The rising prevalence of overweight and obesity is a global concern, increasing the risk of numerous non-communicable diseases and reducing quality of life. A healthy diet and exercise remain the cornerstone treatments for obesity. However, adherence rates can be low and the effectiveness of these interventions is often less than anticipated, due to compensatory changes in other aspects of the energy balance equation. Whilst some alternative weight-loss therapies are available, these strategies are often associated with side effects and are expensive. An alternative or adjunct to traditional weight-loss approaches may be the use of bioactive compounds extracted from food sources, which can be incorporated into habitual diet with a low cost and minimal burden. One product which has attracted attention in this regard is white kidney bean extract (WKBE), which has been suggested to inhibit the enzyme α-amylase, limiting carbohydrate digestion and absorption with small but potentially meaningful attendant beneficial effects on body weight and metabolic health. In this review, drawing evidence from both human and animal studies, we discuss the current evidence around the effects of WKBE on body composition and metabolic health. In addition, we discuss evidence on the safety of this supplement and explore potential directions for future research.
Keywords: Phaseolus vulgaris L.; body composition; metabolic health; obesity; white kidney beans; α-amylase.