Some claim it’s just a fad. Others call it the miracle supplement. It’s the weight loss supplement that everyone is talking about. Glucomannan.
With new weight loss supplements appearing on the market all the time it’s almost impossible to know which ones are actually legit. Or more importantly which are just throwing away your cash.
So let’s take a look at whether weight loss with glucomannan lives up to our expectations. Discover what it is, what it actually does and whether you should be considering a supplement that contains glucomannan.
What Is Glucomannan?
Glucomannan, also known as konjac, is extracted from the roots of the elephant yam (konjac root). It’s a completely natural polysaccharide (a form of carbohydrate found in many foods) and is considered a form of dietary fiber. What makes it interesting is that it’s water-soluble and has long been used as a thickening agent used in traditional Japanese cooking.
But why does this matter for weight loss?
Well simply put, just eating glucomannan doesn’t make you lose weight. It does something much more interesting than that. When glucomannan enters the body it acts like a sponge sucking up water helping to prolong the feeling of fullness after meals. Glucomannan is an appetite suppressant. Perfect to help you avoid those naughty midnight snacks.
Why is glucomannan popular?
There are many reasons that glucomannan has become so popular in recent years with more and more dieticians recommending it. Its rise to fame in the United States is popularly attributed to Dr Oz, the well known American TV personality, cardiothoracic surgeon and professor.
Here’s what Dr Oz has to say on glucomannan weight loss:
When consumed, glucomannan “sponges” up water in the digestive tract, reducing the absorption of carbs and cholesterol and thus supporting weight loss. It can also help reduce constipation, diabetes and more. This supplement also makes you feel full without leaving you gassy or bloated.
That’s quite an impressive list of benefits that’s been further supported by study after study, starting to give some real credibility to what originally looked like just another fad.
How It Promotes Weight Loss
There have been several studies on a variety of different water-soluble dietary fibers including many glucomannan weight loss studies. They are believed to help with weight loss in a variety of different ways:
Feel fuller for longer – One of the most studied and proven effects of glucomannan is that it helps you go longer between meals without eating. The boffins call this post-meal satiety, which is just a fancy way of saying that you won’t feel hungry as quickly if you consume glucomannan.
Feel fuller faster – As it swells up it takes up space in your stomach. Space you’d otherwise be tempted to try and fill with more food. This may help you to reduce the amount of food that you consume. There is much less proof of this claim and fewer studies to support it, so we recommend focussing on the benefits of reduced snacking between meals.
Prevent your body from absorbing protein and fat – Something else that has some solid proof about glucomannan (and all forms of fiber) is that they actually help you take in less energy from your food. This means that the same meal provides less energy making it easier to lose weight whilst still feeling just as full.
Feed those good bacteria – Digestive health is a tricky science, but there’s a mound of evidence that feeding your friendly gut bacteria the right stuff can help with weight loss. Like this. Or this! There are dozens of these studies that show just how much those tiny little critters in your gut influence your weight, fueling them with soluble fiber keeps them happy, really happy, helping you to lose and maintain weight much easier.
The biggest and most famous of all glucomannan studies involved 176 women and men who were overweight but otherwise healthy. They were all put on a balanced calorie-controlled diet (1,200 calories) with half being given glucomannan and the other half a placebo. The results were outstanding showing a dramatic improvement in weight loss when combined with a calorie-restricted diet.
Side Effects Of Glucomannan
So it works, that much is clear. But what about the side effects? It’s got to have some right…
Well mostly, no. Glucomannan is considered “likely safe” which means there are no obvious adverse effects. The fact it has been common in Japanese cooking for hundreds of years also offers us much in the way of reassurance. Surely it wouldn’t be popular if it made people unwell.
This isn’t’ to say that no one will have a bad reaction to glucomannan. Just like any food or supplement, some people can have adverse reactions but it’s generally well tolerated.
The biggest thing to be aware of if you’re taking a supplement with glucomannan is to consume it with water. Remember it’s like a sponge and it can absorb up to 50 times its own weight in water. There is a risk of choking if it expands before getting to the stomach so washing it down with plenty of water is highly recommended.
Also thanks to this sponge-like effect it can make some people feel bloated or cause digestive issues like diarrhoea, fortunately, these negative effects are quite uncommon. We recommend you try it and see how your body reacts and instantly stop taking it if you have any adverse effects, whilst also consulting with your doctor.
So should you try glucomannan?
Based on the evidence glucomannan should be effective as a weight-loss supplement and appetite suppressant, so it’s definitely worth a try. Don’t forget it’s not a magic bullet to really see the benefits you need to stick to a healthy diet (we recommend calorie-restricted) and also exercise on a regular basis.
When it comes to weight loss or burning fat there are no simple answers. Supplements can only work hand in hand with diet and exercise so you have to be committed to really see results.
Fortunately, the Trimtone team are here to help. We post regular advice and provide free weight loss support on our blog and social media channels. We also produce the natural fat burner Trimtone which contains glucomannan as just one of the ingredients to help you burn fat and lose weight. Achieve your body goals faster with 24/7 fat-burning fuelled by nature.