Overweight and obesity are known global health concerns. In Malaysia, out of 50.1% of the Malaysian adult population, 30.4% are overweight and 19.7% are obese, as reported by the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2019.1
Being overweight or obese will put one at higher risk of developing diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and Type II diabetes, to name a few. Many viable options are there to aid weight management, for instance, regular exercise, eating clean, and a little help from supplementation.
Opting for supplements as one of the methods to achieve weight loss, a product or ingredient with a good safety profile is of utmost importance. The white kidney bean has gained popularity as one of the natural ingredients that are potentially effective in controlling body weight and has beneficial effects on metabolic health.
Let’s take a look at what is white kidney bean and why it is an ideal food supplement option for those who wish to achieve healthy body weight.
What is White Kidney Bean?
The white kidney bean is originated in South American countries and consumed by its population. Nowadays, beans are widely planted in many regions of China. It is a good source of protein, fibre, folate, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. Apart from supplying essential nutrients to the body, white kidney beans are also rich in bioactive compounds, such as polyphenols, flavonoids and phenolic acids.
Effect on body weight and composition
The potential weight loss effect of white kidney bean extract is its ability to stop the actions of α-amylase, a digestive enzyme that breaks down carbohydrates. By inhibiting or slowing down the action of the enzyme, the extract will limit the body’s ability to convert the ingested carbs into sugars and fats.
So, the most frequently asked questions about weight loss products are “how effective it is?” and “how long does it takes to see the results?” The evidence from human studies found that supplementing white kidney bean extract with doses ranging from 445 to 3,000mg per day for 28 to 84 days has resulted in 1.8 to 3.5kg weight loss.2 Apart from reducing body weight, these studies also observed a reduction in body fat and body mass index. One study suggests that individuals with higher carbohydrate intake may experience more noticeable weight loss due to a greater reduction in carbohydrate absorption with white kidney bean extract.3 It is noteworthy that some of the studies coupled white kidney bean extract supplementation with lower daily calorie intake and exercises.3,4 Thus, we believe the supplement worked best when combined with a lower calorie intake or higher carbohydrate intake and a consistent exercise regimen.
Effect on metabolic health
Being metabolically healthy means having the ideal levels of blood cholesterol, blood sugar, triglycerides, blood pressure and waist circumference.5 In a way, it also means that metabolically healthy individuals have a lower risk of developing conditions, such as heart disease, stroke and Type II diabetes.
An earlier study examining the effect of white kidney bean extract on weight loss reported a trend of improvement in triglyceride levels, with an average of 26.3mg/dL more reduction than the placebo group. The study has conducted with 50 obese participants for eight weeks.6
High-glycemic foods, including white rice, white and whole wheat bread, cakes, cookies, and sugary foods, are easy to digest by the body. It causes a spike in your blood sugar, which trigger the body to release more insulin, a hormone to get the sugar out of your blood. This condition may increase the risk of insulin resistance, whereby the body organs would not respond well to insulin and couldn’t fully utilise glucose from your blood and eventually increasing the risk of Type II diabetes. A review study found that the white kidney bean extract can reduce spikes in blood sugar caused by carbohydrates mainly through its α-amylase inhibiting action.7
A study has also demonstrated the efficacy of white kidney bean extract in reducing waist circumference (-2.5cm) of overweight or obese participants after 84-days of supplementation.8 All the clinical evidence based on human studies has shed light on the potential of this supplement to help manage body weight and improve the metabolic health of overweight or obese individuals.
Take Home Messages
The clinical evidence has clearly shown that white kidney bean extract can be a viable option for those who are looking to reduce body weight and waist circumference while improving metabolic health.
Despite insufficient human studies to support the potential of white kidney bean extract in suppressing hunger, as a good source of fibre and protein, white kidney bean extract may facilitate weight loss by making you feel full longer when incorporating it into your daily meals.
Besides, there have been no serious adverse effects of taking white kidney bean extract reported in clinical trials. However, mild gastrointestinal side effects such as bloating, flatulence and diarrhoea are possible, mainly due to the inhibition of digestion and absorption of carbohydrates by the white kidney bean extract. Nevertheless, most reliable data suggest that white kidney bean extract is well tolerated and safe for consumption, up to the highest dose of 3,000mg per day.2