While most people definitely need to lose weight, it is not easy to achieve long-term success and quick results are rare, given the unique body chemistry and weight gain factors. All sorts of things are tried, from diets to pills, portions and weight loss. A unique natural dietary fiber which is an effective weight loss supplement, glucomannan might be just what you need to lose weight and keep it off.
Glucomannan is a natural, and 100% water-soluble dietary fiber extracted and derived from the elephant yam-root called konjac. Available as a supplement, it works wonders whether you take it with drinks or food products like flour and pasta. It is also the main or key ingredient in shirataki noodles. Glucomannan comprises 40 percent of elephant yam’s dry weight. Konjac is found in SE Asia. It has been used for herbal mixtures and traditional foods like konjac jelly, noodles, and tofu. This South East Asian dietary supplement is also used as a food additive. It is an emulsifier and thickener with the number E425-ii.
Glucomannan has an amazing ability to absorb water. It is one of the dietary fibers known to man that scores on viscosity. This ingredient absorbs massive amounts of liquid, so much so that if a glucomannan capsule is emptied into a water-filled glass, it turns the liquid into a gel! This is why it can impact weight loss.
The sum and substance of this are that Glucomannan is a water-soluble dietary fiber which works as an amazing weight-loss supplement.
How It Leads to Weight Loss
Glucomannan is a dietary fiber that is water soluble. Much like other soluble fibers, it promotes weight loss according to several mechanisms. Firstly, it is low in calories. Secondly, it takes up space in the stomach and produces a satiated feeling, reducing food intake at later meals. It also prevents the stomach from emptying faster, promoting a greater feeling of satiety and satisfaction. Much like other soluble fibers, it reduces the absorption of fat and protein. It also feeds bacteria which is friendly and turns into short-chain fatty acids like butyrate which protect against fat gain, as per research conducted.
Feeding gut-friendly bacteria can also have other benefits. There’s a link between altered gut bacteria and the weight a person attains. These mechanisms work in much the same way as other soluble fibers on weight loss. Mechanisms are akin to effects of soluble fibers on weight loss. These mechanisms are different in the case of glucomannan because it has a viscosity which is advanced compared to other soluble fibers. This makes it amazingly effective. Glucomannan absorbs stomach water and leads to satiety. It also lowers calorific intake and weight loss through other mechanisms and operations.
Does It Work Well?
Another point that must be taken into account is whether the outcome is significant and measurable weight loss if this supplement is taken? There are also many randomized controlled trials on glucomannan. These are considered as solid empirical evidence for those taking this konjac plant supplement. In one study, 176 healthy and overweight subjects were assigned to glucomannan supplements or placebos while on a diet restricting their calorific intake.
Three different glucomannan supplements were tested, across varying dosages. Some had fibers related to them. Results after a period of five weeks found that weight loss was considerably higher in the glucomannan group. Several other studies agree with these. Glucomannan causes modest loss of weight in obese and overweight individuals if taken before a meal. It is effectively combined with a weight reducing diet. This applies to different weight loss methods as well, as combining them yields significant results.
The supplement increases the feeling of satiety and reduces energy intake, making it the right choice for individuals who want to access good health.
Additional Health Benefits
Along with weight loss, glucomannan cuts down on risk factors for cardiac diseases. A meta-analysis of fourteen studies found the LDL cholesterol can be lowered by 16mg/dl, total cholesterol by 19, triglycerides by 11 and fasting blood sugar by 7.4. The main mechanism through which it reduces blood cholesterol is through decreased cholesterol absorption by the gut. As per studies, adding glucomannan to the diet could lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Apart from being a water-soluble fiber, glucomannan has been used to treat constipation as well. It also cuts down on heart disease risk factors like LDL, total cholesterol, triglycerides and resulting fasting blood sugar.
How to Take the Supplement
For weight loss, for an average adult, a dose of one gram thrice in a day is considered sufficient. Additionally, in contact with water, glucomannan expands and absorbs up to fifty times the weight. The recommended dosage for glucomannan is lower than another fiber supplement. This supplement does not have weight loss unless taken prior to a meal. The timing recommended ranges from fifteen minutes to a single hour prior to a meal.
Along with this, glucomannan is tolerated well and considered safe. If it expands before it enters the stomach, however, it can lead to blockage or choking of the esophagus and throat. For preventing this, it needs to be washed out with one to two glasses of liquids like water. Some mild side effects may be experienced such as soft stool, gas, bloating and diarrhea. However, these are rare side effects. Glucomannan also lowers absorption of oral medications such as sulfonylurea, a drug for diabetes. This can be prevented by ingesting the medication at least four hours after or one hour before ingesting glucomannan.
