Can kidney beans help you lose weight?

Updated: Mar 03, 2010, 00:00 AM IST

London: A new pill, made from white kidney
beans, can help millions of people shed their extra flab, a
British pharma company has claimed.

Digestion of carbohydrates leads to weight gain and there
are a lot of drugs that block carbohydrate digestion. But they
cause gas and diarrhoea as they pass through the digestive

Now, the new drug called DEcarb, which is the first
carbohydrate blocker to carry an EU Certified Medical Device
Status, claims not to produce these unpleasant side-effects.

According to its manufacturer, Global Goldshield Consumer
Health, the pill is made from an extract of the white kidney
bean called phaseolamin, which reduces the effectiveness of
alpha amylase -- an enzyme that breaks down carbohydrates, The
Daily Mail reported.

DEcarb contains a very high concentration of phaseolamin
that prevents carbohydrates being converted into sugar and
this means side-effects are virtually eradicated, although
some people may suffer flatulence for a few days as the
stomach adapts, the company said.

In a small study carried out at the University of
Scranton, Pennsylvania, a 1.5g tablet cut the amount of
carbohydrate absorbed in a meal by up to 66 percent.

"To lose weight and keep it off, there is no alternative
but to make significant lifestyle changes," explains Dr
Shivakant Upadhyaya, an Indian origin researcher at the
British pharmaceutical company.

"DEcarb can help you only for as long as you take it and,
of course, you can`t take it for ever. Having said that, we
know that one of the benefits is that it reduces carbohydrate
cravings," Dr Upadhyaya was quoted as saying.

However, Dr Carel le Roux, an obesity specialist at
Imperial College London, said any product that can reduce
carbohydrate consumption so dramatically should be treated
with caution.

He said: "Reducing carbohydrates in an overweight
person`s diet can be very helpful to lower blood sugars. But a
product that can lower absorption of carbohydrates by 66 per
cent may have significant side-effects, as the unabsorbed food
would have to be excreted with smelly consequences.

"The body may sense through the upper part of the gut
that carbohydrates were consumed, but if it is not absorbed
the body may increase the cravings that lead to

Meanwhile, nutritionists recommend beans as a good source
of fibre, which will protect against some cancers.