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Starch Blocker: Low-Carb Diet Help?

The popularity of low-carb diets has coincided with an increase in popularity of starch blockers, which proponents say make low-carb diets doable. But the supplements have their critics.

'Starch-Blocking Is Useless' continued...

"It's probably a lot safer to just eat less starches to start with," she suggests.

"This is not the magic bullet," Kava says." If you are always looking for magic bullet, you are not paying attention to a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle." There is no substitute for a well-balanced diet, she stresses.

"It's another gimmick, but that's not to say that it can't be helpful," she says. "It's like using sugar substitutes; they can be helpful if used appropriately."

New York City physician Fred Pescatore, MD, former medical director of the Atkins Center for Complementary Medicine, is less positive. "[Starch-blocking] is useless. I have never seen any starch blockers work and I have seen many in my practice."

If you are craving carbs while you are on a high-protein diet, "eat whole-grain pasta or whole-grain pancakes, don't resort to white carbohydrates," he says. "There is a place for healthy carbohydrates in a low-carbohydrate eating plan, so if you are craving them, have them."

"Just stay away from white pasta and white potatoes and eat whole grains instead," he says.

Starch-blocking "is like taking one of those pharmaceutical drugs [that block the absorption of fat] and then you have diarrhea and ruin your liver," he says.

"It's a nice gimmick, but it doesn't work," he says.


Reviewed on December 15, 2003

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