Should You Give It a Try?
As per the evidence, glucomannan is a weight loss supplement that is exceedingly effective. It is the same as any other weight loss strategy and does not work alone. The only means of losing weight, in the long run, is a permanent lifestyle change. Glucomannan can help to reduce weight along with other methods. In European and US markets, this supplement has also been introduced as a food additive for this reason. Apart from that, Glucomannan is also soluble, fermentable and highly beneficial. Derived from the Asian konjac plant, it has been part of the food and traditional medicine for centuries in the Oriental world. Native Chinese have used the konjac plant to treat breast pain, asthma, hernia, cough, burns, and numerous skin disorders. Supplementation with konjac glucomannan has been linked to better bowel movements and a healthier colon. It also improves carbohydrate metabolism and reduces plasma cholesterol.
Weight loss is just one of the reasons konjac glucomannan is known. Reputed stores like Walmart also sell this plant fiber and there’s even Lipozene, a supplement that is used by dieters that uses glucomannan. Glucomannan offers a healthy lifestyle and lets you choose safety when it comes to weight loss. This tasteless powder can be added to smoothies and even dishes like gravy and pasta. For those wondering why they should use this dietary supplement, here are the reasons:
#1 Lose Weight
The fiber of Konjac root has a low calorific content and is rich in nutrients. This dietary supplement is akin to many veggies and is a combination that promotes a waistline which is healthy. The rest of the diet has to be healthy too, though. Along with the intake of this dietary supplement, exercising regularly is a must. Promotion of a feeling of satiation is the reason konjac powder can stave off weight gain and make you less likely to overeat.
A 2005 research study found that when subjects who were overweight were assigned to placebo or glucomannan while on a calorie restricted diet, those who took this dietary supplement lose weight. Researchers specifically found a reduction in body weight for those overweight subjects who took this supplement. Glucomannan can be an effective agent for promotion of weight loss when it includes a lifestyle that is healthy and involves regular exercise as well as a nutritious diet.
#2 100% Natural Prebiotic
Probiotic foods are vital for gut health. They also promote overall good health. This is because these gut-friendly bacteria replicate fast due to nondigestible compound rich in fiber content called prebiotic. Like many prebiotics such as garlic and artichokes, glucomannan is a wonderful supplement for a not just good bowel movement, but the generation of more probiotics as well. Konjac root-derived glucomannan powder feeds friendly intestinal bacteria. A 2008 study discovered that glucomannan supplementation raises the concentration of probiotics as well as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli.
Additionally, prebiotics like glucomannan lower chances of developing cardiovascular diseases, leading to healthier cholesterol levels and improved gut health. It also enhances digestion and lowers response to stress, leading to better hormonal balance and higher immune system functionalities. It also lowers chances of weight gain and being either overweight or obese. It works out to be beneficial for lowering inflammation and autoimmune reactions as well.
#3 Relief From Constipation
A common problem resulting from low-fiber food intake, constipation is also triggered by dehydration and lack of exercise. Numerous studies have shown glucomannan aids in relieving constipation. When it is consumed, the powder functions as a prebiotic in the system and promotes good bowel movement. It is a bulk-forming laxative, which means it rids the body of unwanted toxins and makes evacuation easier. Glucomannan is an effective treatment for constipation. It encourages bowel movements within 12-24 hours of ingestion. Three to four grams in a single dose can help to treat constipation.
#4 Lower Cholesterol Levels
A consistent analysis of glucomannan studies has found that this powdery supplement lowers total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and body weight as well as fasting blood sugar. As it is a fiber-rich supplement, it decreases gut absorption of cholesterol through water sponging up in the digestive tract. This reduces cholesterol absorption by the body. Consequently, the blood contains lower levels of cholesterol.
#5 Ward off Diseases Like Diabetes
Close to a 20 scientific study review involving glucomannan and diabetes has found it delays the natural evacuation process of the stomach, leading to lower sugar levels and more slow absorption of sugar post the meal. Positive effects of konjac fiber have been discovered in those who were treated with a low-fat diet, drug therapy, and this supplementation. Specifically, the konjac plant supplement helped to control blood glucose levels, blood lipid profile and systolic blood pressure in diabetes patients or those at risk for it. Type 2 diabetes can also be treated effectively using this supplementation. Another study found that this supplement reduced and cured hypoglycemia. Excessive amounts of sugar circulating in the blood and glucomannan intake helps to stabilize this.
What To Watch Out For
While opting for glucomannan powder, you need to check there are no additives or fillers and it’s cent percent pure. Organic versions are ideal for weight loss. Try making shirataki noodles or homemade noodles using this powder for quick and safe ingestion of this supplementation. It can also be added to smoothies or shakes.
