White kidney bean extract is a familiar ingredient in many of today’s carb blocking supplements. It may also appear under the name Phase 2.
White kidney bean extract has become quite a popular weight loss ingredient in recent years. It’s an ingredient in many diet pill formulations and has gained a strong reputation as a carb blocker. It is considered to be one of the best weight loss ingredients.
Many dedicated carb-blocking products have it as the main ingredient and, although study results are conflicting, some research supports using white kidney bean in this way.
However, the ingredient’s primary value as a weight loss aid is as a carb blocker. It’s unlikely to help suppress appetite, boost metabolism, or support weight loss in additional ways. So, although some research suggests the extract may work as a carb blocker, it may not be the best option for many dieters.
White kidney bean extract probably offers the most value to people who have a weakness for high-carb, high calorie foods such as rice and pasta. However, when you are dieting, it’s best to consume carbs in moderation, as part of a healthy, low-calorie diet plan.
What Is White Kidney Bean Extract?
White kidney bean extract is made from white kidney beans–no surprise there.
Also known as cannellini beans, white kidney beans are a staple of Italian cuisine. They are also a popular food in many other countries of the world. The beans are high in protein and a good source of dietary fiber.
The name “cannellini” is not normally used in the supplement industry but it is sometimes listed on supplement ingredient lists under the bean’s botanic name, Phaseolus vulgaris.
White kidney bean extract may also appear under the name Phase 2.
Phase 2 is a brand of white kidney bean extract made from non-GMO beans. It’s standardized to provide a consistently high potency.
How Does White Kidney Bean Extract Help With Weight Loss?
White kidney bean is a carb blocker. Compounds that have this ability are also known as starch blockers, The term starch blocker is not as popular as it used to be but it still gets occasional use.
The beans provide compounds that “block” the activity of the digestive enzyme, amylase. This limits the body’s ability to break down and digest carbohydrates. Although other plant-based ingredients appear to have this ability, white kidney bean extract has a reputation for being the best.
Carbs come in two types–simple carbs and complex carbs. Simple carbs are sugars. The body digests them easily. Complex carbs consist of numerous simple carbs linked together in chains. These chains need to be broken before the energy locked inside the simple carbs can be released.
Amylase breaks the chains that bind the simple carbs, so the body can make use of the energy they provide. This process takes some time. That’s why complex carbs, like oatmeal, potatoes, and rice, are so good for providing a long-lasting supply of energy.
Once you understand the difference between simple and complex carbs it is easier to understand why white kidney bean extract does not block the digestion of simple carbs.
By limiting the amount of energy the body can extract from carbs, white kidney bean extract could add value to most low-calorie diet plans. As with anything that increases an existing energy deficit, the bean extract should force the body to burn more of its fat.
How Effective Is White Kidney Bean Extract for Weight Loss?
Many people will tell you white kidney bean extract is the gold standard when it comes to carb blockers. This is probably true. Unfortunately, although some people claim to have used the supplements with great success, the scientific evidence is not wholly supportive of the ingredient’s abilities as a weight loss aid. Some studies suggest it works, others suggest it does not.
However, companies selling white kidney bean carb blocking supplements sometimes make unrealistic claims. Don’t believe the hype. Carb blockers will not make it possible to eat as much high-carb food as you want without gaining weight. At best, the bean may help you to lose more weight than you could via diet and exercise alone.
White kidney bean extract and other carb-blocking ingredients only block the absorption of a percentage of the carbs you eat. Although the blocking-effect can be beneficial within the confines of a sensible eating plan, it’s not great enough to allow you to pig-out on carbs without facing the consequences next time you step on the scales.
A supplement, “supplements” the efforts you make with your diet, it cannot replace effort or make it unnecessary.
What the Clinical Evidence Shows
Although the results of some clinical trials suggest white kidney bean extract is an effective carb blocker and weight loss aid, there is plenty of conflicting research to muddy the water.
To make matters worse, many of the clinical trials that suggest it works for weight loss were funded by companies that manufacture white kidney bean carb blockers.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) evaluated four studies involving a branded liquid white kidney bean extract.
The EFSA was unable to draw any conclusions from two of the studies. However, the results of one study showed the extract reduced body weight over a period of 12 weeks. This weight loss was mostly due to body fat reduction. These results were supported by a shorter study.
Nevertheless, the EFSA panel members felt there was a risk of bias related to the first study. They also felt the study that supported it had “methodical limitations” and failed to provide evidence of the mechanisms driving the fat-loss.
The EFSA concluded by stating there was insufficient evidence to suggest a relationship between white kidney bean extract and weight loss.
The results of a review of six clinical trials are equally disappointing. Three of the studies involved Phase 2, doses ranged from 445 mg to 1,500 mg per day, and most of the studies were funded by manufacturers.
Data from the studies suggest a statistically significant reduction in body fat (4 pounds on average) over the placebo but there was insufficient evidence to demonstrate weight loss.
White Kidney Bean Extract Dosage
There are no official dosage guidelines and the doses used in studies vary considerably. Doses can be a low as 445 mg per day or as high as 3,000 mg per day. The extract is typically taken before meals.
Taking the supplement before meals gives it time to interact with amylase and, hopefully, hobble it before the carbs arrive.
Who Can Use White Kidney Bean Extract to Help Lose Weight?
Unless they are allergic to the beans, most people should be able to use white kidney bean extract without negative issues.
However, a minority of people may find the extract causes diarrhea, flatulence, cramps, and/or other gut issues. When this happens, it’s a reaction to the presence of undigested carbs in the lower intestine. Fortunately, negatives issues of this nature should disappear after the body adjusts.
If you are vegan or vegetarian it’s best not to assume all white kidney bean products are suitable for your lifestyle. Supplements provided as capsules may have gelatin in the casing. Fortunately, these days, many manufacturers are moving away from this practice and using vegan-friendly alternatives, like hydroxypropylmethylcellulose, instead.
Tablets and pressed powder capsules are less likely to present issues but it may be best to stick to supplements that are marked vegan or vegetarian-friendly.
If you are diabetic, it may be a good idea to ask your doctor before using the supplement form. Their ability to block carbs may lower blood sugar.
Summary – The Bottom Line
Although conflicting study results suggest white kidney bean extract requires further research, many people report good results. However, any benefit it provides is likely to be negligible if you normally follow a diet plan that is very low in carbs.
As with other supplement types, the quality of carb blockers can vary considerably. So, if you do decide to go this route, it’s a good idea to stick to products that are produced and distributed by reputable companies.
If you take white kidney bean supplements before your meals, the carb-blocking action may slightly reduce the amount of calories you get from your meal. If you are eating a sufficiently low-calorie diet, this may help you to burn a little extra fat.
Will the extract allow you to eat all the carbs you want and still lose weight? When you see that promise in a product description, it’s a lie.
At best, the supplement will only block a small percentage of the carb-calories in your food.
If you want to lose weight, supplements that provide white kidney bean extract are an option to consider. However, you will still need to commit to a low-calorie diet.
You also need to be aware the help carb blockers offer is very limited in comparison to most alternative options. Quality supplements that provide a combination of appetite suppression and thermogenic fat burning will offer a greater level of support.