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Shirataki Noodles – Are They A Super Food?

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If you’re trying to lose weight, you may have heard of shirataki noodles. These noodles were invented by the Japanese over 2000 years ago.

Shirataki noodles are made from flour ground from the bulbous root (or tuber) of the konjac plant. This flour is known as konjac flour and is not a carbohydrate like regular flour. It consists of 100% soluble fiber combined in a ratio of 3% to 97% water to create a firm gel. When left in blocks, this gel is called Konnyaku. When formed into noodles, it’s called shirataki, which means “white waterfall.” Traditional konnyaku is gray in color due to the addition of seaweed to the mix.

Konnyaku and Shirataki are virtually calorie-free due to the human body’s inability to convert fiber into energy. Even if konjac flour were a traditional carbohydrate, a 100-gram serving of shirataki would only contain 12 calories, based on the three grams of fiber it contains and the fact that there are four calories in one gram of carbohydrate.

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Most of Shirataki’s health benefits come from its fiber content. The American Dietetic Association recommends 20-35 grams of fiber per day. The average American only consumes about 15 grams of fiber per day.

Health Benefits of Shirataki

One serving of shirataki noodles per day;

  • Helps prevent “spikes” in blood sugar levels by stabilizing them.
  • Are gluten free.
  • Are carbohydrate-free and ideal for low-carb diets like Atkins.
  • Reduces cholesterol levels by around 10% and LDL (bad cholesterol) by 7.2%.
  • Reduces tryglycerides by 23%.
  • Reduces systolic blood pressure by 2.5%.
  • Strengthens the immune system.
  • Reduces inflammation and prevents polyps from forming in the colon.
  • Helps absorb vitamins and minerals.
  • Increases healthy bacteria in the colon.
  • Helps prevent colon cancer.
  • Effectively contains no calories and is therefore ideal for losing weight. Compare that to an average of 210 calories per cup of traditional pasta or noodles.
  • Fiber acts as an appetite suppressant by slowing down digestion and keeping you fuller for longer.

Disadvantages of Shirataki

  • Contain no nutrients other than fiber
  • Too much shirataki can cause diarrhea.
  • Some people may find the smell of shirataki unpleasant. (Simply rinse Shirataki to remove odors).
  • Shirataki has a gelatinous texture similar to rice noodles, and some people don’t like that texture, especially when hoping to replace traditional noodles.
  • Shirataki noodles have little flavor, so they need to be paired with other tasty foods.
  • Inadequate other food at the same time as Shirataki leads to malnutrition.

Warning: In the 1960s, a Japanese writer named Soichi Ohyake reportedly died of malnutrition after eating only konnyaku and shirataki to lose weight.

Shirataki noodles are a superfood. The answer is a clear no!’ The term superfood refers to foods that are highly nutritious. Of course, this doesn’t apply to shirataki noodles, as the only nutrient is fiber.

However, when used in conjunction with a healthy, balanced diet, they are ideal for anyone looking to lose weight and reap the health benefits they offer. It is therefore worth including them regularly in your diet.

Thanks to Julia Andersson

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