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Konjac Noodles: Basic Noodles Without Carbohydrates

Konjac noodles are made from the flour of the konjac root. The konjac root is almost free of carbohydrates and calories. A serving of konjac noodles provides less than 10 calories and zero percent carbohydrates. The noodles fit very well into the low-carb diet and of course also help with weight loss.

Konjac noodles – the super slim noodles

Konjak noodles – also called Shirataki noodles – are actually what nobody can really believe: noodles that are healthy and with which you can lose weight with ease.

  • Konjac noodles are almost calorie-free: Konjac noodles contain 8 calories per 100 grams. Conventional noodles are more than 15 times as much. Even the cucumber, which is so low in calories, does not quite come close to the lightness of the konjac noodle with 12 calories.
  • Konjac noodles are fat-free.
  • Konjac noodles are gluten-free: Konjac noodles are made from a root vegetable and not a gluten-containing grain.
    Konjac noodles are basic: Konjac noodles are even so basic that they exceed the base potential of, for example, spinach – one of the most basic foods of all – many times over. Konjac noodles, therefore, fit into every healthy nutritional concept, detoxification cure, and deacidification program.
  • Konjac noodles contain zero usable carbohydrates: Konjac noodles are free of usable carbohydrates and are therefore ideal for low-carb nutrition.
  • Konjac noodles have a glycemic load (GL) of zero: The glycemic load indicates how much 100 grams of food raises the blood sugar level. The glycemic load of konjac noodles is zero. The glycemic index (GI, Glyx), on the other hand, indicates how much a food causes the blood sugar level to rise if you consume 50 grams of carbohydrates with this food. Since konjac does not contain any usable carbohydrates, you can eat an infinite amount of konjac noodles and yet never reach the 50-gram mark.
  • Konjac Noodles Are High in Fiber: Konjac noodles are high in soluble fiber. Soluble fiber can – in contrast to insoluble fiber such as e.g. B. bran – absorb many times its volume in liquid. They promote exceptionally good intestinal health and ensure optimal digestion.
  • Konjac noodles fill you up: Due to their high fiber content, konjac noodles fill you up in the long term without providing calories at the same time. Even a small portion of 100 to 125 grams of konjac noodles will fill you up for several hours – all the more, of course, the more balanced and rich in vital substances the side dishes are.
    Konjac noodles are ready to eat in 1 minute: Konjac noodles can be prepared in seconds and are therefore ideal for healthy fast food cuisine.

Konjac noodles – popular for centuries

Unlike conventional noodles, konjac noodles are not made from a type of grain, but from the konjac root (Amorphophallus konjac or in English: devil’s tongue). Konjac is an Asian root vegetable that has been cultivated and consumed in China, Korea, Japan, and many other Asian countries for centuries.

In terms of consistency, the tuber of the devil’s tongue is a little like the potato. However, that is the only thing they have in common since konjac contains neither starch nor other usable carbohydrates and no protein. The Konjac root consists of water and fiber, nothing more. And it is precisely this dietary fiber in the konjac root that is so special about the konjac noodle.

Konjac Fiber: Glucomannan

A proud 40 percent fiber is contained in the konjac root. In contrast, whole grain bread – which is known for its particularly high fiber content – ​​contains only around 12 percent fiber, which also mainly belongs to the type of insoluble fiber.

The Konjac root, on the other hand, contains soluble fiber. The soluble fiber in the konjac root is called glucomannan. Glucomannan is also found in some types of wood. However, the richest known source of glucomannan is the konjac root.

In contrast to insoluble fiber, soluble fiber can absorb many times its volume in liquid – with glucomannan being able to bind more water than any other soluble fiber. And exactly this property is – after the calorie-free konjac noodles – the next reason why konjac noodles can help so well with weight loss.

Lose weight with konjac noodles

Being able to lose weight with pasta is a dream for many people. The konjac noodle fulfills this dream. Konjac glucomannan expands in the digestive system due to its strong water-binding capacity and in this way ensures lasting satiety, which, in the case of overweight, together with a corresponding change in diet, leads to a reduction in excess kilos – with the intake of konjac glucomannan leading to greater weight loss than an appropriate diet alone. In a 2005 Norwegian study, the additional weight loss thanks to the konjac glucomannan were 0.35 kilograms per week.

