Why does KONJAC PASTE help you lose weight?

What is konjac?

Konjac, scientifically known as Amorphophallus konjac, is a perennial plant that thrives in tropical and subtropical regions of East Asia. Recently, it has gained popularity in the West mainly for its potential health benefits and effectiveness in promoting weight loss through its derivatives.

This plant features a bulbous root that is a rich source of glucomannan, a soluble fiber. Various products are obtained from this root and in particular:

  • dietary supplements that utilize the properties of glucomannan;
  • processed foods, including noodles and spaghetti (known as shirataki), as well as flours, jellies and a range of diet products.

Spaghetti Shirataki is made up of 97% water and 3% konjac, which means it’s particularly low in carbs and calories (as well as taste).

What is konjac used for?

The commercial success of these products is linked to:

  • low calorie intakeessentially negligible or almost negligible (for example, spaghetti generally provides 10-30 calories per 100g),
  • feeling full (glucomannan, the main fiber present in konjac, is able to absorb a large amount of water, increases its volume in the stomach and thus contributes to a long-term feeling of satiety)
  • as a soluble fiber, glucomannan boasts all the known positive effects gut health (e.g. promotes regularity, prevents constipation).

How is konjac paste made?

Shiritake noodles

Shutterstock/Ingrid Balaban

The plant yields the traditional Japanese konjac jelly, which is made by mixing konjac flour with water or lime water (a dilute aqueous solution of calcium hydroxide); it is a key ingredient in many local dishes and specialties, including spaghetti shirataki, which can also be found in Italy (usually in organic stores).

It is also used by vegetarians as a substitute for animal gelatin (konnyaku intended for sale in gelatin form is packed in plastic bags with water and has the appearance of a gray block with the consistency of stiff gelatin).

Glucomannan

Glucomannan is used in the formulation of dietary supplements for weight control, taking advantage of its ability to absorb water; when in contact with it, it is able to increase its volume up to 60-80 times, which relaxes the walls of the stomach and promotes the early achievement of the feeling of satiety.

This property could also limit the absorption of carbohydrates and lipids at the intestinal level, thereby reducing the caloric impact of the meal.

Danger

Konjac is generally considered safe for most people when consumed as part of a balanced diet, however, as with any food or supplement, there are several important aspects to keep in mind to ensure maximum benefits while minimizing potential risks.

  • Risk of gastrointestinal obstruction: The glucomannan fiber in konjac has the ability to absorb large amounts of water and expands greatly. This is beneficial for satiety, but can also lead to the risk of gastrointestinal obstruction if not consumed with sufficient fluids.
  • Drug Interactions: Konjac can interfere with the absorption of some medications due to its remarkable ability to absorb water and form a gel that can trap medications and reduce their effectiveness. It is advisable to take medication at least one hour before or four hours after taking konjac.
  • Gastrointestinal effects: Although glucomannan may improve gut health, it may cause side effects such as bloating, gas, and indigestion in some individuals. These effects are generally temporary and tend to diminish with continued use, but for those with a particularly sensitive digestive tract, konjac may cause discomfort.
  • Allergies and Sensitivities: Although rare, allergic reactions to konjac have been reported. Symptoms may include rashes, itching, difficulty breathing and swelling. Those with a history of allergic reactions to other tubers or roots may want to proceed with caution.
  • Food Deficiencies: Using konjac paste too often can put you at risk of food deficiencies (see next paragraph).

How much konjac can you eat in a day?

The biggest advantage of konjac, the absolute poverty of macronutrients and therefore calories, hides a potential risk because nutritionally speaking, it is bad from all points of view; It does not contain significant amounts of vitamins, minerals or other essential nutrientsAs a result, using konjac-based foods too often at the expense of more nutritious foods can lead to dietary imbalances and potentially put you at risk of nutritional deficiencies.

It is therefore crucial to include konjac in a varied and balanced diet that includes a wide variety of foods to ensure sufficient intake of all essential nutrients, including whole grains.

What does konjac taste like?

Konjac itself has a very neutral or almost tasteless taste. This property makes it extremely versatile in the kitchen as it can easily absorb the flavors of the other ingredients it is cooked with. For example, konjac noodles, known as shirataki, are popular precisely because they can be combined with various sauces, spices and flavorings, thus taking on the taste of other components of the dish.

However, it is important to note that some konjac products may have a slight fishy or marine smell when opened due to the manufacturing process. This odor can be easily removed by rinsing the product under running water before use.

Consistency

Spaghetti (shirataki) and other forms of konjac pasta, such as ricethey have a unique and distinct consistency compared to traditional wheat spaghetti:

  • Springiness and chewiness: Shirataki noodles tend to be springier and chewier than wheat noodles. They have an almost gelatinous consistency, which can disorient those who taste them for the first time.
  • Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is different than wheat spaghetti because it is more gelatinous.

What is konjac flour used for?

Konjac flour, obtained from the dried and ground root of the konjac plant, is a versatile ingredient with a variety of uses, especially in the context of healthy and dietary cuisine. Here are some of its main features:

  • Thickener: Due to its high water absorption capacity, konjac flour is an excellent thickener. It is used in sauces, soups, stews and baked goods to add texture without adding significant calories. It can also be used to make custard-like dishes.
  • Weight control and satiety: Konjac flour, which contains glucomannan, a soluble fiber that can expand in the digestive tract, contributes to the feeling of fullness and thus helps in appetite control and weight management. It is used in this sense by some advocates of intermittent fasting.
  • Diet and diabetic products: In the production of diet and diabetic foods, konjac flour is valued because it has a minimal effect on blood sugar levels and contributes to a slower and more controlled release of glucose.
  • Improved texture in baked goods: Can be used in small amounts in baked goods to improve texture, especially in gluten-free recipes where texture can be a challenge.

Where can you find konjac paste?

You can buy it in organic stores or online.

  • Zenpasta Penne Rigate with konjac flour, 260g

    Zenpasta Penne Rigate with konjac flour, 260g


    from Amazon

    €3.99

    €4.30 -7%

  • Konjac shirataki spaghetti size 250g, ZenPasta

    Konjac shirataki spaghetti size 250g, ZenPasta


    from Amazon

    €8.60

  • Pesoforma Nature Shirataki, Konjac Spaghetti, only 12 calories

    Pesoforma Nature Shirataki, Konjac Spaghetti, only 12 calories


    from Amazon

    €3.98

    EUR 5.20 -23%

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