Therefore, researchers are searching for natural compounds that might help to keep body fat under control.
A study published in the international Journal of Medical Sciences suggests that Phaseolus vulgaris (common bean) extract might do just that.
Earlier research has shown that Phaseolus Vulgaris extract is an amylase blocker.
Before complex carbohydrates can be absorbed, they have to be broken down to monosacharides (i.e. sugars). Amylase is one of the enzymes responsible for this process.
In theory, an amylaser blocker can prevent the conversion of complex carbohydrates into sugar, thereby reducing the digestive availability of carbohydrate derived calories.
The researchers wanted to investigate if Phaseolus vulgaris extract would influence body composition.
Sixty slightly overweight subjects were divided placed on a 2000 to 2200 calorie diet.
In addition, they were randomly divided in to two groups:
- one group recieved tablets containing approximately 445mg Phaseolus vulgaris extract
- the other group recieved tablets containing a placebo
The subjects did not know to which of the groups they belonged.
The tablets were taken just before one of their carbohydrate rich meals.
After thirty days, the researchers found that the group that took the that Phaseolus vulgaris extract lost more weight.
Moreover, it appeared that the weight loss were the result of fat loss rather than non-fat body mass (e.g. muscle mass).
They figure below summarizes the results.
The researchers are not sure about the exact mechanism how Phaseolus vulgaris decreases body fat.
It is possible that fewer carbohydrates are digested and absorbed.
However, the common bean extract might just slow down the digestion of the carbohydrates, which favorably influence the insulin system, that could in turn, lead to lesser fat accumulation.
Alternatively, more undigested carbs might reach the distal parts of the gastrointestinal tract where they can be used as fuel for the colonic bacteria.
The researchers speculate, that much like fiber, this might have benefical effects on fat metabolism.
Whatever the mechanism might be, Phaseolus Vulgaris extract shows potential as an effective body fat reducing supplement.