The quest to end unwanted cravings continues. It takes more than good intentions to lose weight, which means we could all use a little help to meet our health and fitness goals.
Dr. Mehmet Oz's second appetite suppressant of the day was glucomannan, a soluble fiber derived from the konjac plant (Amorphophallus konjac) that can keep you from overindulging before, during and after meals. How does it work?
The Glucomannan Effect
Dr. Oz lovingly referred to glucomannan as "nature's skinny sponge" because of its unique action in the digestive tract. Once ingested, glucomannan expands by absorbing all of the water in the digestive tract, taking up room in your stomach as a bulky gel. In fact, glucomannan can expand up to 17 times its original size. This expansion prevents your body from absorbing cholesterol and carbohydrates and storing them as fat. Instead, you excrete these unwanted substances from your body. Taking glucomannan before a meal or as part of a meal (we'll get to that later) helps you feel more full, so you eat less. As is common with fiber, you'll also feel full longer, keeping those cravings at bay in between meals.
Taking glucomannan daily can also help lower levels of "bad" (LDL) cholesterol and can help regulate blood sugar levels by removing any excess sugar. Taking fiber regularly also promotes digestive health, preventing and relieving constipation. An added bonus? I like to call this type of fiber "discrete fiber," because it prevents the uncomfortable bloating and potentially embarrassing gas that's usually part of the deal with fiber supplements or foods rich in fiber.
How can I take it?
Glucomannan can be taken in supplement form either as a capsule, tablet or as a powder. The capsules or tablets can be taken with a full glass of water before meals while the powder can be added to juice, blended drinks (we love green ones), water or even foods (eVitamins Cooking Tip: Adding glucomannan to a sauce or soup will produce the same thickening effect as a roux, without the added butter and flour). You can also find noodles, called shirataki, made from the konjac plant that give you all the benefits of glucomannan in an easy meal substitute. No matter which you choose, be sure to drink plenty of water help clean out your system and promote proper digestion. Dr. Oz recommended 1 g three times a day.
Some Tips for Success
While research has shown adding glucomannan can help you lose weight without any additional diet and lifestyle changes, any supplement taken for weight loss is benefited by a proper diet and regular exercise. One study published in PubMed showed an average weight loss of five and a half pounds in two weeks in participants taking two 500 mg capsules three times a day.
Anyone currently on medication, like MAOI's, should consult with their physician before taking this, or any appetite suppressant. Individuals with diabetes and women who are pregnant or nursing should also speak with their doctor.
Will glucomannan be your answer to suppressing your appetite? Let us know how it goes!