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Glucomannan for Weight Loss – Does it really work?

Bodybuilding, Fitness, Supplementation, Weight Loss

Glucomannan for Weight Loss – Does it really work?

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Glucomannan, popular as a useful fat loss supplement, is a dietary fiber. Today, we are going to examine the facts and science behind Glucomannan, to answer questions like:

  • What is Glucomannan?
  • Does it work for Weight-loss?
  • Health Benefits
  • Potential Side-Effects
  • Glucomannan Dosage

1. What is Glucomannan?

Glucomannan is a natural, water-soluble fiber found in Konjac Root. It is a prime ingredient in foods like Tofu, Konjac Jelly, and even some types of noodles.

Like other types of fiber, Glucomannan provides very little calories through its digestion. However, fiber isn’t useful for the energy it produces. Instead, it’s the lack of digestibility that grants Glucomannan the fat loss and health-promoting abilities it carries.

2. How does it aid weight loss?

Glucomannan is a common active ingredient in most weight loss and fat burner supplements. Glucomannan has different properties that aids weight loss:

  • Ability to block the digestion of some carbohydrates and fats. Glucomannan, like other fibers, can bind itself to carbs and fat in the digestive tract and make them indigestible, leading to lower overall calorie consumption, meaning a better chance at weight loss.
  • Glucomannan is highly viscous, meaning it absorbs a lot of water to form a gel-like substance. This can lower hunger by making the user feel fuller and stay full longer due to an increase in digestion time1.
  • Lower insulin response after eating, which can help weight loss efforts2.
  • The safety profile is well documented, and it can be used for long periods without consequence for those looking to lose a lot of weight3.

Many other types of fiber indeed have the same abilities as Glucomannan. So what makes it the best choice? Well, a study comparing two other types of fiber to Glucomannan for weight loss shows Glucomannan to be the most effective4.

3. Health Benefits of Glucomannan

While losing weight tends to improve all factors of your overall health, there are few benefits found independent of weight loss with Glucomannan.

  • The ability to reduce fat absorption can also lead to lower overall cholesterol. However, this can be a double-edged sword. If you are taking Glucomannan with meals that contain high levels of LDL, it can block that specific cholesterol and provide excellent health benefits. On the other hand, if you consume it with foods that are high in HDL, you are going to lose out on some of those health-promoting cholesterols by the same process.
  • Glucomannan’s ability to lower the insulin response to a meal and the reduced rate of carbohydrate absorption leads to lower blood sugar levels. The more stable you can keep your blood sugar levels, the lower the risk you have for developing diseases like Diabetes.
  • Like most other fibers, Glucomannan is also prebiotic, meaning it is useful for developing healthy gut bacteria. While research on the effects of gut bacteria on overall health is in its infancy, it’s clear to see that optimising your gut health affects your entire body5.
  • Another benefit of regular fiber intake is a reduction in constipation, which may afflict you at any given time.

4. Potential Side effects of Glucomannan

Glucomannan can be have potential side-effects and is unsafe if used in excess. If you plan on using Glucomannan, you need to drink ample water, since it absorbs so much on its own. This will improve its efficacy and reduce the chance for any side effects, like dehydration or digestive issues.

Using a pure powder or tablet that is uncoated can be a choking hazard. It will gel up quickly, which can happen in your mouth or throat, that can lead to a life-threatening situation.

Choosing capsules drastically reduces any risk of choking.

Also, since fiber tends to affect people differently, it’s best to start with a small dosage to see how you respond. Taking too much before you assessed your tolerance can lead to harmful side-effects.

5. Dosing considerations: How to take Glucomannan?

If you want Glucomannan to help you lose weight, you need to take it with food. Ideally, you take it right before a meal that is rich in carbohydrates and fat, which will help Glucomannan work to its full potential.

You must consult a registered medical practitioner or Doctor before taking any dose of Glucomannan. As a thumb-rule, a daily dosage of 1-3g is the recommended amount when looking to maximize your weight loss for most. This may sound low for a daily fiber dosage, but you have to remember that Glucomannan absorbs much more than other types of fiber, so a little can go a long way.

It’s best to split your doses throughout the day right before your largest meals. If you can handle 3g a day, 1g before breakfast, lunch, and dinner could be a good strategy.

