When it comes to losing weight, there are different food supplements that can help us achieve our goal along with a balanced diet and the daily practice of exercise. Although we can buy different supplements in any diet store, there is currently one of them that is gaining more and more popularity among people who have been put on a regime. This supplement is called glucomannan, although it is also known as konjac or calorie-free pasta and consists of a dietary fiber that has been grown for many years in different Asian regions.
But why is it used in weight loss diets? What are its properties? If you want to know more about this food supplement, we recommend that you continue reading this article of where we will explain in detail what glucomannan is and what it is for.
What is glucomannan and what is it for?
As we already anticipated, for those who wonder what konjac glucomannan is, it is a dietary fiber or water-soluble polysaccharide that is obtained from konjac, also known scientifically as Amorphophallus Konjac K Konch, a perennial plant belonging to the Araceae family. Glucomannan or Konjac has been cultivated for centuries in different Asian regions, since it had, and continues to have, mainly two uses in these areas: on the one hand, this dietary fiber is used as an ingredient for different cooking dishes, and on the other, it is also used as a compound for the elaboration of remedies in Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM.
However, what is glucomannan currently for? As we have indicated, this water-soluble polysaccharide is used as a food supplement for diets where weight loss is sought, mainly consumed as glucomannan paste and in capsules. It is all because glucomannan facilitates the control of both the amounts of food and the calories we eat daily due to the properties that we will explain in the next section.
Properties of glucomannan for weight loss
Although glucomannan was traditionally cultivated to be used both as food and for the preparation of medicinal remedies, it is currently used as a food supplement to promote weight loss since it has properties that allow us to control the intake of both food and daily calories.
Among the properties of glucomannan for weight loss we find:
Konjac glucomannan is a solube polysaccharide in water, that is, it is a fiber with a high capacity to absorb water. This means that when we administer water to this substance, it swells until it creates a viscous gel that occupies up to 100 times its molecular weight in a normal state. Thanks to this ability, glucomannan has satiating properties that delay gastric emptying and prolong the feeling of fullness after meals. Here you can learn more about The Best Satiating Foods.
Another reason why glucomannanis used as a remedy to lose weight is that being a fiber supplement manages to facilitate evacuation as well as avoid constipation, a digestive problem that hinders weight loss. On the one hand, it has a prebiotic effect that favors the growth of healthy bacteria in the intestinal flora. And on the other hand, it has laxative properties that help stimulate intestinal muscles. In this other article we talk about the best natural laxatives.
How to take glucomannan to lose weight
Now that we know some of the properties of this substance that will help us in our weight loss, it is also important that we know how to correctly take glucomannan to lose weight:
How to take glucomannan for weight loss: capsules
If we are going to use this konjac format it is important that you follow the following instructions:
- Give this supplement plenty of water (between 2 and 3 glasses in each feeding).
- Take between 500 and 1500mg of this fiber half an hour before each meal.
- In the event that you use any medication, consume glucomannan at least 1 hour before taking the drugs.
Konjac glucomannan in the Dukan diet
In addition to capsules, there are also other formats of glucomannan that are usually sold in diet stores under the name of shirataki pasta or pasta without calories. In this case, you will only have to cook the glucomannan as if you were making traditional pasta and consume it. However, although in some diets such as the Dukan diet they defend this format of glucomannan, it is more advisable that before using this substance you opt for whole grain pastes since its only nutritional value is the 3% of fiber it contains being the rest of its composition water.
Therefore, if we use it as the basis of our diet, we risk having nutritional problems, since it is still a food supplement. This means that it can be used as a supplement on certain occasions, but it should not be taken as a regular substitute for other traditional pastas such as spaghetti or macaroni.
Contraindications and side effects of glucomannan
Although glucomannan can be beneficial being taken as a food supplement, it can also cause certain side effects, depending on how and how much it is taken, due to its fiber composition, some of these are gas, meteorism or other intestinal problems. It is also not convenient that it be used for a long time, since konjac can cause a vitamin and other nutrient deficit since it interferes with its absorption.
In addition to its effects, this substance cannot be taken by everyone as it has the following contraindications:
- Diabetes: Although glucomannan can reduce sugar levels after eating, it is contraindicated for these people because it can influence the effects of their medication.
- Digestive disorders: it is not recommended in cases such as dumping syndrome, Crohn's disease and inflammatory bowel disease, among others.
- Children under 12 years of age: prolonged use can lead to malnutrition.