biggest carbohydrate meal of the day. Check the side effects prior to using any prescription carbohydrate blocker. You can determine the safety of those side effects and whether this option is really something you want to do.
Red O’Laughlin aka The Prosperity Professor