Also, like other soluble fibers, konjac glucomannan can absorb toxins so they can be excreted in the stool and not re-enter the bloodstream. However, not only toxins are absorbed by the konjac glucomannan, but also part of the dietary fat, so less fat is absorbed overall. The konjac noodle leads to weight loss in different ways:

Why the konjac noodle makes you slim

  • The konjac noodle is calorie-free.
  • The konjac noodle provides special dietary fiber that is believed to absorb fats from other foods and thus reduce total fat intake.
  • The fiber in the konjac noodles also expands in the digestive tract and can thus create a pleasant and lasting feeling of satiety.
  • In addition, in a 2009 study, researchers at Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand, discovered a link between the consumption of konjac fiber and ghrelin. Ghrelin is a hormone that signals hunger and appetite. The lower the ghrelin level, the less you eat. Konjac fiber can now reduce post-meal ghrelin levels (thus reducing the appetite for dessert) as well as mitigate the rise in ghrelin during fasting periods, preventing binge eating.

All of these points combine to not only make you weigh less but also lower blood fat and cholesterol levels.

Konjac noodles lower cholesterol levels

In a 2008 review published in the American Journal of Nutrition, University of Connecticut researchers analyzed 14 studies investigating the relationship between glucomannans and cholesterol levels and found that the use of glucomannans reduced total cholesterol by an average of just under 20 mg/dL could lower, as well as LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol, by 16 mg/dL) and triglycerides (by 11 mg/dL). The subjects’ weight also consistently decreased when they took glucomannan.

A previous double-blind, placebo-controlled study conducted on 63 healthy men at Sweden’s Orebro Medical Center Hospital found similar results after taking just under 4g of glucomannans daily for four weeks. The scientists involved wrote a conclusion:

“The results of our study demonstrate that glucomannan is an effective dietary supplement for cholesterol lowering.”

Konjac noodles for diabetics

Lowering blood fat and cholesterol levels often seems to go hand-in-hand with regulating blood sugar levels — and this is exactly what happens to many people who are addicted to konjac noodles and consume glucomannan with this noodle on a regular basis.

In a study of 20 diabetics, subjects took 3 g of glucomannan per day for four weeks. This significantly reduced the rise in their blood sugar levels after meals. The researchers then wrote that glucomannan supplementation was recommended for controlling blood sugar levels.

Well-established diabetes is usually preceded by a slowly developing insulin resistance. To test the effect of konjac glucomannans on insulin resistance, researchers at the University of Toronto selected subjects who, in addition to insulin resistance, also had low levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol, high triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, and were also on a high-carbohydrate diet.

The subjects consumed 0.5 g glucomannan per 100 calories daily (for 3 weeks). The control group ate wheat bran crackers instead. In contrast to the control group, cholesterol and blood fat levels as well as the fructosamine level, which is an indication of the blood sugar levels of the last few weeks, fell in the glucomannan group (the higher the fructosamine level, the higher the blood sugar level was in the last few weeks). The scientists then confirmed that the konjac glucomannan had therapeutic potential in insulin resistance.

Konjac noodles regulate digestion

The high water-binding capacity of the konjac glucomannan also has an extremely positive effect on digestion. If the stool is too soft, the excess water is absorbed in the intestine, the stool becomes solid and its passage through the intestine slows down. At the same time, the expanding konjac glucomannan stimulates intestinal peristalsis. In the event of constipation, this speeds up digestion and makes bowel movements noticeably easier.

This beneficial effect of glucomannan has been known to western science since at least the early 1990s. Italian researchers from the University of Milan announced at the time after successful studies:

“Glucomannan is very well tolerated and free from side effects. Due to their good effect on digestion, they can be recommended as an ideal therapeutic measure in the treatment of chronic constipation.”

The test subjects involved had been taking glucomannan for a period of two months. In the first month 1 gram twice a day, in the second month the same dose three times a day.

