Glucomannan for Weight Loss
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Weight loss is an overwhelming task and needs perseverance and dedication. There are thousands of dietary supplements and weight loss plans that claim to promote weight loss and make things easy for you. Glucomannan is one of these natural dietary fibers which is considered an effective weight loss supplement.
In addition to providing weight loss benefits, glucomannan helps lower cholesterol levels and assists in optimal body functioning.
This article aims to provide you with information about glucomannan, its effects on weight loss, potential benefits, and possible risks.
What is Glucomannan?
Glucomannan is a natural dietary fiber, which is soluble in water and is obtained from the roots of a plant known as Konjac. It has traditionally been used in food and medicine in various cultures. Glucomannan benefits the stomach and intestine in a way that it absorbs water, adds bulk to stool, makes it easier to pass, and relieves constipation. Additionally, it slows the absorption of glucose and reduces blood glucose and cholesterol levels.
It is available in supplements, added to drinks, and food products like pasta, flour, and noodles. This dietary fiber contains 40% of the dry weight of the Elephant yam plant. Glucomannan finds its use in various foods like tofu and konjac jelly.
Is Glucomannan Effective for Weight Loss?
Glucomannan is a dietary fiber, soluble in water and is known to have the potential to increase weight loss. Various studies were conducted to evaluate the effects of glucomannan on weight loss.
In a study, 176 overweight healthy individuals, who were on a calorie-restricted diet were instructed to use either glucomannan supplements or a placebo. Results showed a significant weight loss in the glucomannan group compared to the placebo.
In another study, overweight and moderately obese people with a self-restricted diet were given 1.33 grams of glucomannan or a placebo with 8 ounces of water for 8 weeks.
After 8 weeks, results showed that glucomannan was equally effective in increasing weight loss as a placebo. Moreover, it was well tolerated and safe to use and alter body composition.
According to a review study, consumption of 2-4 grams of glucomannan supplements improved weight loss in overweight and obese people. It works by inducing satiety and promoting fecal energy loss. In addition, this fermentable dietary fiber improves lipid levels and glycemic index.
Several other studies suggest the weight-losing effects of glucomannan and consuming these supplements one hour before breakfast, lunch, and dinner results in weight loss.
How Does it work?
Glucomannan is low in calories and soluble in water. It absorbs water and forms a viscous substance in the stomach which promotes satiety and reduces calorie intake. This gel-like substance delays stomach emptying and suppresses appetite.
These dietary fibers reduce the absorption of proteins and fats and prevent hunger pangs.
In addition to improving weight loss, dietary fibers also promote digestive health. They provide food to gut microflora (beneficial bacteria and yeast) which stimulate digestion and improve gut health.
Studies showed that glucomannan feeds gut bacteria which converts it into butyrate, short chain fatty acids having the potential to reduce fat gain.
Studies showed that glucomannan has the potential to lower the risk of heart diseases. According to a study, consumption of glucomannan resulted in a reduction of total cholesterol by 19mg/dl, LDL level by 16 mg/dl, and triglycerides by 11 mg/dl.
It also reduced fasting blood sugar levels by 7.4 mg/dl and reduce insulin resistance.
Glucomannan also benefits digestive health and relieves constipation and other digestive complaints.
How To Use Glucomannan for Weight Loss?
Any medication or supplement will benefit only if used in the correct way. Time of the day, how you are taking, with which you are consuming, and how much are taking will affect the efficacy of glucomannan for weight loss.
Experts suggest several methods of taking these supplements which may prove beneficial for promoting weight loss and general health.
Use With Intermittent Fasting
Using glucomannan with intermittent fasting is an effective way to lose weight. Fasting is considered one of the fast ways to shed weight, it is free and also difficult to do, as you need to avoid food. Dry fasting is difficult for overweight people who suffer from hunger pangs.
During fasting, your stomach is empty which sends signals to the brain and you feel increased appetite. Glucomannan helps reduce your hunger by forming a gel-like substance in the stomach which stays in the stomach and reduces appetite.
It is said that this fiber serves as good food for your gut bacteria and you can take it during your fast. Take 3-4 capsules with plenty of water when you feel hungry.
Take Glucomannan for Reducing Appetite
Using 4-6 capsules 15-20 minutes before mealtime will help reduce appetite and reduce the number of calories you intake. As meal time arrives, your stomach is partially full, and with a small amount of food, your stomach becomes full.
For controlling Blood Glucose Levels
Taking glucomannan before each meal will do more in addition to reducing appetite. It limits the amount of food you eat and reduces the absorption of fats and proteins. Glucomannan has the potential to control blood sugar levels, reduce insulin resistance at a slow and steady rate, and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Possible Risks and Side Effects
Glucomannan fibers are generally considered safe and well tolerated. For reducing weight, 1-3 grams of glucomannan is enough to exert its effects.
It is water soluble and can absorb and expand up to 50% of its weight when taken with water. It is therefore recommended to take a lower dosage of this fiber than others.
Glucomannan help reduces weight only if taken before a meal and should be taken half to one hour before a meal.
It is suggested to take these supplements with a huge glass full of water or other liquid. It is because glucomannan may cause choking and blockage of the esophagus if expand before reaching the stomach.
In some people, glucomannan may cause some side effects like bloating, diarrhea, flatulence, and abdominal discomfort.
Glucomannan may interact with some medications like anti-diabetics. It may decrease the absorption of this medication and is recommended to take the medicines 3-4 hours after or 1-2 hours before taking these supplements.
There is no sufficient information to evaluate whether it is safe for pregnancy or not. It is advised to consult your physician or avoid it during pregnancy and lactation.
Glucomannan is a fermentable, water-soluble fiber that is often prescribed by experts for its ability to reduce weight and prevent fat gain. Though proved by clinical studies, it is not a magic supplement that reduces weight alone. You need to adopt some lifestyle changes including exercise and a healthy diet to help shed some pounds. In addition to reducing weight, glucomannan can also reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels thus reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes.