When it comes to losing weight, there are different food supplements that can help us achieve our goal along with a balanced diet and daily exercise. Although we can buy different supplements in any health food store, there is currently one of them that is gaining more and more popularity among people who have put themselves on a diet. This supplement is called glucomannan, although it is also known as konjac or calorie-free paste and consists of a dietary fiber that has been cultivated for many years in different Asian regions.
What is glucomannan and what is it for?
As we already mentioned, for those who are wondering 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 type plant belonging to the family of the Araceaes. Glucomannan or Konjac has been cultivated for centuries in different Asian regions, since it had, and still has, two main 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 preparation of remedies in Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM.
However, what is glucomannan currently used 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 a glucomannan paste and in capsules. It’s all because glucomannan facilitates the control of both the amounts of food and the calories that 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 for use both as food and for the preparation of medicinal remedies, it is currently used as a food supplement to promote weight loss as it has properties that allow us to control the intake of both food and daily calories.
Among the properties of glucomannan to lose weight we find:
Konjac glucomannan is a water-soluble polysaccharide, 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 more than its normal molecular weight. Thanks to this capacity, glucomannan has satiating properties that delay gastric emptying and prolong the feeling of fullness after meals.
Another reason why glucomannan is used as a remedy for weight loss is that, being a fiber supplement, it facilitates bowel movements and prevents constipation, a digestive problem that makes weight loss difficult. 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 the intestinal muscles.
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 take glucomannan correctly to lose weight :
How to take glucomannan to lose weight: capsules
If we are going to use this konjac format, it is important that you follow the following instructions:
- Administer this supplement with plenty of water (between 2 and 3 glasses in each shot).
- 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 often sold in health food 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 recommended that before using this substance you opt for whole-grain pasta since its only nutritional value is the 3% 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 when 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, bloating or other intestinal problems. It is also not advisable to use it for a long time, since konjac can cause a vitamin and other nutrient deficiency as it interferes with their absorption.
In addition to its effects, this substance cannot be taken by everyone as it has the following contraindications:
- Diabetes: Although glucomannan can lower blood 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 cause malnutrition.