Another double-blind, placebo-controlled study, also Italian, came to a similar conclusion and was published in the Journal of Pediatrics in 2000. Here, 20 children – who suffered from severe brain damage – were given glucomannan to treat their chronic constipation. Soon the glucomannans had significantly increased the frequency of bowel movements, while nothing happened in the placebo group. Stool consistency was also better in the glucomannan group, and painful bowel movements were less common.

Of course, glucomannan should not be viewed as the sole solution to digestive problems as the soluble fiber does not address the root cause, which is usually found in an unsuitable diet and/or psychological stress. Exactly this point could be the reason for many a study that did not come to a positive result in relation to constipation through the administration of glucomannan alone.

However, as a supporting measure – for a change in diet taking place at the same time – glucomannan (in the form of konjac powder) or konjac noodles can very well be used. Especially since konjac glucomannan appears to have a very beneficial effect on overall gut health and can even reduce risk factors for colon cancer.

Konjac noodles for colon cancer prevention

Researchers at the Chung Shan Medical University in Taiwan found in a study that the administration of konjac glucomannan had a very positive effect on the intestinal flora since konjac increased the number of bifidobacteria and lactobacteria (friendly intestinal bacteria) – despite those administered in this study anti-gut high-fat diet.

At the same time, the content of short-chain fatty acids in the stool increased in the presence of the konjac glucomannan, which is a sign of both a healthier intestinal flora and a strong immune system in the intestinal mucosa. In addition, the decreasing activity of the β-glucuronidase could be measured in the stool. Increased activity of this enzyme is associated with an increased risk of colon cancer.

Another study with a diet that was also rich in fat and – apart from the supplemented konjac fiber – fiber-free diet showed that glucomannan lowers the MDA level in the intestine and liver. MDA stands for malondialdehyde. This substance is produced in the body during the oxidation of unsaturated fatty acids and is therefore a marker for oxidative stress. So, the lower the MDA level, the better — and konjac noodles help with that.

The DNA damage to white blood cells (immune cells) could also be reduced by konjac glucomannan, which of course – together with the aspects described below – leads to a strengthening of the immune system.

Konjac dietary fibers increase the body’s own defenses

At the same time, in the above study, the formation of endogenous antioxidants was accelerated under the influence of glucomannan, e.g. B. glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase (SOD). Konjac glucomannan obviously increases the body’s antioxidant abilities and massively strengthens the body’s own defenses.

These studies show that the dietary fiber of konjac root itself has beneficial effects when accompanied by an unfavorable diet and can, to some extent, offset the harmfulness of such a diet.

Konjac noodles for diverticulitis

Even with diverticulitis (protrusions of the intestinal mucosa) – whether inflammatory or not – the fiber from the konjac noodles has proven to be helpful.

In one study, researchers prescribed their patients either just an antibiotic (group 1) or an antibiotic together with glucomannans (group 2). After 12 months of therapy, the patients in the second group were doing significantly better than those in group 1, so concomitant intake of glucomannan can also be considered for this indication.

Alternatively, however, konjac noodles can also be eaten regularly, since 5 g of glucomannan is consumed with 100 g of konjac noodles. But how does the konjac root become a konjac noodle?

The production of konjac noodles

To make konjac noodles, the konjac root is ground into flour. Then the flour is mixed with water and calcium hydroxide – a calcium-rich and harmless stabilizer. The mixture develops into a gel that can now be cooked and then formed into a variety of pasta shapes.

Even Konjak lasagne sheets or Konjakreis are available in specialist shops. Of course, this is not rice, but the konjac mass brought into rice form.

The nutritional value of konjac noodles

Konjac noodles have no nutritional value. Konjac noodles are therefore not eaten to recharge their batteries, provide themselves with proteins, or enjoy vitamins.

Konjac noodles contain 100 g:

  • 1.0g protein
  • 2.0 grams of fat
  • 3.0 grams of carbohydrates
  • 4.5 grams of dietary fiber
  • 5.8 calories

So if you are NOT planning to lose weight, but still want to eat konjac noodles, make sure you have side dishes that are rich in energy, protein, and vital substances. Of course, if you want to lose weight, you should also make sure you have side dishes that are rich in vital substances (vegetables, salads) and a suitable supply of protein and fatty acids, but you still feel full, perfectly fine, and still light as a feather – without any carbohydrates at all.

