Shirataki noodles are a unique food that's very filling yet low in calories.
These noodles also contain a type of fiber that has impressive health benefits.
In fact, this fiber has been shown to cause weight loss in numerous studies.
This article explains everything you need to know about shirataki noodles and their benefits.
It also provides recipes and detailed instructions about how to prepare them.
What are Shirataki Noodles?
Shirataki noodles are long, white noodles. They are often called miracle noodles or konjac noodles.
Konjac grows in Japan, China and Southeast Asia. It contains very few digestible carbs, but most of its carbs come from glucomannan fiber.
“Shirataki" is Japanese for “white waterfall," which describes the noodles' translucent appearance.
The noodles are made by combining glucomannan flour with water and a small amount of lime water, which helps the noodles hold their shape.
The mixture is boiled and then shaped into noodles or rice.
Shirataki noodles contain a lot of water. In fact, they are about 97 percent water and 3 percent glucomannan fiber. They're also very low in calories and contain no digestible carbs.
There is also a variation of shirataki noodles known as tofu shirataki noodles.
Bottom Line: Shirataki noodles are a low-calorie food made from glucomannan, a type of fiber found in the Asian konjac plant.
Shirataki Noodles Are High in Viscous Fiber
Glucomannan is a highly viscous fiber. Viscous fiber is a type of soluble fiber and one of its main characteristics is the ability to absorb water and form a gel.
In fact, glucomannan can absorb up to 50 times its weight in water, as reflected in shirataki noodles' extremely high water content (1).
These noodles move through the digestive system very slowly, which helps you feel full and delays nutrient absorption into the bloodstream (2).
In addition, viscous fiber functions as a prebiotic. It nourishes the bacteria living in your colon, also known as the gut flora or microbiome.
A recent human study found that fermenting glucomannan fiber to short-chain fatty acids produces one calorie per gram (6).
Since a typical serving of shirataki noodles contains about 1–3 grams of glucomannan, it's essentially a calorie-free, carb-free food.
Bottom Line: Glucomannan is a viscous fiber that can hold onto water and slow down digestion. In the colon, it's fermented into short-chain fatty acids that may provide several health benefits.
Shirataki Noodles Can Help You Lose Weight
Shirataki noodles can be a powerful weight loss tool.
In addition, fermenting fiber into short-chain fatty acids can stimulate the release of a gut hormone known as PYY, which increases feelings of fullness (9).
What's more, taking glucomannan before a high-carb load appears to reduce levels of the “hunger hormone" ghrelin. It was also shown to reduce fasting ghrelin levels when taken daily for 4 weeks (10).
Researchers who analyzed 7 weight loss studies found that people who took glucomannan for 4–8 weeks lost 3–5.5 lbs (1.4–2.5 kg) (1).
In one study, people who took glucomannan alone or with other types of fiber lost significantly more weight on a low-calorie diet, compared to the placebo group (11).
In another study, obese people who took glucomannan every day for 8 weeks lost 5.5 lbs (2.5 kg) without eating less or changing their exercise habits (12).
However, another 8-week study found no difference in weight loss between overweight and obese people who took glucomannan and those who did not (13).
Since these studies used 2–4 grams of glucomannan in tablet or supplement form taken with water, shirataki noodles would likely have similar effects.
Nevertheless, there are no studies available on shirataki noodles specifically.
Additionally, timing may play a role. Glucomannan is typically taken up to an hour before a meal, while the noodles are eaten as part of the meal.
Bottom Line: Glucomannan promotes feelings of fullness that may cause a spontaneous reduction in calorie intake and lead to weight loss.
Shirataki Noodles Can Reduce Blood Sugar and Insulin Levels
Because viscous fiber delays stomach emptying, blood sugar and insulin levels rise more gradually as nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream (19).
In one study, people with type 2 diabetes who took glucomannan for 3 weeks had a significant reduction in fructosamine, which is a test that reflects blood sugar levels over a period of 2–3 weeks (17).
In another study, type 2 diabetics who took a single dose of glucomannan before a glucose load had significantly lower blood sugar levels 2 hours later, compared to their blood sugar response to a placebo (18).