Glucomannan expands in water up to fifty times its weight. So, it is ideal when taken in a small amount by overweight and obese patients. For weight loss, 2-4 grams are enough while three to four grams have been found to function as an effective laxative.
History of Konjac Plant
The Konjac plant is botanically known as Amorphophallus konjac and is located in the root of the plant. This plant is indigenous to subtropics, tropical eastern Asia, across Japan, China, and Indonesia. Edible parts of the plant include its root or corm from which the powdered form of glucomannan is derived. The konjac root appears like the yam or taro, composed entirely of fiber with less starch. For the root to become edible, it needs to be dried and converted to a fine powder. This is known as glucomannan powder or konjac flour.
Glucomannan absorbs up to fifty times its weight through water retention. It is a natural supplement and fiber composed of mannose and glucose. It has the highest level of viscosity and molecular weight, as against other dietary fibers. When the dried powder is placed in water, it turns into a gel, much like the psyllium husk powder. Specific gut flora like Aerobacter, ammaplyticus, Clostridium beijerinckii and Clostridium butyricum are used to break the konjac root powder into mannose and glucose and reduce it to its present form of glucomannan powder.
Each dried konjac root has glucomannan gum of around 40 percent. Konjac is low in calorific value but high in fiber. A usual powder serving is around half a teaspoon or 2 grams, which contains around five calories and 2.5 grams of fiber. This fiber meets 10 percent of daily fiber requirements.
Konjac plant is also known as konjaku, konnyaku potato, voodoo lily, devil’s tongue, elephant yam or snake palm. It is found in Asian and Southeast Asian countries and its large starchy roots are also used to create powdered flour and jelly. Underground plant stems, these are short and vertical referred to as storage organs for plants to survive weather that is extreme.
This powder is known as a vegan substitute for gelatin and an ingredient in alternatives like vegan seafood products. Used during the Western Han dynasty from 206 BC to 8 AD, its medicinal properties were described in the medical document Shen Nong Materia Medica. This food is commonly used in drinks, and food products as well as cosmetics for gelling properties. Apart from powder for weight loss, Konjac is also being used in the form of a sponge for treating sensitive skin.
Soluble Fiber Glucomannan
Glucomannan is a form of soluble fiber which cannot be digested by the human body. It can, however, be digested by good bacteria or probiotics in the guts. The stomach and intestine are the places where the glucomannan absorbs water like a sponge creating a feeling of satiety. It also cuts down on the fast absorption of nutrients, lowering the blood sugar spike that takes place post-carb-heavy meals. The combined impact of increased satiety and slowing absorption of nutrients lowers food intake and acts as an appetite suppressant.
Once the soluble fibers traverse the stomach, they reach the large intestine or colon where they become food for probiotics. The healthy bacteria break it down, use it for fuel and turn short-chain fatty acids like butyrate for preventing fat gain in animal research. The precise mechanisms of causation are not known. However, these prebiotics feed gut-friendly bacteria and this has been shown to promote weight loss.
Glucomannan has many benefits for weight loss such as extremely low calories, a feeling of fullness or satiety to ensure one eats less. It also cuts down on the number of fats and proteins absorbed. Glucomannan absorbs 50 times its weight in water to promote satiety. The body cannot digest it, though the good bacteria in the gut can. Glucomannan impacts weight loss and health. It is an excellent prebiotic. These are foods that serve to stimulate probiotics or good bacteria growth. Research has shown probiotics have a massive impact on overall health. Improvement in gut health can lead to considerable weight loss. Researchers are focusing on Lactobacillus gasseri as a probiotic with massive impact on losing weight.
So, there’s dual action on weight loss, with soluble fibers having weight loss benefits by themselves and being doubly effective while combining with weight loss probiotics like these. Soluble fibers offer weight loss benefits alone and are effective with weight loss specific probiotics like Lactobacillus gasseri.
One study performed on 20 obese persons required taking glucomannan supplements or placebos. The glucomannan group took one gram of it, thrice in a day, one hour prior to each meal. Weight loss of 5.5 lbs was noticed in a period lasting 8 weeks. Another study involving over 200 overweight or obese individuals found glucomannan led to weight loss of 12 pounds in a period spanning 16 weeks. Both groups were able to reduce LDL and triglycerides. Some studies show similar results while inducing weight loss for overweight individuals.
As this is a soluble fiber absorbing water, it can make food travel faster through the intestine. Reduced caloric intake is some of the other weight loss mechanisms through which it promotes healthy weigh.