Starch Blocker: Low-Carb Diet Help?

What's the scoop on these popular products?

By Denise Mann
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD

You've been on a low-carb diet for a few weeks now and, sure, the pounds are melting off. The problem? You really miss pancakes, muffins, bagels, and pasta!

If that's the case, maybe you can have your cake and eat it too by taking starch blockers before you eat your favorite carbohydrate-laden food.

"It's a high-protein diet made doable," says Steven Rosenblatt, MD, PhD, a family practitioner in Los Angeles and co-author of The Starch Blocker Diet.

The increasing popularity of low-carb diets such as Atkins, South Beach, Protein Power, and Sugar Buster's seems to have boosted sales of starch blockers. The Washington Post recently reported that Spins, a San Francisco-based marketing company, saw sales of starch blockers jump 900% since September 2002.

Some diet experts, however, caution consumers who are overeager for a magic bullet that this isn't it.

'High-Protein Diet Made Doable'

"The starch blocker diet grew out of my medical practice where I was seeing patients who were 20, 30, 40, and 50 pounds overweight and really had to bring their blood pressure down and I would say 'eat less and exercise more' but that wasn't good enough," he tells WebMD.

Using supplements available at most drug- and health-food stores, "the new diet blocks the conversion of starch into sugar so you can incorporate starch into the diet," he says. "It's a tool that people can use with high-protein diets and include starches," he says.