Bottom Line: Shirataki noodles can delay stomach emptying, which may help prevent blood sugar spikes after meals.
Shirataki Noodles May Lower Cholesterol
Researchers have reported that glucomannan increases the amount of cholesterol excreted in the stool, so less is reabsorbed into the bloodstream (15).
A review of 14 studies found that glucomannan lowered LDL cholesterol by an average of 16 mg/dL and triglycerides by an average of 11 mg/dl (22).
Bottom Line: Studies show that glucomannan may help lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Shirataki Noodles May Relieve Constipation
Many people have chronic constipation or infrequent bowel movements that are difficult to pass.
In one study, severe constipation was successfully treated in 45 percent of the children taking glucomannan, compared to only 13 percent of the control group (25).
Bottom Line: Glucomannan may effectively treat constipation in children and adults, due to its laxative effects and benefits for gut health.
Potential Side Effects of Shirataki Noodles
However, it should be noted that glucomannan has been found to be safe at all dosages tested in studies.
Nevertheless, as is the case with all fiber, it's best to introduce glucomannan into your diet gradually.
In addition, glucomannan may reduce the absorption of certain medications taken by mouth, including some diabetes medications. To prevent this, make sure to take medication at least one hour before or four hours after eating shirataki noodles.
Bottom Line: Shirataki noodles are safe to consume, but may cause digestive issues for some. They may also reduce the absorption of certain medications.
How to Cook with Shirataki Noodles
Shirataki noodles can seem a bit daunting to prepare at first.
They're packaged in fishy-smelling liquid, which is actually plain water that has absorbed the odor of the konjac root.
Therefore, it's important to rinse them very well for a few minutes under fresh, running water. This should remove most of the odor.
You should also heat the noodles in a skillet for several minutes with no added fat.
This step removes any excess water and allows the noodles to take on a more noodle-like texture. If too much water remains, they will be mushy.
Here is an easy shirataki noodle recipe containing only a few ingredients:
Shirataki Macaroni and Cheese
Note: For this recipe, it's best to use shorter types of shirataki noodles like ziti or rice.
- 1 package (200 grams/7 oz) of shirataki noodles or shirataki rice.
- Olive oil or butter for greasing the ramekin.
- 3 ounces (85 grams) of grated cheddar cheese.
- 1 Tablespoon butter.
- A half teaspoon sea salt.
1. Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).
2. Rinse the noodles under running water for at least 2 minutes.
3. Transfer the noodles to a skillet and cook over medium-high heat for 5–10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. While the noodles are cooking, grease a 2-cup ramekin with olive oil or butter.
5. Transfer the cooked noodles to the ramekin, add remaining ingredients and stir well. Bake for 20 minutes, remove from oven and serve.
Shirataki noodles can be used in place of pasta or rice in any dish.
However, they tend to work best in Asian recipes. The noodles have no flavor but will absorb the flavors of sauces and seasonings very well.
Here are a few more healthy shirataki noodle recipes:
Bottom Line: Shirataki noodles are easy to prepare and can be used in a variety of dishes. They're especially tasty in Asian recipes.
Take Home Message
Shirataki noodles are a great substitute for traditional noodles.
In addition to being extremely low in calories, they help you feel full and may be beneficial for weight loss.
Not only that, but they also have benefits for blood sugar levels, cholesterol and digestive health.
This article was reposted from our media associate Authority Nutrition.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Michael Svoboda
The enduring pandemic will make conventional forms of travel difficult if not impossible this summer. As a result, many will consider virtual alternatives for their vacations, including one of the oldest forms of virtual reality – books.
Watchdog Accuses Trump's NOAA of 'Choosing Extinction' for Right Whales by Hiding Scientific Evidence
By Julia Conley
As the North Atlantic right whale was placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's list of critically endangered species Thursday, environmental protection groups accusing the U.S. government of bowing to fishing and fossil fuel industry pressure to downplay the threat and failing to enact common-sense restrictions to protect the animals.
- Lemurs and Northern Right Whales Near Brink of Extinction ... ›
- Trump Administration Approves Harmful Seismic Blasting in Atlantic ... ›
By Beth Ann Mayer
Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.
