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Updated 24 November 2015

We try low-cal, low-carb Konjac noodles

In the feverish search for food that looks and taste like pasta (read carbs), food manufacturers are creating noodles out of almost nothing.

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If you're following the the low-carb craze, or battle gluten intolerance, you've no doubt had a craving for pasta every now and again.

Pasta itself doesn't contain much nutrition (it's basically flour, egg and water after all), but the high carbohydrate content combined with a creamy sauce is any dieters undoing.

Enter Konjac noodles, made of a root vegetable that's also called Devil's Tongue, Konyakku Potato, Shiritaki, Konjaku, Elephant Yam, Snake Palm and Voodoo Lily - depending on where in the East you are.

Konjac (Amorphophallus konjac) is grown across Asia in the colder, mountainous areas and is widely uses as a staple food source. It can be ground into flour or boiled and shaped into noodles. It's really delicate, so it's mostly sold in water with lemon extract for.

The Chinese call these noodles moyo or joyo, while the Japanese call it koniako or shiratki.

The plant in various forms is also used in weight management and for various medicinal purposes, such as treating asthma, burns, breast pain and skin disorders.

Because it's so high in fibre, it digests slowly, keeping you fuller for longer, while also helping with cholesterol management and constipation.

Being gluten-free and wheat-free, it is a great alternative for those who are gluten intolerant or people with coeliac disease.

Konjac consists of some 40 per cent of a type of soluble fibre called glucomannan, which even Dr Oz (see video below) has touted as a great appetite suppressant because of its ability to fill you up. 

The konjack root bulb and flower. Source: Konjakfoods.com

low carb pasta, carb free pasta, skinnypasta

Read: The health benefits of konjac glucomannan

The noodles are virtually tasteless, and when the Health24 team tested SkinnyPasta's Konjac noodles, we found that heavy Italian sauces are not the way to go with these pasta impostors.

The reviews were mixed among the four testers (half loved it and half didn't care much), but the final consensus was that it's a great staple to add to the grocery cupboard for those days when you want to imagine you're eating carbs, but aren't.

We found Konjac noodles best in Asian dishes such as stir-fries or noodle soups, but they can also be added to salads or drizzled with pesto and fresh herbs.

In South Africa we've found two brands - SkinnyPasta, which is low in carbs and comes in a variety of pasta shapes and is only available online, and SuperLite, which is carb-free and available from selected grocers and health shops.

Watch: TV personality Dr Oz explains the magic of glucomannan

Read more:

Low-carb alcohol for Banters

Low-carb diet improves cholesterol

Woolworths launches new low-carb food rangeWhy it's good to go low-carb

Reference: Effect of glucomannan on plasma lipid and glucose concentrations, body weight, and blood pressure: systematic review and meta-analysis, 2008, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

 
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