Shirataki noodles are thin, gelatinous Japanese noodles derived from the extracted glucomannan starch of the Devil’s Tongue, a bulbotuber similar to yam. The starch combined with water and limewater creates konnyaku, which is then cut into traditional shirataki noodles. In addition to their role in Japanese Cuisine, Shirataki is a powerful weight loss and dieting tool.
Shirataki noodles are “zero calorie” because glucomannan starch doesn’t contain carbohydrates and is an indigestible dietary fiber. For those doing Dukan, it’s not uncommon to miss eating starches, and Shirataki noodles can help fill some of the gap. It’s important to remember that tofu shirataki noodles will have some calories from the added soy.
Devil’s Tongue, or konjac (Amorphophallus konjac) is certainly an interesting plant. It prefers tropical or subtropical conditions, with moderate rainfall and a specific soil structure and grow environment (often grown on hilly terrain).
Konnyaku is pretty much 97% water, making it a great weight-loss tool (the other 3% being glucomannan fiber). Devil’s Tongue like most devils has many names, including Voodoo Lily, and is a notoriously odorous plant, with an overwhelming smell of decay and a touch of sulfur (hence the reference to the dark prince). This fact personally doesn’t bother me, as many delicious foods are known to be smelly (i.e., cheese, fish, and meats).
Konjac has been used in Asian food and medicine for thousands of years (having been included in early treatises on famine, and documented as a medicinal herb some two thousand years ago in China’s Han Dynasty). The health benefits of konjac include:
- Weight loss (the glucomannan expands after ingestion, absorbing 20x its weight in water and creating an overall feeling of fullness).
- Glucomannan has been shown as an effective fiber supplement, and has been used to help control:
- Hyperglycemia and Hypoglycemia
- High Cholesterol
- High Blood Pressure
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