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Konjac Flour: Benefits, Side Effects, and Usage

Having a low-carb diet is often considered a sure shot way to weight loss. Many of us follow a zero-carb diet which is very effective in dropping kilos. If you have gone through such a diet, you might have faced many restrictions on food. Because, in general, all of our daily diet meals contain decent carbs. Also, carbs are an essential macronutrient, and they are the primary energy source for our body. When we restrict carbs, we exclude so many foods from our diet. It is very frustrating to not be able to eat your favourite items. In such situations, konjac flour comes into play. It is becoming extremely popular nowadays. 

Konjac Flour: An Overview

Konjac flour, also known as glucomannan powder, is obtained from konjac. It is a root vegetable. Konjac is a species of amorphophallus from southeast Asia. The speciality of this flour is that it is very rich in fibre and has minimal carbs in it. It also comes with plenty of health benefits. One might think it is getting popular nowadays, but it has been in play since old times. In southeast Asia, konjac flour has been present for years. Due to its health benefits and nutritional value, it is now getting popular worldwide. It is famous for its contribution to bowel movements and lowering blood cholesterol. It also boosts metabolism due to its nutritional properties.

This flour is for making special noodles that are 3% fibre and 97% water. Noodles with no calories are named Shirataki noodles or are popular as miracle noodles. Similarly, shirataki pasta is also available nowadays.  

USDA research provides the nutritional value of this konjac-based pasta. But, first, let us look at the number of macros and minerals found.

A 100g of organic spaghetti konjac shirataki pasta contains:

Energy: 10KcalProtein: 0gCarb: 3gFibre: 2gCalcium: 40mgSodium: 5mg

It has been consumed in China and Japan for more than 2000 years as an essential part of oriental dishes. We all know that the demand for gluten-free products is increasing. By that, production is getting challenging. Gluten-free diets became popular when people learned about gluten-related disorders (GRD). Specifically, gluten-free bread is very popular in the market. Considering amorphophallus konjac flour for making bread is a great option. You can also use konjac to make gluten-free bread.

How to Use Konjac?

A prevalent form of consuming konjac is noodles and pasta, which countries like China and Japan have been using for years. You can also use konjac powder in baked goods and sauces. Apart from this, konjac supplements are also available in the market. You can buy konjac supplements from authorised stores only and consume them before meals with water. There is no specific dose recommended for konjac. However, you can check the daily dose of the supplement itself. The amount of konjac may vary according to your purpose. You can fix the konjac supplement dose after consulting a doctor.

If konjac’s daily dose exceeds, it may lead to some side effects and health risks.

Symptoms & Precautions while using Konjac

As we have discussed the side effects of using konjac, we need to focus on symptoms of konjac overdose and precautions to be taken when using konjac. If you are using konjac supplements or products and experience the following symptoms, immediately stop using them.

Improper breathing or difficulty in breathingSkin rashes and hivesSwelling and itching on the skinIncrease in heart rate  

You need to take precautions with konjac supplements if you are a pregnant mother. Similarly, check with your paediatrician before giving it to your child. However, it is safe to consume konjac supplements while pregnant. Still, it is better to consult your doctor before using them. Konjac flour is known to lower blood sugar levels. Sometimes it may reduce the absorption of sugar. If you are a diabetic patient, closely monitor your blood sugar levels. Also, please consult your doctor before using konjac flour if you are on insulin medication. 

How to Cook Shirataki Noodles?

Shirataki Noodles

Shirataki noodles are also known as konjac noodles or miracle noodles. It is trendy among keto diet followers. It can be an excellent alternative to keto pasta. The preparation recipe for Shirataki noodles is much similar to keto pasta or authentic pasta. Most Shirataki noodles comprise glucomannan extracts from the root of the konjac plant. It is a gelatinous fibre of konjac root. 

