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Can You Eat Shirataki Noodles On The Low Carb Diet?

Do you miss eating pasta on the low-carb diet? Shirataki noodles contain almost no calories and carbs, and they taste great. Learn more here.

Shirataki noodles are a great addition to your diet if you are trying to watch your carb intake.

Made from a type of fiber from the konjac plant, Shirataki noodles are often used in place of traditional pasta on the low-carb diet.

They contain almost no calories and carbs, making them suitable for anyone trying to lose weight or watch their blood sugar levels.

Read on to learn about the health benefits of the konjac plant and why you should add shirataki noodles to your low-carb diet.

What Are Shirataki Noodles?

Shirataki noodles are made from a type of plant native to various parts of Asia called konjac.

Also known as elephant yam, the konjac root is native to various parts of Asia. This root vegetable is also a common ingredient in konjac jelly or noodles.

Konjac is not used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as an herbal ingredient in formulations or remedies. However, the various health benefits of konjac consumption align with TCM beliefs.

For instance, TCM believes that konjac can neutralize toxins, help with Phlegm, and dissipate swells, lumps, and clots. It can also help with indigestion, bruises, and burns. 

Health Benefits Of Shirataki Noodles

The following is a list of health benefits of the konjac plant, which is what shirataki noodles are made from:

1. Helps Lower Cholesterol

The consumption of water-soluble fiber can help keep cholesterol levels under control. A 2017 meta-analysis shows that glucomannan — a type of soluble fiber found in konjac — can reduce LDL and non-HDL cholesterol levels in the body.

In fact, you can consume konjac alongside other TCM ingredients. A 2018 clinical study shows that a combination of konjac blend and American ginseng reduced the LDL and non-HDL cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes. It also improves blood sugar control and potentially helps lower the risk of heart disease.

Caution: Consult a TCM practitioner before taking this combination. “As with any food or herbs, you should consume konjac in moderation or sparingly depending on your body constitution and medical condition. Never self-diagnose and consume without professional guidance from a TCM physician,” notes Senior TCM Physician Brandon Yew from Real Health Medical Clinic in Singapore. 

“There is a TCM saying that translates as ‘all medicines have their toxicity.’ It aptly implies that all medicines, even those mild enough to be used as food, must be consumed with caution,” says TCM physician Yew. The same applies to food. TCM believes that all foods have their own unique nature and properties. This can upset the bodily balance if not consumed in moderation. 

2. Supports Digestive Health

A larger intake of glucomannan-rich foods like konjac jelly or noodles can help improve constipation in pregnant women.

A 2018 study showed that 32 constipated pregnant women who consumed this fiber achieved better bowel movement and increased stool consistency, thus easing their discomfort.

Additionally, a compilation of clinical studies also showed that glucomannan use contributed to an increase in the frequency of passing stools amongst 122 children.

3. Keeps Your Skin Healthy

Konjac is also known for its healing ability against hyperpigmentation, redness, and dry, itchy, or oily skin.

This is because konjac is an abundant source of ceramides — also known as lipids — which play an essential role in preventing skin dryness and improving the conditions mentioned above.

Applying konjac glucomannan hydrolysates on the skin effectively reduces infection in severe acne or pimples. It can reduce allergic response and improve wound healing as well.

4. May Help You Lose Weight

Adding shirataki noodles to your diet can help you enjoy low-carb pasta again.

Konjac-based foods are part of popular diet plans because glucomannan helps keep a person satiated for longer.

Like all fibers, konjac achieves this by slowing the rate at which the stomach empties itself.

The inclusion of konjac rice, noodles, or jelly in well-rounded diet plans can increase the potential of losing weight.

Eating konjac-based foods as snacks between main meals prevents unhealthy food binges.

Alternatively, consuming a nut mixture that includes almonds, cashew nuts, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds can help a person stay full for longer periods. It also provides an intake of protein and healthy fats.

Final Thoughts On Shirataki Noodles

TCM believes that konjac is bitter, cold, and pungent. According to Physician Yew, “People with Yang (warming energy) or Qi (vital life energy) Deficiency of the Heart, Lung, Spleen and Kidneys, excessive Yin (bodily fluids and cooling energy), and Cold pathogen must avoid consuming konjac.”

The best ways to consume konjac is in the form of powder, noodles, and jelly. It should not be consumed raw due to its toxicity. This means you should cook it thoroughly by boiling, frying, and steaming.

The consumption of konjac rice, noodles, jelly, or supplements can provide an array of health benefits. You can add them as part of your meal, to support a well-balanced diet and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

To support a weight loss diet and suppress the absorption of carbs, you can also try a slimming drink made with green coffee bean extract, oat bran fiber, Garcinia, and Hoodia.

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