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Is Glucomannan a Safe Way to Lose Weight?

Glucomannan: A Safe Way to Lose Weight?

There is no shortage of crash diets and diet pills when it comes to losing weight fast and easy. Companies are even pushing natural supplements that they claim will help melt away pounds, like this one called Glucomannan. It's a water-soluble dietary fiber made from the corm (underground stem) of the Asian plant known as konjac. People take it because it slows down digestion and delays the absorption of glucose from the intestines. This supplement also absorbs a lot of water so it swells in your stomach, giving you a full feeling. Since it's natural, people think it's healthy and safe.

It's true that fiber is great to include in your diet, because it helps with constipation, and can lower total levels of cholesterol in the body, but is adding fiber in the form of glucomannan a good idea? To find out

Limited studies have been carried out to test whether this supplement really affects body weight. Not only that, but people taking glucomannan have suffered from intestinal and esophageal obstruction, and for that reason, it has been banned in several countries. Yikes!

So if I were you, I'd steer clear of glucommanan until more research can be done. I know it's not easy to lose weight the good old fashioned way of eating right and exercising regularly, but it really is the most effective way to lose pounds and keep them off.


Join The Conversation
ambyellen ambyellen 6 years
Seriously? I can't believe it is that easy to scare people away from dietary fiber. That's all glucomannan is; dietary fiber, which nearly everyone needs more of. Since most people are so lacking in fiber, suddenly taking the recommended dose on the bottle (nature's way brand) which is 3 caps 20 minutes before a meal means you are suddenly adding 16 grams of fiber to your diet. An extreme dietary change instead of a gradual one is bound to make anyone feel bloated. I'd start with one capsule, not 3. In the clinical trial, the subjects took 1 gram a day. 3 capsules = 1.99 grams of glucomannan. This dose, 3x a day to start is much higher than the dose in the clinical trial on obese women. You need fiber, but start out slowly. If you use your brain, it is not dangerous! Also, of course it isn't a 'magic weight loss pill' but that doesn't mean adding dietary fiber to your eating plan won't promote healthy weight loss.
beachnorth223 beachnorth223 9 years
My husband works for a major nutraceutical company that sells this, and I've taken it ... but intuitively have been concerned (I am a health freak who eats veggies for breakfast LOL and dozens of supplements daily - as I have for years ... having turned from ill to extremely fit and healthy, symptom-free). Nonetheless, if I eat an offending food in an off-day I may have a bout of reflux disease with dysphagia (swallowing, motility disorder). I will alert my husband as to readings on Glucommanan - and the CEO - to reevaluate the labeling. I still consider this a safe product if the journey down the esophagus is made safely LOL. Yet the intestinal blockage issue: I'd like to know more, and will research it. And BTW I saw the noodles advertised in full color in the Men's Fitness that came in the mail today. Enticing picture for those who don't know the risks I'm wondering about now ... for those, like me, at risk (or children, or those taking without precautions, such as drinking enough water to get the capsule(s) "safely" in the stomach).
candycat candycat 9 years
Glucomannan actually has several well-controlled clinical investigations showing it's effectiveness. Check pubmed. Also, the chocking only occured when the fiber was put into jelly candies in Japan. Check the law reports on that one. When added to food, it does make it thicker. If it doesn't you've boughten a cheap brand. Bloating will happen anytime you add more fiber to your diet. You do get used to it.
jkat jkat 9 years
I am wary of any type of fiber in a pill. I have gotten capsular fiber pills stuck in my throat before and they have started to dissolve and expand in my esophegus. By the time I coughed them up they were the size of a a medium gumball. It was very scary.
kaenai kaenai 9 years
Thanks ravenne! Although there are no real 'quick ways to weight loss', I think it's interesting how people are quick to say certain things are dangerous when it's more a matter of things being taken or used in an improper way. It does sound like the capsule form could be somewhat dangerous, though.
ravenne ravenne 9 years
