Shirataki Noodles: Truth behind Glucomannan and Diet Pills
This entry was posted on October 11, 2011.
Everyone's seen the commercials by now. "Diet pills." "Lose 10 pounds in a week." "Eat anything you want and get skinny." "No need to exercise ever again."
There is a huge market for lose-weight-fast products, and for good reason- people want to get healthy. They want to find a real way to manage weight, and to maintain that weight, especially in a time when it's so easy to eat fast food and live a sedentary life style. But because the market is so big, it is riddled with scams, con artists, and untested diet products that have the potential to severely damage your health.
But we at AsianFoodGrocer are here to educate. We want to help you avoid the scams; we want to explain the science of weight loss, and show you how the scammers warp the facts to get your money.
Today we're going to be focusing primarily on something called Glucomannan. You may have heard of it, and if you Google it you'll get just under a million results.
Glucomannan is a naturally occurring polysaccharide and a strong soluble fiber. It has the ability to absorb several times its weight in water, and many trials have been conducted to see how it affects weight loss. A lot of these trials have shown to be effective in aiding with the treatment of constipation, high cholesterol and obesity.
The results of these trials have been out for a number of years, and for the last decade or two, Glucomannan has been packaged into a pill. It's been sold and misleadingly branded as a miracle diet pill that will fix all your weight problems almost overnight.
And here's the thing, Glocumannan does help to control weight- but not in the way that these companies were promising. You can see the complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission as well as the lawsuit information here. Companies who were brandishing the diet pills as a miraculous weight loss solution were fined about 1.5 million dollars. The Australian Government banned the sale of the pills, and there were even incidents of choking hazards with the diet pills in Canada. As you can see, these companies took a product that had potential to help people lose weight, and they marketed it as a sensational diet pill that could control weight, regardless of a person's diet or lifestyle.
So here's how it all works. Glucomannan IS a powerful weight loss aid. It works by absorbing water and expanding within the stomach. The effect of this is that people who eat it feel more full, and they eat less food over the course of a meal. Adding Glucomannan rich foods into your diet means that you'll be eating less every time you eat. You'll be taking in fewer calories, less cholesterol, less sugar, and most importantly, less fat. In short, you're eating until you feel full, but you're still eating less than you usually do, so you're dieting without really being aware of it. Combine this with a decent exercise regiment as well as some tasty vegetables, and you'll be well on your way to better weight and health. You won't be losing 6-10 pounds a week as some of the scamming companies promise, but you will see results over time.
We don't recommend you take the diet pills though. They have a noted choking hazard, and there haven't been enough studies done to condone the use of Glucomannan by itself. So does that mean you should just ignore the stuff altogether? Of course not. Just eat it where it occurs naturally. Shirataki Noodles are a great source of Glucomannan. The noodles come from the konjac root in tropical and sub-tropical countries in Asia, and it has been common among Asians' diets for hundreds, even thousands of years in some places.
These noodles have been getting a lot of press over the last few years. They've been on the Dr. Oz show a couple times. Rachel Ray featured them, and a lot of dieticians are recommending them. We started carrying them because our customers asked for it, and the more we learn about Shirataki, the more we like it.
The noodles are pretty much empty. They have almost no taste- they have little to no calories, carbs or sugar. They have no fat, no gluten, and no cholesterol. But they're effective because they will take on the taste of whatever they are prepared with, whether it's garlic Parmesan, an Italian marinara sauce, or a hearty meat stew.
The idea is that you incorporate the Shirataki Noodles into your meals. Replace your typical high-carb noodles with them, pair them with your meat dishes, put them into your stir-fries and casseroles. You'll eat less of the actual meal, meaning you'll take in fewer carbs and calories, but you're still eating so that you're full. It's a handy way to eat foods that taste good, while avoiding the overeating that leads to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Now, we're not going to make any wild claims about Shirataki noodles or Glucomannan. It is an effective diet tool, and it will help you take in less food- most likely the soluble fiber will even help maintain the health of your digestive tract. But it's not a problem solver by itself, you should still limit the fried chicken and the greasy fast food, and you should still exercise a couple times a week if you're expecting to see real, noticeable results.
The stuff won't magically cure heart disease or cancer, but it will help you get healthy, and a healthy body stands a much better chance against nasty things like cancer and disease than an unhealthy body.
The point that we'd like to stress is that diet and exercise is really the only way to achieve and maintain proper health and weight over time. Crazy diets and weight loss pills might shave off a few pounds for a week, but they won't keep it off, and they might even end up hurting you more in the end. We at AsianFoodGrocer encourage you to avoid the scams of lose-weight-fast products. And if you'd like a tool to help you eat less, then try incorporating Shirataki noodles into your diet- but most importantly, make an effort to get off the couch a few times a week. Your body will thank you, and the extra time you have on this Earth will be all the more wonderful because you earned it.