For decades now, it seems we’ve been hearing about the many health benefits of fiber. These benefits include lowering cholesterol, reducing blood sugar spikes, promoting regularity, and yes, weight loss. But recently, a new type of fiber has been gaining in popularity, it is called glucomannan.
What is Glucomannan?
Glucomannan is a kind of soluble fiber that is extracted from the root of the konjac plant. It is available in supplement form as a powder and an extract. It is also available through certain food sources such as (shirataki) glucomannan noodles.
Glucomannan Weight Loss Studies
There have been multiple placebo controlled studies regarding glucomannan and weight loss. All of these studies have demonstrated moderate but significant weight loss in the glucomannan group as compared to the control group.
One 16 week study showed truly impressive results. At the end of the study, the glucomannan group lost 4.52 kg compared to .79 kg on average in the placebo group. The glucomannan fiber group also reported reduced hunger. In this study, the participants were not instructed to alter their food intake at all.
Why Glucomannan Works
This first point is the most basic, and is the easiest to understand. Fiber is bulk, this bulk fills up our stomachs and intestines making us feel full. But in my opinion, this is just one in a long list of reasons for the weight loss.
Diabetes and Blood Sugar Spikes
It has been proven that glucomannan can help control blood sugar spikes in type 2 diabetics. This is because glucomannan is a soluble fiber, when soluble fiber mixes with water, it forms a gel. This gel absorbs sugars and starches, this greatly slows the absorption of these sugars into the blood stream. This in turn keeps blood sugar, as well as insulin levels steady.
This is important not just for the ever growing number of type 2 diabetics, but for anybody interested in weight loss. Because of how insulin works in the body, blood sugar spikes are inevitably followed by blood sugar level crashes. Both are nightmares for weight management.
When our blood sugar levels spike, our bodies are flooded with insulin. This is done to provide the body with energy, but also to reduce blood sugar levels to normal before damage occurs to healthy cells. This is why many diabetics suffer kidney failure, amputations, and blindness.
This blood sugar has to go somewhere, and unless you’re actively burning off these sugars, the only place they can go is to fat cells. But after this, there is an equal and opposite reaction that is just as harmful.
This flood of insulin returns blood sugar levels to normal, but most often, they end up far below normal. This causes tiredness, irritability, and hunger. The perfect storm for weight gain. Have you ever heard of low Glycemic Index foods (slowly digested carbs)? This is the reason why these foods are so good for weight loss.
Glucomannan and Candida
There are strong indications that candida overgrowth in the intestines can cause weight gain plus many other health problems as well. This is known as a state of dysbiosis.
Surely by now, you’ve seen the TV commercials touting the benefits of probiotics. Soluble fibers such as glucomannan, act as a food source for these probiotic bacteria, they are often referred to as prebiotic fiber. The natural proliferation of these beneficial bacteria help to keep the canidida (yeast) in check.
Regularity and Weight Loss
It has been proven that people who have better digestive function tend to weigh less. This could be due to a couple of things. The soluble fiber in glucomannan binds up a certain amount of fat, these fats may be excreted by the body before they are even absorbed. Glucomannan fiber is high up on the list of cleansing foods.
But maybe even more importantly, being constipated makes you feel drained, and heavy. It bloats you up and makes you less likely to be active, and what about just feeling good, making healthier choices is easier when we just feel good.
Glucomannan can be an effective tool for weight loss. But we must take action. This is our responsibility and ours alone, after all, nobody is going to do it for us.