Soluble fiber can certainly help you feel more full, and smooth out "post-prandial" blood sugar levels, but there are many sources of this fiber. As some people mentioned above, Konjac root has been made into noodles, powder, and put into capsules. When it hits water it can absorb up to 200 times its weight - making a thick, viscous gel. If its in your stomach already when it absorbs the water - great - it will make you feel full. If its still in your esophagus - look out - it could stretch or block your esophagus. That's why the powder alone could be dangerous. If its cooked in noodles, or mixed outside of your body in a shake, you should be fine. It might be okay in a capsule, assuming the capsule gets to your stomach before it dissolves. It might be dangerous if someone has slow esophageal motility, a hiatal hernia, or an esophageal "pocket" or outpouching of some kind, since the pill could get stuck there.
spacebear spacebear 9 years
Wow I was sold up until intestinal blockage. Thanks for the info.
ndugga01 ndugga01 9 years
so i fell prey to the WH mag's article and bought a bottle of glucomannan last week. i've taken it for a week now, and have noticed negative results. it definetley helps you feel full quicker, but not only am i more irregular now, but i'm more bloated than i've ever been! i look like i've put on weight! (which i know, is ofcourse water retention) it's a little disconcerning, and as of today i'm throwing out my bottle and going back to veggies, kashi, water...and ofcourse, excercise!
Leanne1078 Leanne1078 9 years
I work at Whole Foods and we stopped carrying it months ago because of the possible dangers...
catander catander 9 years
Well, now that WH pushed this stuff, I am going to be WAY more skeptical of women's magazines. It's not that I believe everything I read, but I would have thought WH would have cared more about its reputation than to have pushed something not only unproven, but possibly dangerous.
abuelitodimetu abuelitodimetu 9 years
I grew up in Argentina, and this supplement was pushed like crazy in TV infomercials 15 years ago! Needless to say, it is a scam and I can't believe they are trying to sell this to Americans as a weight loss cure. When will we learn? Eat less; move more!
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Wow that's scary...
tlsgirl tlsgirl 9 years
I saw that article in WH too...glad I read this too.
sarahcateh sarahcateh 9 years
One way to get this same effect but not in a dangerous way is to take a serving of metamucil (I don't know if that is spelled right) about 15 minutes before you eat. It has been proven that this helps you feel full faster without any of these bad effects, and it's definitely safe. I did this for a while when I was trying to lose weight and it works!
sunshyne sunshyne 9 years
shirataki noodles sold at whole foods in the soy/tofu/yogurt refrigerated section
kgiuffre kgiuffre 9 years
I know, Melissajoy, I bought the supplement after reading the Women's Health article. They advised to break open the pill and sprinkle the powder into your food. I've been doing that for a couple weeks and haven't noticed any change in appetite/digestion. I think shirataki noodles are probably better. Renees3, you can buy shirataki noodles on amazon...
almostloli almostloli 9 years
just eat the real konnyaku jelly.. that'll do.. a better version n yummier version of jell-o (in my opinion)
melissajoy301 melissajoy301 9 years
A recent diet article in Women's Health pushed this supplement... I'm frankly quite shocked a health magazine would recommend this if there have been studies questioning its safety!
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
I've heard of those shiritaki noodles, but have never been able to fnd them to try them. i'll keep looking. On a side note, this post made me laugh because my trainer always talks about glucocen. He's got a funny accent so i always laugh when he says it
machineangel machineangel 9 years
A better way to go about it is to eat products from the konnyaku plant itself. It's a million times easier to find in Japan, but I know things like shirataki noodles are popping up in places like Whole Foods, etc (and can always be found in Asian markets, if you've got access to one). They don't taste like anything, and though the texture can be kind of weird (it's very chewy), they're a good replacement for simple-carb-calorie-heavy pasta. Konnyaku in its various processed forms and shapes is 0 calories/serving (and the serving size is something reasonable, like say half a bag).
Leilanic1 Leilanic1 9 years
wow! i'm so glad you posted this! i had just read an article on MSN about foods to include in your diet and this one one of the things they said to add. I have been meaning to go buy some of this to try now I won't.
aconstant440 aconstant440 9 years
Wow. I just heard about this yesterday. (It is pushed by one of the new diet books, but I can't remember the name). Great info from you as usual!
jlana jlana 9 years
I'm just trying to eat more veggies and drink more green tea (though I hate the taste of it). I just never trust these herbal supplements.
wren1 wren1 9 years
Yikes is right! There's always something new popping up claiming to be a magic pill, and then we find out it's so bad for you. I'll stick to exercise, even though some days I really, really don't want to do it!
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