Konjac noodles – taste and preparation

Conveniently, konjac noodles have no taste of their own. They can therefore be prepared according to your mood and take on the aroma of the sauce, spices, herbs, or other side dishes. Konjac noodles can also be used for cold or hot dishes, yes, they can be processed anywhere where conventional pasta was previously used.

Konjac Noodle Salad

The fine konjac noodles taste delicious as a noodle salad with shaved Chinese cabbage and cucumber wheels, along with finely grated carrots and fresh sprouts. A dressing of your choice (e.g. made from freshly squeezed lemon or orange juice, olive oil, some garlic, and fresh herbs) and the alkaline snack is ready, which will keep you full for at least three hours – with a minimum number of calories and a high density of vital substances.

Italian konjac noodles

The usual pasta and bolognese sauces go well with konjac fettuccine or konjac spaghetti, and with konjac glass noodles you can prepare unique Asian dishes that will delight your guests – especially if they find out about the properties of konjac noodles along the way.

Lasagna made from konjac noodles

The carbohydrate-free lasagne sheets made from the konjac root are ideal for low-carb diets, very filling, versatile, and quick to prepare. Our professional chefs have created a very tasty lasagna from konjac noodles.

Ayurvedic Konja Circle

For example, put some ghee in a deep pot and roast the Ayurvedic spices of your choice (cumin, curry, fenugreek, turmeric, coriander, etc.) in it. Prepare your favorite vegetables (blanch, steam, etc.) and add them to the ghee-spice mixture together with the konjac circles, which you have previously boiled in salted water for a minute. Stir well and let the vegetable and rice dish stand for a few minutes before serving.

Let the konjac noodles soak before eating

Soaking (for two to three minutes) in the sauce, in the vegetables, or in the dressing is extremely important, as the aroma then intensifies particularly well and transfers to the finished pasta.

And if you should read about the “fishy taste” of the Shirataki noodles aka konjac noodles in some places on the net, this refers first of all to the natural smell of the konjac root and also to the wrong preparation. The smell or taste only stays on the noodles if the noodles were not rinsed as recommended before preparation. In contrast to “normal” pasta, the konjac noodles are not dry in the packaging. Instead, they are pre-cooked and vacuum-packed in an aqueous solution.

This is very convenient because they only have to be rinsed under running water and put in a pot of hot or boiling salted water for a minute – and they’re done. It is therefore ideal when things have to be done quickly or for the next holiday.

The preparation of konjac noodles in brief

  • Unpack the konjac noodles.
  • Rinse the noodles in a colander under running water.
  • Place in a saucepan of boiling salted water.
  • Cook for 1 minute.
  • Mix the konjac noodles with the vegetables, with a dressing, with a sauce, etc., and let stand for a few minutes – then serve.

Don’t you really like pasta? And still, want to benefit from the effects of the konjac root? Then the konjac capsules might be an option for you.

Konjac capsules – weight loss pill without side effects

Konjac capsules were developed because it was officially recognized and confirmed that the konjac root helps very well with weight loss.

The European Food Safety Authority EFSA wrote in its journal in 2010 that to promote weight loss, a minimum of 3 grams of konjac glucomannan should be consumed daily – preferably in 3 servings of 1 gram each.

The konjac glucomannan should be taken before the main meals, which of course should not consist of pizza “Four Seasons” or bockwurst with fries, but of dishes rich in vital substances and with an excess of bases. You should drink 1 to 2 glasses of water each time.

Konjac noodles – the right quality

As mentioned at the beginning, konjac noodles are also sold under the name Shirataki noodles. However, make sure that these noodles – if you want to buy pure and real konjac noodles – really only consist of konjac, water, and calcium hydroxide and do not contain any soy or tofu admixtures. If the latter is the case, the noodles are called tofu shirataki.

In addition, the konjac noodles are also available in organic quality, which excludes pesticide residues and stands for environmentally and socially responsible production.

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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