Shirataki Noodles Nutritional Information

A 100g of shirataki noodles contains:

Energy: 15 KcalProtein: 0gCarb: 4gFibre: 2gCalcium: 40mgSodium: 5mg

Preparation

Take a colander and rinse shirataki noodles in running cold water for 2-3 minutes. It will help in neutralising the flavour of noodles.Take a container and boil the noodles. Boil these noodles to improve noodles flavour and texture and make them less crisp and rubbery. It would be best if you cooked them for 2-3 minutes. You will see that the noodles will become more prominent and thicker.Now take the noodles out of the water and pat them dry. Next, spread the noodles in the open air and cover them with a cloth or towel. 

Cooking

Heat a pan with medium flame. Make sure it is large and heavy enough. It helps to cook noodles deeply. Do not add oil to the pan; add the noodles to it and stir fry. After 10 minutes, you may see the dry texture of noodles; if it doesn’t, stir fry for 2 minutes. Turn off the flame; now, the noodles are ready.

Noodles Sauce

Now to add taste to it, we need to prepare sauce also. With Konjac noodles, you can have any pasta sauce. Here, we are preparing garlic parmesan sauce. 

The preparation of the sauce is explained below:

Heat olive oil in a pan and let it heat for a while.Add garlic mixture or garlic paste into it and fry it. Keep stirring till the fragrance of garlic is smelt. Now add broth and hung curd to the pan and stir continuously. Please bring it to a boil and then reduce the flame. Stir it continuously until it thickens. Now add parmesan into it and stir.When it appears yellowish-brown, add your cooked noodles to it.Keep stirring noodles until the sauce completely covers them.

Now your noodles are ready to serve. However, you can boil and serve the noodles without adding anything if you are on a weight-loss mission. If you add salt and a bit of spice, you can get a better taste. You can add some garlic infused sesame oil and chilli flakes and eat with sides of vegetables and proteins.

Risk and Side Effects of Konjac

Although Konjac Glucomannan is considered a safe product and generally does not show any side effects. However, it has a good amount of fibre and may lead to digestive problems. Some of the common side effects of konjac are:

Abdominal pain and gasNauseaLoose motions or diarrhoea

According to the FDA, konjac candies led to the death of older adults and children. The FDA report issued this alert on Konjac candies recently. It was due to the presence of gelatin in konjac candies. Like other gelatin products, konjac candies have gelatinous structures that cannot dissolve in the mouth. As a result, konjac supplements or products may expand in your bowel or food pipe and cause obstruction. This risk is much higher for those misusing it or in overdoses. It can be using konjac tablets or taking konjac without water. 

Due to such health risks, various countries have banned the use of konjac.

Konjac Flour: Benefits

Helps Lose Weight

Glucomannan extracts from the roots of konjac are water-soluble fibre. It helps in achieving weight loss in obese or overweight people. A study in 2013 found that konjac flour aids in weight loss because of glucomannan. Glucomannan is a polysaccharide chain with an attached acetyl group. It can absorb 50 times the water of its weight. So, glucomannan-containing foods are much lower in calories and count as weight loss products.

Aids in Constipation

Konjac has suitable properties that may fight constipation and achieve healthy bowel movements. A study in 2006 found that konjac glucomannan (KGM) relieves constipation. It also decreases the chance of constipation and helps in bowel movements. This study also found that if we add glucomannan supplements to low fibre foods, then it may help defecation. 

Reduces Blood Cholesterol

High cholesterol levels in the body are a more significant problem nowadays. It is becoming widespread to have increased cholesterol levels. Thanks to konjac which helps in reducing cholesterol levels in the body. A 2008 study found that konjac flour may help in lowering cholesterol levels. Also, it can reduce fasting blood sugar. Researchers have found that konjac flour can be good therapy for diabetic patients. Glucomannan was beneficial for total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in this study, but not HDL cholesterol or blood pressure.

Reduces the Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases

Cardiovascular diseases affect human health. Also, heart health is essential to weight management. A study found that konjac glucomannan(KGM) helps fight cardiovascular problems. This study shows that KGM can help in short-term use. If you take 3grams of KGM/day, it will reduce the LDL and non-HDL cholesterols by 7% to 10%. Hence health professionals found it to be beneficial in aiding cardiovascular diseases.

Helps Improve Skin Health

According to a 2013 study, konjac glucomannan hydrolysates(GMH) improve skin health. In addition, it found that topical use of GMH may help treat moderate acne. It can also be combined with other medications to treat severe acne. 