How to Rock Your Walk<p>Walking isn't just fun and healthy. It's accessible.</p><p>"Walking is cheap," says Dr. John Paul H. Rue, a sports medicine doctor at <a href="https://mdmercy.com/" target="_blank">Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore</a>. "You can do it anywhere at any time; [it] requires little to no special equipment and has many of the same cardio benefits as running or other more intense workouts."</p><p>Want to up your walking game? Try the tips below.</p>
Use Hand Weights<p>Cardio and strength training can go hand-in-hand when you add weights to your walk.</p><p>A <a href="https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2019/03000/Associations_of_Resistance_Exercise_with.14.aspx" target="_blank">2019 study</a> found that weight training is good for your heart, and <a href="https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(17)30167-2/abstract" target="_blank">research</a> shows it reduces the risk of developing a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/nutrition-metabolism-disorders" target="_blank">metabolic disorder</a> by 17 percent. People with metabolic disorders have a higher chance of being diagnosed with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.</p><p>Rue suggests not carrying weights for your entire walk.</p><p>"Hand weights can give you an added level of energy burning, but you have to be careful with these because carrying [them] over a long period of time or while walking could actually lead to some overuse injuries," he says.</p>
Make It a Circuit<p>As another option, consider doing a circuit. First, put a pair of dumbbells on your lawn or somewhere in your home. Walk around the block once, then stop and do some bicep curls and tricep lifts before walking around the block again.</p><p>Rue recommends <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/running-with-weights" target="_blank">avoiding ankle weights</a> during cardio workouts, as they force you to use your quadriceps rather than hamstrings. They can also cause muscle imbalance, according to the <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/wearable-weights-how-they-can-help-or-hurt" target="_blank">Harvard Health Letter</a>.</p>
Find a Fitness Trail<p>Strength training isn't limited to weights. You can get stronger by <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/bodyweight-workout" target="_blank">simply using your body</a>.</p><p>Often found at parks, fitness trails are obstacle courses with equipment for pullups, pushups, rowing, and stretches to build upper and lower body strength.</p><p>Try searching "fitness trails near me" online, checking out your local parks and recreation website, or calling the municipal office to <a href="https://calisthenics-parks.com/" target="_blank">find one</a>.</p>
Recruit a Friend<p>People who workout together stay healthy together.</p><p><a href="https://bmcgeriatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12877-017-0584-3" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that older adults who exercised with a group improved or maintained their functional health and enjoyed their lives more.</p><p>Enlist the help of a walking buddy with a regimen you aspire to have. If you don't know anyone in your area, apps like <a href="https://www.strava.com/" target="_blank">Strava</a> have social networking features so you can get support from fellow exercisers.</p>
Try Meditation<p>According to the <a href="https://www.nccih.nih.gov/research/statistics/nhis/2017" target="_blank">2017 National Health Interview Survey</a>, published by the National Institutes of Health, meditation is on the rise, and for good reason.</p><p>Researchers <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29616846/" target="_blank">found</a> that mind-body relaxation practices can regulate inflammation, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/biological-rhythms" target="_blank">circadian rhythms</a>, and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/glucose" target="_blank">glucose</a> metabolism, as well as lower <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/high-blood-pressure-hypertension" target="_blank">blood pressure</a>.</p><p>"Any form of exercise can be turned into a meditation of some type, either by the surroundings you are walking in, like a park or trail, or by blocking out the outside world with music on your headphones," Rue says.</p><p>You can also play a podcast or download an app like <a href="https://www.headspace.com/headspace-meditation-app" target="_blank">Headspace</a> that has a library of guided meditations to practice while you walk.</p>
