There are literally thousands of different supplements that you can take that are supposed to help facilitate weight loss. Some are complete lies, while others actually do aid in some way. Konjac fiber is one of those aids that do work. If you are looking for a miracle pill that will help you lose weight while you sit around eating cheese puffs, this is not for you and you'll be waiting a long time for that pill. However, with a healthier diet and at least some kind of regular exercise konjac fiber can help prevent over eating and aid in losing extra pounds.
Although the fiber bears the stamp of approval from Dr. Oz, the fiber has been banned in several countries for its potential to cause harmful side effects. Though most of the side effects are caused by incorrect ingestion.
What is Konjac Fiber?
Konjac fiber, or as it is also called, glucomannan is a root of the konjac plant that grows throughout Asia. This root is processed into various forms including noodles, pills, and capsules so that it can be ingested by people. The konjac fiber, like most fiber expands in the system.
This fiber is used as an appetite suppressant to lower calories intake and prevent over eating. Because of this, it is frequently used as a weight loss aid though the root itself does not cause the body to increase calorie burn. Doctors are unsure whether konjac fiber is unique in its ability to expand and suppress the appetite or if just any old water soluble fiber supplement will do the same thing.
Scientists have found that there is a link in lowering the bad levels of cholesterol in the body while not effecting the levels of good cholesterol. It also lowers blood sugar levels and has been suggested that it lowers blood pressure levels as well. however, on the studies that have been conducted, there is no evidence suggesting it actually does lower blood pressure.
How to Take Konjac Fiber?
As previously mentioned, glucomannan can be ingested by taking it in pill, capsule, powdered, or from eating noodles made from it. Konjac noodles, known as both Shirataki noodles and konnyaku, are a popular low calorie food in Asian countries like Japan.
A common misconception is to take the fiber during or after a meal. The key is to ingest it an hour before a meal with a full glass of water so that by the time you eat, your body already feels somewhat full. Some skeptics say that it is the water the fills the stomach and not the fiber. This may hold true, as drinking a glass of meal prior to a meal can decrease hunger and give one a more full feeling. However, the water is mandatory since without it, the fiber can expand too quickly and create side effects like throat or intestinal blockages.
The shirataki noodles are, however, eaten during meals because they are low in calories and can be very filling. However, many people are put off by their unique texture. They are chewy and usually sold in wet packaging so that they are ready to eat as soon as you open them. It is recommended that you run them under water or boil them briefly before eating. This helps to both warm them up and wash off the liquid that has a bit of a fishy smell to it. However, much like tofu, the noodles do not have much flavor but they do absorb flavor from outside ingredients readily. This makes them perfect with a nice low calorie sauce. Spaghetti sauce, salt, garlic powder, vegetables, and soy sauce all make great flavoring agents for the noodles.
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Konjac fiber has been banned in some countries because of the potential dangers that go along with it. The most common complaint is digestive distress. For those that are just starting to incorporate glucomannnan into their diet, they should start slow at first. It can have adverse effects like diarrhea, gas, and abdominal pain. For those whose systems have not adapted to the fiber, these effects can sometimes occur.
The reason this root is banned in some countries is because it can often expand too quickly when ingested. This can lead to blockages in the throat and digestive system. This is why it is advised to take this supplement with a full glass of water to help prevent premature expansion. It is also recommended to avoids actual pills of glucomannan and instead used capsules. The capsules dissolves slower, making it less likely it will start expansion and get caught in the throat.
Doctors recommend that diabetics avoid this kind of fiber as it is also responsible for lowering blood sugar and can lead to hypoglycemia.
Some scientists also suggest that it can block nutrient absorption in the intestines. Though, they have not conclusively found that the nutrient levels that it blocks are deadly. For those that are concerned, it is best to avoid consumption or at least accompany konjac fiber with a multivitamin.
Is it worth the potential problems this fiber can cause just to aid in weight loss? Personally, I would suggest trying to control your appetite with a fiber supplement first as there have been no definitive scientific proof that there is anything special about konjac fiber.
However, I do find the noodles both tasty and a helpful filling snack. After reading about the potential choking risk of the pills, it put me off of them. The noodles do have a bit of an off-putting texture, but I have eaten them with stir fry for years and managed to get past it.
Of course, even though this supplement decreases hunger and provides a feeling of general fullness nothing works without proper diet and exercise. Even if it keeps you from ingesting excess calories and causes you to eat smaller meals, no one loses weight by eating junk food and lounging around. It you are really ready to dedicate yourself to losing weight for whatever reason, the best thing to do is get out there and work hard for it. Diet and exercise, they are the keystones to weight loss and always will be.