Konjac is a plant that has been useful for thousands of years in Japan. Earlier, Asians used it as medicine. The primary benefit of this flour is it reduces cholesterol which helps improve the cardiovascular system. Also, it helps in bowel movement and avoids constipation. And the most important thing is that it works like a weight-loss medicine. It is not only calorie-free but also helps in boosting metabolism. Boosted metabolism helps to lose weight faster. 

It works for acne and pimples also as it has konjac glucomannan. Most importantly, consume it with water as it may lead to various side effects. A beneficial medicine or a special diet, Konjac has adverse effects if not taken with proper care. Overdose of glucomannan may result in difficulty in breathing and skin rashes. Suppose you are allergic to konjac or notice immediate side effects. In that case, you need to stop using this and consult a doctor immediately.

Suppose you have some medical condition like diabetes or a heart patient. In that case, you should consult your doctor before taking konjac flour. Then, if it suits you, you can go for it. It is the best alternative for those who are on a ketogenic diet. 

Shirataki noodles are an excellent alternative for those who love to eat noodles and pasta. It helps them to have a calorie-free meal. In addition, it is rich in fibre, so you can go for konjac flour if you are not getting enough fibre.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. How many carbs are in konjac flour?

A. Konjac flour contains a mild amount of carbs. A 100g of Konjac Flour contains only 3g of carbs. Konjac flour is a keto-friendly diet. It helps one to reduce weight. It has 97% water and only 3% carbs; the other is 2g of fibres that do not contain any calories. On average, 100g of konjac flour contains 10 Kcal. 

Q. How much weight can you lose with konjac roots?

A. Konjac is very effective as a weight-loss supplement. Konjac fibre has shown that it can make an obese person lose 2.5kg to 6.5kg in 5weeks. However, it depends on what workout and diet rhythm you are following. Only konjac flour is not going to make you slim. 

Q. Does konjac spike insulin?

A. Konjac flour or noodles have a shallow glycemic index and do not give any spike in insulin levels. On the other hand, it is beneficial for increased insulin levels. It does not contain any carbohydrates and has a maximum of fibres and nothing else. It is considered safe. 

Q. Why does konjac smell fishy?

A. Konjac is a plant and is 100% vegetable. It doesn’t contain any fish. However, it smells fishy because of the presence of Calcium hydroxide. Calcium hydroxide is a coagulation agent added to it during its manufacturing process. Therefore, raw konjac does not smell fishy. 

Q. Is konjac flour the same as glucomannan?

A. Crushing the roots of the konjac plant, you can derive konjac flour. The source of the konjac plant contains glucomannan. However, the main difference between konjac flour and glucomannan is the quality. Glucomannan is a dietary fibre, and konjac only includes 95%. So there is only a quality difference in both. Otherwise, the working and purpose of both are identical. 

Q. Can konjac cause constipation?

A. Konjac does not have any involvement in constipation. It aids in getting rid of constipation by boosting bowel movement and aids in relieving constipation. It is often considered medicine for constipation.  

Q. Is konjac good for weight loss?

A. YES, konjac flour is also known as a zero calories diet. However, it contains a mild amount of calories due to a mild amount of carbs. It is high in fibre and calorie-free. Only 3% of it contains carbs and calories. You can add konjac noodles to your diet to make you feel fuller without getting any calories inside. 

Q. Is konjac a keto?

A. Yes, konjac is widely used as a part of a ketogenic diet. It contains significantly fewer carbs. Often people who are on a keto diet suffer from constipation. Konjac flour includes a decent amount of fibres, which can aid constipation and better bowel movement.  

Q. Can you eat too many konjac noodles?

A. Konjac is considered safe for most people and does not show any potential side effects. However, consuming excess amounts may lead to side effects like difficulty breathing, diarrhoea, loose stools, skin rashes, and swelling. Therefore, it is essential to consult a doctor before setting limits on konjac noodles.  

Q. What is konjac flour made of?

A. Konjac flour, obtained from konjac, is known as glucomannan powder. It is a root vegetable that you get by crushing the roots of the konjac plant.

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