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White Bean Extract: As seen on Dr. Oz


Posted on May 4th, 2011 by Matt Schoeneberger

I’ve been asked multiple times about white bean extract, due to its appearance on “A Heart Surgeon’s Nonsensical Babblings Extravaganza,” aka the Dr. Oz Show.

As you may have noticed around here lately, Jeff and I have grown tired of any sense of chivalry when it comes to dealing with bad advice and this is no exception. To be fair, Dr. Oz didn’t really say anything, he just agreed with his guest, Lisa Lynn, who was spewing the bullshit and then he animated it. Here’s a link to the videos of the supplement discussed:

VIDEO LINK

The supplement discussed is white bean extract. It works, we think, by blocking the absorption of complex carbohydrates by not allowing them to be broken down into simple carbohydrates. They then get passed to the colon.* Why the hell they would call this a metabolism booster is beyond me. Stopping the absorption of a macronutrient is not a boost to the metabolism of any sort.

In the video above, Lisa Lynn opened by saying “this doesn’t give you the green light to eat whatever you want.” Well Lisa, the only way this supplement has been shown to work is when people were gorging on carbohydrates. Giving this product to a person who’s eating a sensible diet by any stretch of the imagination is just a waste of money. Let’s find out why…

The Research

There are 2 studies which show less than stellar results of white bean extract on weight loss. (Udani 2004, Udani 2007)

2004 – 3.79 lbs vs. 1.65 lbs in supplement vs placebo over 8 weeks. (1500 mg of supplement daily) (100-200 gram of CHO/day diet)

2007 – 6 lbs vs 4.7 lbs in supplement vs placebo over 4 weeks. (1000mg of supplement 2x daily) (about 60 grams CHO/day diet)

A different study in 2007 (Celleno 2007) that actually found significant differences between supplement and placebo groups is what I’d like to discuss. The number break down like this:

2.83 vs .35 kg in supplement vs placebo over 30 days. The catch is the diet provided upwards of 280 gram of CHO/day! Holy shit! The authors admit:

Because the purpose of this trial was to measure efficacy of the agent under study, we chose to measure our parameters under optimal circumstances. Future studies could examine effects under more regular conditions to test the overall effectiveness of the product.

Haha, ya think? You have to take a look at this gem of a menu. In order to cause the Phase 2 supplement to do any good they have to feed people a diet comparable in carbohydrates to that fed to cattle being prepared for slaughter at a feedlot. This masterpiece of dietary debauchery could only be put together by a Registered Dietitian who has drunk the whole batch of USDA-supplied Kool-Aid: 2000-2200 calories, 280 grams of total carbohydrate, and a whopping 86 grams of protein.

The authors continue:

“Evidence suggesting strong adherence to the present protocol can be gathered from the statistically significant mass losses noted even in the Placebo group relegated to the same caloric-restricted diet as the Test group.”

The placebo group lost .35 kg, or about .8 lbs. Maybe you’d like to call it 12.8 ounces to make it sound like an accomplishment? What kind of statistical magic did they use to make this statistically significant?

Calorie restricted? At 2,200 calories? The average BMI was 26 and average weight was about 74kg. Since the population was 70% female I used female parameters for BMR + activity to get an estimate on calorie requirements. It came in right around 2,200 and that’s with an activity factor of 1.55, or moderately active. I’m being generous here since I doubt this population was moderately active. Anyway, my point is that this can barely be considered a calorie restricted diet in this population, which means we can’t be surprised the poor suckers in the placebo group lost less weight than you or I could if we just exhaled.

Conclusions

So, what can we learn from all this? Well, first we need to eat an absurd amount of carbohydrates for this product to have any real-world significance when compared to just adhering to a decent eating plan. At about $20/month, is it worth it for an extra pound and a quarter? That $240/year for an extra 15 pounds if you’re eating a low(er) carb diet. To me, this is analogous to dumping extra dirt in your gas tank to prove to yourself how great your engine contaminant cleaning product really is. Just don’t put the dirt in your gas tank, know what I mean?

Do you really plan on taking this supplement for the rest of your life? Because that’s what you’ll have to do to maintain the result you’d experience. That, or actually put in the time necessary to make real healthy changes to your daily routine like we recommend in SPEED. It’s up to you, I guess.

*When the complex carbohydrates get passed to the colon, they’re fermented by bacteria to produce short-chain fatty acids, carbon dioxide and methane. Have fun hiding that at parties.