Do Fartlek Walks<p>Typically used in running, fartlek intervals alternate periods of increased and decreased speed. These are <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-hiit" target="_blank">high-intensity interval training (HIIT)</a> workouts, which allow exercisers to accomplish more in less time.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0154075" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that 10-minute interval training improved <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/metabolic-syndrome" target="_blank">cardiometabolic</a> health, or lowered the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, just as well as working out at a continuous pace for 50 minutes.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111489" target="_blank">Research</a> also shows that HIIT workouts increase muscle <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fast-twitch-muscles" target="_blank">oxidative</a> capacity, or the ability to use oxygen. To do a fartlek walk, try walking at an increased pace for 3 minutes, slow down for 2 minutes, and repeat.</p>
Gradually Increase Pace<p>A faster walking pace is associated with a lower risk of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/copd" target="_blank">chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)</a> and respiratory diseases, according to a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30303933/" target="_blank">2019 study</a>.</p><p>Still, it's best not to go from a stroll to an Olympic-worthy power walk in a day. Instead, increase your pace gradually to prevent injury.</p><p>"Start by walking at a brisk pace for about 10 minutes per day, 3 to 5 days per week," Rue says. "Once you've done this for a few weeks, increase your time by 5 to 10 minutes per day until you get to 30 minutes."</p>
Add Stairs<p>You've likely heard that taking the stairs instead of an elevator is a way to add more movement into your daily routine. It's also a way to step up your walking. Stair climbing has been shown to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211335519301123?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">decrease the risk of mortality</a> and can easily add a bit more challenge to your walk.</p><p>If you don't have stairs in your home, you can often find them outside a local municipal building, train station, or at a high school stadium.</p>
Is Your Walk a True Cardio Workout?<p>Not all walks are equal. A walk that's too leisurely may not provide enough burn to qualify as cardio. To see if you're getting a good workout, try to <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-check-heart-rate" target="_blank">measure your heart rate</a> using a monitor.</p><p>"A target goal for a good walking workout heart rate is about 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate," Rue says, adding that maximum heart rate is <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/fat-burning-heart-rate" target="_blank">typically calculated</a> by 220 beats per minute minus your age.</p><p>You can also monitor how easily you can carry on a conversation while you walk to gauge your heart rate.</p><p>"If you can walk and carry on a normal conversation, that's probably a lower intensity walk," says Rue. "If you are slightly breathless but can still have a conversation, that's probably a moderate workout. If you are out of breath and can't talk normally, that's a vigorous workout."</p>
Takeaway<p>By shaking up your routine, you can add excitement to your workout and reap even more rewards than a basic walk provides. Increasing the pace and intensity of a workout will make it more effective.</p><p>Simply pick your favorite variation to add some spice to your next walk.</p>
- Should I Exercise During the Coronavirus Pandemic? Experts ... ›
- If Meditation Is Not Your Thing, Try a Walk in the Woods - EcoWatch ›
In Major Win for Indigenous Rights, Supreme Court Rules Much of Eastern Oklahoma Is Still a Reservation
Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.
- Federal Judge Orders Trump Admin to Give Native Americans Their ... ›
- Police Were Ready to Shoot Indigenous Pipeline Protesters in ... ›
- Climate Justice, Indigenous Rights Advocates Rally for Wet'suwet'en ... ›
By Tiffany Means
Summer and fall are great seasons to enjoy the outdoors. But if you're already spending extra time outside because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be out of ideas on how to make fresh-air activities feel special. Here are a few suggestions to keep both adults and children entertained and educated in the months ahead, many of which can be done from the comfort of one's home or backyard.
The coronavirus may linger in the air in crowded indoor spaces, spreading from one person to the next, the World Health Organization acknowledged on Thursday, as The New York Times reported. The announcement came just days after 239 scientists wrote a letter urging the WHO to consider that the novel coronavirus is lingering in indoor spaces and infecting people, as EcoWatch reported.
- Airborne Coronavirus Transmission Must Be Taken Seriously, 239 ... ›
- Trump Halts WHO Funding Amidst Criticism of His Own Coronavirus ... ›
- Here's Why COVID-19 Can Spread So Easily at Gyms and Fitness ... ›
- Is the New Coronavirus Airborne? A Study From China Finds Evidence ›
By Angela Nicoletti
The eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains in central Perú are among the most remote places in the world.
- Global Frog Pandemic May Become Even Deadlier as Strains ... ›
- New Species of Diamond Frog Discovered in Remote Pocket of ... ›
- Frogs Are on the Verge of Mass Extinction, Scientists Say - EcoWatch ›