One well known water-soluble polysaccharide, called glucomannan, is a dietary fiber. Glucomannan comes from the dry matter part of the root of the konjac plant. This substance is very low in carbohydrates and it does not have any calories. It was approved as a food additive in 1977 and since then has been traditionally used as an emulsifier and a thickener in commercially produced food products. People in Asia have been using it for thousands of years to make noodles, gelled foods and as a heat stable tofu.

It is now also being sold as a nutritional supplement and has recently gained in popularity as a weight loss aid. It is now being used by a lot of overweight people who are trying to lose weight. Some products that are being sold with glucomannan in it claim that it can manage diabetes, lower cholesterol and to relieve constipation as well. However, the FDA has not officially approved glucomannan for any of the above conditions.

This supplement slows down and blocks the absorption of carbohydrates and fats when taken with meals. Glocumannan also acts as an appetite suppressant because it will swell in the stomach when it absorbs fluids. This in turn will then make you to feel full so it is easy to see why people use it to control the amount of foods that they eat. Glucomannan can actually absorb up to 200 times its weight in water. People who take this supplement as a weight loss aid take it before each meal so that they will be able to easily avoid eating as much food as they normally would. The supplement will also lower the gylcemic index of the other foods that you eat. If you take glucomannan in large doses it can have a laxative effect. It also changes the microflora in the intestine.

Many different kinds of foods can be made with glucomannan. It can be shaped in a ball, as a thread, konjac cakes, noodles, slices, chips and knojac tofu. Many foods that vegetarians eat have glucomannan in them. Glucomannan can be baked, stewed, fried and braised. Glucomannan noodles can be used as a carbohydrate replacement for spaghetti noodles or pasta made from flour. In fact they make a great substitute for pasta for people who have celiac disease and can’t eat regular pasta because of the gluten in it. You can find these noodles in the Asian food section in a lot grocery stores in the United States now. The Japanese glucomannan noodles are sold under the name of Shiratiki or Konnyaku noodles. The Chinese brand names for these noodles made with glucomannan are sold under the brand names Moryu and Juruo.

In rare instances individuals who have used glucomannan have experienced a blockage of the esophagus. Some countries have banned it because of this. Other adverse reactions can include such things as gas and diarrhea. It has also caused hypoglycemia in some people who take insulin for diabetes. This is because it can lower blood sugars naturally. The fiber content may also block or interfere with the absorption of some medications. Some people are allergic to glucomannan and should not eat foods that contain it.

It has been researched somewhat as a weight loss aid. It has been documented that people who used glucomannan for eight weeks in a study could lose up to five pounds in a week. It is also beneficial to aid weight loss in children who are obese. People who use glucomannan should also make sure they take a vitamin and mineral supplement when they are using it to lose weight.

Glucomannan is sold in powder form, capsules and tablets. You can find this supplement at your local health food stores. It is also for sale on various websites online. If you are taking medications of any kind, you should consult with your doctor before you begin taking glucomannan.

Last updated on Jan 16th, 2010 and filed under Nutritional Information. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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