Glucomannan, chances are you've never heard of this stuff. If you want to lose some pounds, you should! Glucomannan is a natural dietary fiber that comes from the Konjac plant. No, this has nothing to do with alcohol. More interestingly, glucomannan is known to be an effective diet support. In fact, even the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority has recognized that Glucomannan can contribute to weight loss in the context of an energy-restricted diet! That is not the only benefit, as glucomannan also contributes to the maintenance of normal cholesterol levels in the blood. Sounds too good to be true? Then read on quickly!
What exactly is glucomannan?
As already described above, glucomannan is a fiber derived from the root of the Konjac plant. More specifically, glucomannan is a water-soluble dietary fiber with an enormously high capacity to absorb water like a sponge, up to 50 times its own weight! In tests where glucomannan was put in a glass with water, the entire content of the glass changed into a gel with a high viscosity. This is exactly the characteristic that makes glucomannan so unique compared to other dietary fibers. It may contain the same number of kilocalories, but because it takes in so much fluid, an enormous amount of stomach filling is created compared to at most 20 kilocalories.
The fact that glucomannan attracts so much moisture makes it precisely the reason why it can work so well in combination with an energy-limiting diet: by filling your stomach it creates a better feeling of satiety, so you are less likely to eat too much after taking it (and as you now know, preventing hunger is the secret to any diet). A strategy used here is to take glucomannan 30-15 minutes before a meal. This reduces the chance that you will exceed yourself during the meal. Very useful if you have a dinner on the schedule where food is available in abundance. That way you can still keep it under control.
Due to the enormous filling that glucomannan causes, it also takes longer for your body to process the food in your stomach, which in turn contributes to a longer feeling of satiety.
However, as always, this is only the theory, so let's see if scientific research supports this theory!
Glucomannan and weight loss
A study  took place in 1 in which the researchers wanted to test whether supplementation with different dietary fiber was more effective in losing weight compared to a placebo. The study was conducted on 175 men and women and used both single glucomannan and combinations of glucomannan and other dietary fiber. The subjects were overweight and were put on a diet of 1200 kilocalories, with either a fiber supplement or a placebo.
After a 5-week period, the researchers discovered that the group taking a fiber supplement had lost about 1,5 to 2 kg more body weight compared to the group taking a placebo. There was, furthermore, no clear distinction between groups with different fibers. This indicates that glucomannan is the most important fiber in this regard.
This difference may seem small, but it is good to realize that we are looking at a period of just 5 weeks here.
People who are overweight or even obese usually require a much longer process to return to a healthy weight. If we assume a route of 20 weeks or more, this difference would be 6 to 8 kilos by taking glucomannan! It is also important to note that all of these findings were significant. This means that the chance of coincidence is minimal (<1%).
The theory that glucomannan provides an increased feeling of satiety and can therefore support weight loss during an energy-restricted diet therefore has absolute scientific confirmation.
Glucomannan and your cholesterol
In addition to the benefits mentioned above, glucomannan is also good for cholesterol levels, which is very interesting for people who have problems with this. The theory behind this is that glucomannan causes the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines to deteriorate, thereby improving your blood levels. A 2008 study  put the test to the sum and found that both total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol (the 'bad') and free triglycerides decreased with glucomannan supplementation. Here too a decrease in body weight was found, something that research 1 supports.
It is not entirely clear whether glucomannan is only good for cholesterol levels due to deteriorated absorption or also because it can support weight loss. Chances are that it is a combination of both aspects, so that the test subjects generally became healthier.
Anyway these are very interesting effects that make the glucomannan definitely worth it.
Possible side effects of Glucomannan
Of course there are not only plus points, so below we list the possible side effects or disadvantages of glucomannan.
First of all it is extremely important to take glucomannan with a good sip of water. That way you know for sure that it will end up in your stomach. If this is not taken into account, glucomannan can remain in your throat. When the glucomannan absorbs and swells moisture there, it can cause a feeling of pressure in your throat or, in the worst case, block everything. With normal use this is nothing to worry about, but it is wise to keep in mind.
In addition, glucomannan is and remains a dietary fiber and they are sometimes known to cause discomfort to your intestines. Think of a bloated feeling, diarrhea, flatulence or stomach pain. Not everyone experiences these side effects, but this makes it wise to always start with a low dose of glucomannan before trying maximum recommended doses.
The latter is perhaps somewhat uncomfortable, but otherwise not harmful. Glucomannan has no adverse effects or side effects beyond these 2 points, making it safe to use.
How do you take Glucomannan?
Well, enough of the benefits of glucomannan, of course you want to know now how the hell you get! You can take Glucomannan in 2 ways: in supplement form and as noodles. Both are discussed below.
Glucomannan in supplement form is the easiest way to get glucomannan. Each tablet contains 1100 milligrams with a small amount of chromium in addition. This is a good dose to take before a meal, but it can also be used as a bridging period between meals in tablet form. You take these tablets 3 times a day and you will soon notice that the feeling of satiety gets higher due to the extra stomach filling that glucomannan gives you. Always ensure that you drink enough when swallowing a tablet!
The other way to take glucomannan is in the form of 'Shirataki Noodles'. These are of course not noodles as you normally know them, but it does have the structure of noodles. Shirataki noodles consist for the most part of water and for a small part of glucomannan. So what happens to a tablet in your stomach has already taken place with the noodles. The glucomannan has absorbed an enormous amount of moisture, making the volume many times larger. Because the noodles consist almost entirely of water, the number of calories is also very low. This makes Shirataki noodles perfect to eat during a diet if you are not allowed to use pasta or rice. One warning: rather start with half a bag first to discover how your bowels react to glucomannan.
We can keep the conclusion short: glucomannan offers a lot of benefits, with few and minor risks. Would you like to lose some extra kilos or is your cholesterol level not what it should be? Glucomannan could become a very good friend of yours!
Written by Mathias Jansen