Also, it’s absorption doesn’t stop with carbs, fat, and water. If you take medication, you need to take it separate from your Glucomannan dosage, as the fiber can bind up with the medicine and reduce its effectiveness.

Glucomannan comes as a pure powder, tablet, or capsule. Generally speaking, the capsule form is the safest and easiest to use.

6. Does glucomannan really work?

If you analyze the studies using Glucomannan for weight loss, you will see a common trend. The leading cause of the weight loss is due to a calorie-controlled diet that leads to weight loss.

The Glucomannan will further increase your calorie deficit, but it isn’t a magic bullet. It’s not going to save you thousands of calories every day and allow you to eat out at the buffet every night.

Instead, it’s effective when used with a sensible diet and can allow you to go off track a little bit and still lose weight.

7. What goes well with Glucomannan for additional weight loss support?

Other supplements are useful for losing weight other than dietary fibers. Here are a few ingredients that we think could be useful to help you lose more weight:

  • Green Tea Extract / Caffeine – Green Tea Extract and Caffeine, in general, have tons of studies backing up the ability to boost fat loss through multiple pathways6.
  • Forskolin – particularly effective if you are male since it can aid in fat loss and also boost testosterone levels naturally7.
  • Capsaicin – if you are exercising to help boost weight loss, Capsaicin has been shown to increase fat oxidation when used before exercise8.
  • Fucoxanthin – if you are on a long-term journey for fat loss, Fucoxanthin could be a great addition since it takes up to 16 weeks to work to its full potential. Once it starts working, it can boost metabolic rate by almost 500 calories/day9.

The bottom line

Glucomannan isn’t magic. It won’t help you lose all your excess weight overnight. Instead, it is a useful tool to increase your chances of successful weight loss when paired with the right nutrition plan. However, we strongly advise to seek medical advice before taking up Glucomannan.

References:

  1. Kristensen, M., & Jensen, M. G. (2011). Dietary fibres in the regulation of appetite and food intake. Importance of viscosity. Appetite56(1), 65–70. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2010.11.147
  2. McCarty, M. F. (2002). Glucomannan minimizes the postprandial insulin surge: a potential adjuvant for hepatothermic therapyMedical Hypotheses58(6), 487–490. https://doi.org/10.1054/mehy.2001.1457
  3. PM, V., A, R., P, C., & R, K. (n.d.). [Chronic use of glucomannan in the dietary treatment of severe obesity]. Retrieved October 9, 2019, from https://europepmc.org/abstract/med/1313163
  4. Støa Birketvedt, G., Shimshi, M., Thom, E., & Florholmen, J. (2005, January 1). Experiences with three different fiber supplements in weight reduction. Retrieved from https://www.medscimonit.com/abstract/index/idArt/13883
  5. Zhang, Y.-J., Li, S., Gan, R.-Y., Zhou, T., Xu, D.-P., & Li, H.-B. (2015). Impacts of Gut Bacteria on Human Health and Diseases. International Journal of Molecular Sciences16(12), 7493–7519. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms16047493
  6. Hursel, R., Viechtbauer, W., Dulloo, A. G., Tremblay, A., Tappy, L., Rumpler, W., & Westerterp-Plantenga, M. S. (2011). The effects of catechin rich teas and caffeine on energy expenditure and fat oxidation: a meta-analysisObesity Reviews12(7), e573–e581. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-789X.2011.00862.x
  7. Godard, M. P., Johnson, B. A., & Richmond, S. R. (2005). Body Composition and Hormonal Adaptations Associated with Forskolin Consumption in Overweight and Obese MenObesity Research13(8), 1335–1343. https://doi.org/10.1038/oby.2005.162
  8. SHIN, K. O., & MORITANI, T. (2007). Alterations of Autonomic Nervous Activity and Energy Metabolism by Capsaicin Ingestion during Aerobic Exercise in Healthy MenJournal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology53(2), 124–132. https://doi.org/10.3177/jnsv.53.124
  9. Abidov, M., Ramazanov, Z., Seifulla, R., & Grachev, S. (2010). The effects of Xanthigen™in the weight management of obese premenopausal women with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and normal liver fat. Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism12(1), 72–81. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1463-1326.2009.01132.x

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