References:

Udani J, Hardy M, Madsen DC. Blocking Carbohydrate Absorptionand Weight Loss: A Clinical Trial Using Phase 2™ Brand ProprietaryFractionated White Bean Extract. Altern Med Rev. 2004;9(1):63-69)

Udani J, Singh BB. Blocking Carbohydrate Absorption and Weight Loss: A Clinical Trial Using a Proprietary Fractionated White Bean Extract. Altern Ther Health Med. 2007;13(4):32-37.

Schoeneberger ML, Thiboutot JR. Nobody Likes Reading References Except Us and You. Int J Awesome. 2011

Celleno L, Tolaini MV, D’Amore A, Perricone NV, Preuss HG. A Dietary Supplement Containing Standardized Phaseolus vulgaris Extract Influences Body Composition of Overweight Men and Women. Int. J. Med. Sci. 2007;4(1):45-52.

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35 Responses to “White Bean Extract: As seen on Dr. Oz”

  1. felix says:

    i was just on pubmed and found a new article on this … thanks for your info!

    A proprietary alpha-amylase inhibitor from white bean (Phaseolus vulgaris): a review of clinical studies on weight loss and glycemic control.
    Barrett ML, Udani JK. Nutr J. 2011 Mar 17;10:24.
    SourceMedicus Research LLC, Northridge, CA 91325, USA.

    • Matt Schoeneberger says:

      Thanks for the link, Felix. A few things I’d like to point out now and I may do a follow-up post…

      First, this review is sponsored by the manufacturers of Phase 2, Pharmachem Laboratories. I want to be clear that this does not invalidate the research, but it could have an effect on how things are worded, especially in abstracts. Overall, though, this review supports the notion that the product blocks absorption of CHO and induces weight loss – when combined with a high(er) CHO intake. Why not just eat less CHO?

      I can see if someone is in dire need of glucose control trying something like this in coordination with dietary changes but I just don’t see the need for the common dieter, especially when considering the fact that it’s not a realistic long-term solution.

      Matt

  2. Stefanie says:

    I have to say thanks. This was so raw and true and I won’t be buying it anytime soon.

  3. Gayle says:

    Well, I just received my white bean extract in the mail today and will give it a try.

  4. Stefanie,

    Thank you. FYI, I just posted a new piece on white bean extract today in response to the paper Felix pointed me toward:

    http://doingspeed.com/book-review/a-review-of-white-bean-extract-for-weight-loss/

    -Matt

  5. Kathy J. says:

    Hi Matt,
    So glad I read this before wasting my money. What you say makes perfect sense and once again my theory of everything in moderation proves correct. Unless you’re prepping for a marathon you don’t need to eat all that carb period!!!

    Again thanks!

    Kathy

  6. mitch says:

    there is positive and neutral data for this extract, especially Phase 2-brand. but when it is boiled down, if you eat dietary starches like potatoes and pasta, and if you use the capsules properly, taking 500-1000 mgs. before you eat, you’ll find that you can control your weight better than if you didn’t take the supplement at all.

    and if you do a little exercise, watch what you eat a little, AND take the stuff, it can enhance your weight control program.

    and without side effects.

    • Matt Schoeneberger says:

      @mitch, I agree. In the more recent post I linked to earlier in my response to Stefanie I cover the recent review paper.

      The key is “if you eat dietary starches.” Why eat the starches and spend more money eliminating their effects when you could just not eat the starches and eat something else, like vegetables, instead?

      I’m not against supplementation at all, I just don’t see this one as a rational approach – or one that will solidify long-term successful habits.

      -Matt

      • Shireen says:

        There is one thing I know of, that is Magical Stuff for weight loss. It’s caelld Adderall. It’s known to calm food cravings, and give you energy. Getting a prescription of Adderall is unlikely though, unless the patient has ADD/ADHD, or they take a long term medication that has a side effect of food obsession cravings, or if they have depression and meds. help, but the meds. don’t quite fix the depression well enough.

  7. athensbetty says:

    well most people now days eat like pigs.So to try things like this is a benefit.U have to look at the large size portion of food on your plate at any restaraunt.this is why we are all so fat.we dont use up the food we eat.Like gas in a car, burn it all out before we fuel back up.

