Glucomannan for weight loss. How it works.
What is Glucomannan
It is a natural, water-soluble dietary fiber that is derived from the tuber of the konjac plant which is native to Asia. It has been safely been consumed as food for over 100 years in the Orient. Fiber plays an important role in supporting good health and the consumption of fiber has been shown to reduce the risk of obesity by acting as a bulking agent. Other health benefits of fiber include reducing caloric consumption, supporting food ingestion rate, and nutrient absorption.
Obesity is mostly measured using the BMI scale which is an index of weight-for-height. The values from the scale show if a person is underweight, healthy, or obese (overweight). According to the World Health Organisation (WHO): an individual with a BMI between 25.0 and 30.0 is considered to be ‘overweight’; a BMI greater than 30.0 is defined as ‘obese.
It is important to have an idea where one falls as obesity is known to be one of the leading risk factors for premature death in the world. In 2017 alone, 8% of the global deaths were attributed to obesity, and today, it is estimated that 13% of adults in the work are obese and 39% are overweight.
In simple terms, we gain weight when we consume more energy (mostly measured in kilocalories) than we require. When we consume less energy than we expend or require, we lose weight. Because of this, good weight loss programs mostly aim to help you reduce your calorie intake and increase physical activity or energy so that you do not have any energy (calorie) surplus.
Glucomannan for weight loss
Glucomannan has a few properties that allow it to pick up and remove fat from the colon wall. As a result, it has a positive effect on diabetes and obesity as it is able to get rid of fat in the body.
Glucomannan is also known for its ability to balance blood sugar and it is particularly good for people with hypoglycemia. Glucomannan can expand to about 60 times its own weight, thereby helping to suppress hunger and curb appetite.
In a clinical study that was carried out to evaluate the effect of glucomannan on obese patients, it was reported that patients were able to significantly lose weight using glucomannan over an eight-week period. The eight-week study involved giving patients glucomannan fiber (from konjac root) in 1g doses (two 500mg capsules) with 8 oz water, 1 hour prior to each of three meals per day. In the study, the patients or candidates were instructed not to change their eating or exercise patterns. The results after the study showed a significant mean weight loss of 5.5 pounds (lbs). The study also found that serum cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol were significantly reduced (21.7 and 15.0 mg/dl respectively) in the glucomannan treated group. The study also reported that no adverse reactions or side effects were seen after the use of glucomannan.
Another study that looked at the effect of short-term ingestion of konjac glucomannan on serum cholesterol in healthy men concluded that glucomannan fibers reduced cholesterol concentrations by 10%, however, no change in body weight was observed.
In another study, two groups of 25 severely obese patients underwent a 3-month hypocaloric diet therapy either alone or associated with a glucomannan-based fibrous diet supplement. The results showed that the group that had the diet plus glucomannan had more significant weight loss than the group that did not take the glucomannan supplement. In addition to the weight loss, the group with glucomannan showed an overall improvement in lipid status and carbohydrate tolerance. It concluded by stating that glucomannan diet supplements are effective and well-tolerated even in the long-term treatment of severe obesity.
As a supplement, it is recommended that glucomannan is taken minutes before meals in order to enjoy the full benefits. A large glass of water should also be taken with the supplement. Studies have shown that dietary fiber is a safe and effective adjunct to weight-reducing diets. Similarly, glucomannan has been shown to be safe and effective in supporting weight loss and glucomannan supplements may be an inexpensive and acceptable option for individuals who are unable to increase their fiber intake through food sources.