THE BENEFITS OF SUPER FIBER
Credit Mark Hyman MD, http://drhyman.com
Konjac / Glucomannan (GM) is a soluble, fermentable, and highly viscous dietary fiber that comes from the root of the elephant yam, also known as konjac (Amorphophallus konjac or Amorphophallus rivieri), native to Asia. The konjac tuber has been used for centuries as an herbal remedy and to make traditional foods such as konjac jelly, tofu, and noodles. More recently, purified konjac flour, or GM, has been used as a food stabilizer, gelling agent, and supplement.
What makes this fiber so super is the fact that it can absorb up to 50 times its weight in water — making it one of the most viscous dietary fibers known. That means that GM can help you shed pounds. In many studies, doses of 2 to 4 grams of GM per day were well-tolerated. This amount also resulted in significant weight loss in overweight and obese individuals.
GM works by promoting a sense of fullness. Plus, it pushes more calories out through your colon, rather than letting them be absorbed. It also lowers the energy density of the food you eat. In other words, it bulks up food in your gut — creating a lower calorie content per weight of food you eat.
And since fiber has almost no calories but a lot of weight, adding it to your diet lowers the energy-to-weight ratio of the food that you eat. Studies show that the weight of food controls your appetite, so the fiber increases the food’s weight WITHOUT increasing calories — a critical factor in weight control.
This powerful fiber may also control your appetite in other key ways. For example, it sends signals to your brain that there is a lot of food in your gut and tells it to slow down on stuffing food in there.
GM also leaves your stomach and small bowel slowly because it is so viscous. By slowing the rate of food absorption from the gut to the bloodstream, GM reduces the amount of insulin produced after a meal, which also controls your appetite.
It may also increase the level of hormones in the gut (such as cholecystokinin), which is another way to control your appetite. And finally, you lose more calories through stool because GM soaks up all those extra calories!
GM can also help your health in other ways. In addition to weight reduction, GM has been studied for its effects on constipation, serum cholesterol, blood glucose, blood pressure, and insulin resistance syndrome.
With all those benefits, there’s no doubt you should eat more fiber. No, you probably won’t be eating 12 pounds of food like your ancestors did! But you can increase your fiber intake, just by being smart about what you eat.