  8. James says:

    You should all be sure to know who is paying for any “trials” as the payor usually gets the requested results. You should also know that Dr. Oz does not endorse any products. He is not saying that you should take supplements and eat what you want. He is saying that you should take these supplements as you try to change the way you eat for a lifestyle change. Only an idiot would think that Dr. Oz is not knowledgable about what he says. He lives what he says. Pharma and most medical drs only put out there what Pharma wants you to think. You should be smart enough to know that they WANT YOU SICK. THAT IS THEIR BUSINESS!

    • Gerry says:

      I bow down humbly in the presence of such grneeatss.

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    • Geez, that’s unbelievable. Kudos and such.

  9. Ann Sonnen says:

    I am so glad I read this. I would have tried it and been royally p.o’d when the results were minimal. Thanks so much

  10. Catherine says:

    Once again we crave the “magic pill”. When will we learn that healthy diet & exercise is the only “magic” there is! Glad I read this. Saved some money. Oh well, guess I’ll get the old walking shoes out & buy extra veggies & fruit.

  11. [...] Dr Oz has repeatedly misrepresented the facts on supplements, see Matts posts HERE,  HERE and HERE. What’s the deal Dr.Oz? I thought you were all about giving your audience and viewers the [...]

  12. Maggie says:

    I want to be able to reduce the effects of eating a pasta dinner which I love. That is why I’d like to try the white bean extract before I eat these starchy meals.

  13. Lisa says:

    Wish I would have read this first. I just possibly dumped $26.00 in the trash. Well since I can’t return it guess I will give it a try and lose my .8 lbs.

  14. Mary Ellen says:

    Have you checked out Aaron Tippins Tippin shaker I think it contains white bean extract

  15. steve says:

    The material in the white bean extract that is supposed to stop enyzmatic breakdown of complex carbohydrates such as starch is said to work by blocking amylase, an enzyme secreted by mouth and pancreas that breaks down starch into sugars the body can use or store. The Pancreatic amylase is the amylase type that would be affected, IF it worked. But there are problems…. the plant protein amylase inhibitor in extract would be denatured (broken down) by stomach acid. If any makes it out of the stomach to the release point of pancreatic amylase, again as a protein it would be attacked by pancreatic enzymes. Literature says chymotrypsin, a protein digesting enzyme secreted WITH amylase, would break it down.

    Capsule around the supplement might block stomach breakdown, but since pancreatic amylase is secreted in the same fluid as chymotrypsin I can’t see how breakdown of the amylase inhibiting protein in the bean extract at this point could be avoided before it has significant time to affect amylase and block starch absorption. Probably some molecules make it but I wouldn’t think enough to have an effect on blocking the large amounts of amylase secreted.

    Most likely very little of the plant protein in the bean extract would survive intact to significantly block amylase. Studies of success I have read are suspect in my opinion.

  16. greg says:

    Funny how you make fun of a cardiologist ( Dr OZ )who is well educated and more quailfied then you in health matters. Stop being a hater . all your advice is just a re hashing of other diet and excerise programs, nothing new or original . I tried the white bean extract and found it helpfull ,

    • Matt Schoeneberger says:

      Any special reason why, if you like the product, you’re still mulling around the interwebz looking for reviews? Just seems odd to me.

      Dr. Oz is a cardiologist – you are correct. While that makes him more qualified than me in cardiology it does not give him the right to hype snake oil with the help of others. I happen to be qualified to call him out on it. You see, as long as one has access to the scientific literature and can read (both conditions I happen to meet) one can review the evidence on a product like white bean extract.

      Thanks also for your feedback on our program. I’m sure in the 10 minutes or so you spent on our site you really got a feel for our approach. Forget that we’ve been helping people lose weight successfully for years or that we spent years researching the methods described in the book, 10 minutes on our site makes you an expert!

      • Greg says:

        Wow , you sure do make alot of assumptions ( nothing new) FYI i was not actually looking for reviews on White bean extract i was looking at ordering some on internet when i came across your site (google does amazing things some good some bad) I already know it works for me . I also think you are putting words in mouth about your system i did not say it didnt work i said its a re hashing of old info

        • Matt Schoeneberger says:

          I assumed that because you read the post and because the search that brought you here was “white bean extract reviews”. If you know it works for you, move along.

  17. Colleen McMurphy says:

    I’m so glad to see that I’m not the only person who has completely lost faith in That Renowned Cardiologist who (it seems daily) is hawking one “miracle” fatburning supplement after another. Used to respect him. Now, notsomuch-

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