Deep in the jungles of Southeast Asia grows a plant called konjac. Not many people have heard of it, but its medicinal properties have been known for a long time. It is a staple in traditional Chinese medicine, and in herbal preparations.
It is the root of this plant that attracts the most interest. The fibre extracted from the roots of the konjac plant forms a gel-like substance when mixed with water, causing it to thicken and increase in volume.
This effect makes it great as an emulsifier (a binding agent) or a thickener (to replace gelatin in vegetarian cooking, for example).
And it has some interesting implications for weight loss, too…
What is glucomannan?
That’s a good question. Although the plant is called konjac, the fibre extracted from the roots is more commonly referred to as glucomannan. And in recent years, it has caused quite a stir in the world of weight loss supplements.
That expanding effect we mentioned earlier? It is fantastic for suppressing appetite and promoting feelings of satiety. When you ingest glucomannan with water before eating, it expands in your stomach and provides a bit of padding. This means that your stomach’s fullness sensors are triggered more quickly when eating, and the overall amount of calories you eat in each meal is prone to decrease.
Glucomannan and weight loss
Sounds great, right? A naturally occurring ingredient that can help you to feel full, consume fewer calories and, all being well, lose weight. While the implications are exciting, there are a few things you need to know before deciding to take glucomannan supplements.
Is glucomannan safe?
A substance that turns into a thick gel may not sound particularly appetising, and you may be wondering whether it is safe. The first thing to think about when answering this question is the dosage you take.
Health authorities in Europe have studied the effects of glucomannan, establishing that in the context of “an energy-restricted diet”, 3000mg per day is the optimum amount for weight loss. This is 3 grams: obviously not an enormous amount, but enough to be effective, and maybe less than you would expect.
If you take a weight loss supplement where glucomannan is an active ingredient, make sure that it is not present in amounts over 3000mg. Also, make sure that the dosage is not too small – otherwise it may have no effect whatsoever.
The Leanbean fat burner for women is a good example of a supplement with the right balance of glucomannan for weight loss. They designed their formula to include 3000mg, and this is backed up with a suite of other ingredients designed to supplement your weight loss.
For optimum delivery to the part of your digestive system where it will have the most effect, it is recommended to drink a glass of water or two with your glucomannan. This will help to transport it, and will also provide the water required to trigger the expansion.
If you have low dietary fibre levels, it’s best to introduce glucomannan slowly but surely into your diet. This is to give your body the best chance to get used to its presence and to prevent an uncomfortable feeling in your tummy.
What weight loss results can you expect from glucomannan?
While results will vary based on many personal factors – your starting weight, your caloric deficit, how much exercise you do – understanding how glucomannan has helped other people with weight loss can be a useful motivator.
One study found that weight loss of between 2 and 6 kilograms was achieved over a five-week period when taking glucomannan supplements. Another study found that 2.5 kg of weight loss was achieved with glucomannan supplementation compared to 0.7 kg without, in a trial where no additional changes to diet or exercise habits were made.
Although no ingredient will cause you to lose weight by itself – there is no magic pill for weight loss – supplements with glucomannan can contribute to a lifestyle where weight loss is more likely.
We mentioned Leanbean earlier – their formula is a great example of an effective fat burner. It contains glucomannan to suppress appetite and reduce the calories you consume, in the doses found to be most effective by health authorities. It also contains ingredients with thermogenic effects to boost your body’s metabolism and burn more calories at rest. These are backed up by an army of vitamins and minerals designed to contribute to healthy lipid and energy-yielding metabolism, making sure your body can use, store, retrieve, and burn fat as efficiently as possible.
It’s also important to aim for a lifestyle where the amount of calories you burn through exercise and lifestyle exceed the ones you consume. This will ensure your body runs at a caloric deficit, which is a vital prerequisite for weight loss.
When taken as a supplement, you can expect glucomannan to contribute to such a lifestyle by helping you to eat less than you otherwise would.
Some of the best fat burning ingredients come straight from Mother Nature’s pantry, and glucomannan is a fine example. This extract from the root of the konjac plant has made a big impact in the world of weight loss supplements, thanks to its ability to gently expand when exposed to water.
When this expansion takes place in your digestive system, it can contribute to feelings of fullness which can, in turn, help you to consume fewer calories and set yourself on the road to weight loss.
This piece was adapted from the konjac root and weight loss blog post on the Leanbean website.