Fact or Myth: Are Shirataki Noodles Low-Carb?

This is FACT.

Did you know that 80% of Americans are insulin resistant, and nearly 70% of Americans are overweight or obese? A high-carb, high-protein diet low in healthy fats is to blame. Many of us know we should reduce the amount of carbs we eat. We have been told that carbohydrates increase insulin resistance, leaving us vulnerable to diabetes. We know that carbs are processed by the body as sugar and stored in our fat cells, contributing to weight gain. Still, it’s difficult to cut carb consumption. Carbs are everywhere!

Grains, rice, pasta, potatoes, and vegetables are all high in carbs, however, the carbs in vegetables are much easier on your body than the carbs from grains and pasta. That’s because the issue isn’t with carbs per se, but with net carb consumption. Net carbs are your total carbs minus your fiber intake. Because vegetables are high in fiber, they are also low in net carbs.

You don’t just have to stick with veggies to keep your carb consumption low. Skirataki noodles are a low-carb food that can satisfy your pasta cravings without the grave dietary consequences.

The Health Benefits of Shirataki Noodles 

shirataki

Shirataki noodles are a type of Japanese noodle made from glucomannan fiber from the root of the konjac plant. These long, white, see-through noodles are tasteless, so need to be spiced up to be enjoyed, but with virtually zero calories, and made up of 97% water, 3% fiber, and no digestible carbs, they make a great addition to your diet, especially if you are diabetic or at risk for diabetes, or trying to lose or sustain weight.

Glucomannan is a type of soluble fiber called viscous fiber. It moves very slowly through the digestive tract, which gives time for nutrients to be absorbed and also contributes to a feeling of satiety by stimulating the release of a gut hormone peptide called peptide YY (PYY).

As a resistant starch, the glucomannan in shirataki noodles acts as a prebiotic, or food for the healthy bacteria living in your gut. Resistant starches essentially “resist” digestion in the small intestine. Because they are fermented very slowly, blood sugar levels remain stable, thereby helping to regulate insulin.

During the fermentation process, byproducts in the form of short-chain fatty acids are produced, specifically butyrate, propionate, and acetate. These byproducts help to enhance the immune system and protect against inflammation and associated conditions such as asthma and Crohn’s disease). They help to increase production of immune cells called T regulatory cells that play a role in your body’s autoimmune response and help to form other blood cells. They also encourage production of ketones in your liver, thereby helping to fuel your mitochondria (the powerhouses inside your cells) and deliver metabolic signals. And butyrate has been shown to help trigger apoptosis (scheduled cell death), which helps reduce colon cancer risk.

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