Even when you’ve by no means heard of konjac, you’re in all probability acquainted with merchandise comprised of this herb.
Konjac is used to make shirataki noodles, a pasta various you’ve probably seen on the cabinets of native well being markets.
However there’s a brand new konjac product getting into the market: a sippable jelly. Some manufacturers declare this fiber-filled jelly helps scale back starvation — however does it really work? How wholesome is konjac jelly?
Right here’s what you should know.
What Is Konjac?
“Konjac is an herb that’s native to sure components of Asia, the place it has been used for fairly a while in conventional Chinese language drugs,” explains Dana E. Hunnes, PhD, MPH, RD, a senior dietitian at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Middle and creator of the upcoming guide Recipe for Survival.
Typically referred to as voodoo lily, snake palm, or elephant yam, this plant “is understood for its starchy properties and as a supply of soluble dietary fiber,” Hunnes provides.
Konjac could also be used as a thickener in sauce and soup recipes.
Glucomannan, a polysaccharide extracted from konjac, may be used as a prebiotic complement to feed wholesome intestine micro organism and assist to advertise regularity.
Hunnes explains that it’s principally the plant’s corm — the half that grows underground — that’s used to make these merchandise.
What Is Konjac Jelly?
Due to its fiber and starch content material, the corm of the konjac plant additionally works as a gelatin substitute — and that’s how konjac jelly is made.
Konjac jelly merchandise use water and konjac powder to create a gelatinous goo.
Corporations then add flavoring and sugar substitutes to create a gelatin-like snack that delivers fiber and minimal energy.
Is Konjac Secure To Eat?
“There are particular identified dangers to konjac,” Hunnes says.
Gel candies made with konjac have been linked to choking deaths as a result of they don’t dissolve as simply as different gel candies or gelatin snacks.
It’s additionally doable that konjac “might develop within the esophagus or the bowel,” resulting in medical issues, Hunnes provides. The European Union and Australia have banned konjac jelly over these considerations.
What Are the Advantages of Konjac?
Konjac might assist help wholesome levels of cholesterol, “equally to how soluble fiber in oats may,” Hunnes says. A examine discovered that the fiber in konjac may assist deal with constipation, although that examine solely checked out seven folks.
However what about konjac jelly?
Whereas fiber consumption has been related to decrease physique weight, that doesn’t essentially imply konjac jelly will provide help to slim down.
A examine of 53 chubby and reasonably overweight individuals discovered that the glucomannan in konjac had no important impact on weight reduction.
It’s additionally value noting that many konjac jelly merchandise at present available on the market include little to no fiber.
They’re primarily simply sweetened treats — not a fiber-filled snack. Should you’re trying to get the advantages of dietary fiber, attain for one in all these high-fiber meals as a substitute.
Should you’re hesitant to eat this herb, there’s a non-edible option to get in on the konjac development: It’s used to make facial sponges.
What Are the Finest Manufacturers of Konjac Jelly?
First issues first: Hunnes suggests you learn any directions and warnings earlier than deciding whether or not or to not eat konjac jelly.
Remember that konjac jelly gained’t soften in your mouth like flavored gelatin and will require chewing.
Should you nonetheless need to give this development a attempt, remember to learn the vitamin labels carefully.
Whereas the konjac plant is touted for its fiber content material, many widespread konjac jelly manufacturers don’t really include a major quantity of dietary fiber.
Konjac jelly offers chewy texture and sweetness, however not a lot else — and plenty of are loaded with synthetic sugars and sugar alcohols.
Listed below are a number of of the preferred manufacturers, however you’re in all probability higher off satisfying your snack cravings with lower-calorie snacks that present extra vitamins, together with fiber.
This model presents a variety of flavors, from peach to cola, together with added vitamin C and collagen.
However whereas the label says “zero sugar,” take into accout it accommodates erythritol (a sugar alcohol) and sucralose (a sugar substitute).
These six-calorie jelly pouches can be found in grape, mango, or peach — however they’re sweetened with 12 grams of erythritol, they usually include zero grams of fiber.