Even for those who’ve by no means heard of konjac, you’re most likely aware of merchandise produced from this herb.
Konjac is used to make shirataki noodles, a pasta various you’ve possible 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 cut 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 elements of Asia, the place it has been used for fairly a while in conventional Chinese language medication,” explains Dana E. Hunnes, PhD, MPH, RD, a senior dietitian at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Heart and creator of the upcoming guide Recipe for Survival.
Generally 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 supplement 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.
Firms then add flavoring and sugar substitutes to create a gelatin-like snack that delivers fiber and minimal energy.
Is Konjac Protected To Eat?
“There are particular recognized 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 potential that konjac “might broaden 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 support healthy cholesterol levels, “equally to how soluble fiber in oats would possibly,” Hunnes says. A research discovered that the fiber in konjac may help treat constipation, although that research solely checked out seven individuals.
However what about konjac jelly?
Whereas fiber consumption has been associated with lower body weight, that doesn’t essentially imply konjac jelly will provide help to slim down.
A research of 53 obese and reasonably overweight individuals discovered that the glucomannan in konjac had no significant effect on weight reduction.
It’s additionally value noting that many konjac jelly merchandise at the moment available on the market comprise little to no fiber.
They’re primarily simply sweetened treats — not a fiber-filled snack. If you happen to’re seeking to get the advantages of dietary fiber, attain for considered one of these high-fiber foods as an alternative.
If you happen to’re hesitant to devour this herb, there’s a non-edible option to get in on the konjac pattern: 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 devour konjac jelly.
Remember the fact that konjac jelly received’t soften in your mouth like flavored gelatin and should require chewing.
If you happen to nonetheless need to give this pattern a attempt, you’ll want to learn the vitamin labels carefully.
Whereas the konjac plant is touted for its fiber content material, many well-liked konjac jelly manufacturers don’t really comprise a major quantity of dietary fiber.
Konjac jelly offers chewy texture and sweetness, however not a lot else — and plenty of are loaded with artificial sugars and sugar alcohols.
Listed here are a couple of of the most well-liked manufacturers, however you’re most likely higher off satisfying your snack cravings with lower-calorie snacks that present extra vitamins, together with fiber.
This model provides a variety of flavors, from peach to cola, together with added vitamin C and collagen.
However whereas the label says “zero sugar,” take into account it comprises 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, and so they comprise zero grams of fiber.