Glucomannan, which is konjac root fiber, is used as a thickening agent in certain foods. Although allowed in noodles in Australia, it was banned as a supplement in 1986 because of its potential to be a choking hazard and block the stomach. Mini-cup jelly containing konjac is also banned in Australia.
According to the FDA, konjac candy should not be given to children or the elderly. This is because unlike gelatin products, konjac does not easily dissolve in the mouth.
What is konjac root?
Konjac is used as a thickening agent or gelatin substitute. However, its most well-known use is in the preparation of shirataki noodles or shirataki rice, which are low-calorie alternatives to these typically carb-heavy main courses.
Konjac is found in some parts of Asia and used as part of traditional Chinese medicine. It has become popular in the Western world for its use as a supplement for weight loss and managing cholesterol levels.
Glucomannan fiber dissolves in water and swells up in the gut, causing you to feel fuller, suppressing appetite, and slowing down the process of intestinal absorption.
Glucomannan may reduce total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels by increasing fecal excretion of cholesterol and bile acids and reducing intestinal cholesterol absorption.
What are the side effects of konjac root?
Glucomannan can cause gastrointestinal problems such as:
Allergic reactions caused by glucomannan include:
Konjac contains short-chain carbohydrates called FODMAPs. Although fermentable carbohydrate in konjac has health benefits, some people may be unable to digest it. These carbohydrates are fermented in the intestines and cause gastrointestinal problems such as gas, stomachache, and cramps. People with irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease are advised to avoid eating konjac and FODMAPs-rich foods.
Because glucomannan is a soluble fiber, it needs to be consumed with plenty of water and other liquids in order to reduce the risk of gut blockage and cramping. People who are not used to eating enough fiber in their diet may experience flatulence, stomach pain, and bloating.
Glucomannan expands rapidly after absorbing water, and intake of an excess amount of glucomannan can lead to discomfort and prevents absorption of nutrients, leading to malnutrition. Moreover, it interferes with the absorption of medications and may worsen symptoms or illness.
It is recommended to seek medical advice before taking glucomannan supplements to prevent any serious health issues.
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