There are many supplements on the market that claim to aid in weight loss while minimizing cravings. Unfortunately, while they claim to be an effective weight loss strategy, very few work.
The truth is, supplements only need to be more effective than a placebo to be marketed as a weight loss pill. So, how do you determine which supplements are effective, and which are a gimmick? Recently, a supplement known as glucomannan has gained attention in mainstream media.
But what is glucomannan and does it really work? In this article, we’ll look at glucomannan benefits, side effects, and if you should add it to your weight loss routine.
What is Glucomannan?
Glucomannan is a dietary fiber extracted from the root of the konjac plant, also known as elephant yam. It is a soluble dietary fiber that has an amazing ability to attract water. It can be used in powders, tablets, and capsules for medicinal purposes. Popular in traditional Chinese medicine, today Glucomannan benefits are being channeled into dietary supplements to aid in weight loss.
Glucomannan can also be used to:
- Treat constipation
- Reduce high cholesterol
- Improve high blood pressure
- Decrease blood sugar for individuals with diabetes
Glucomannan Benefits for Weight Loss
Research has proven that glucomannan in certain doses can contribute to weight loss. Adults who took between 1-4 grams a day found that it created a feeling of fullness, controlling their desire to eat larger meals. Because it’s an extremely viscous dietary fiber, it takes up more room in the gut, so people feel full longer. Like all soluble fibers, glucomannan reduces the absorption of fats and proteins, essentially blocking the number of calories people consumed.
So, what does all this evidence mean? By taking 1-4 grams of glucomannan daily, it can control your appetite in three ways:
- Hormonally, by controlling your appetite.
- Physically, by taking up room in the gut.
- Lastingness, by slowing down food absorption.
Several randomized controlled trials showed that groups that took straight glucomannan or glucomannan combined with other fibers before their meals saw:
- Decreased appetite scores
- Reduced weight, waist measurement, and body fat
It is considered safe to use, but common side effects include flatulence, diarrhea, bloating, and mild stomach pains.
Diet & Exercise
Individuals who are struggling with weight loss may benefit from glucomannan, but it’s important to note that no supplement will have a significant impact without diet and exercise.
A study assessed 42 overweight men and women taking a low dose of glucomannan before two of their meals every day. Although the meals were not calorie-controlled, half of the participants exercised for one hour three times a week, while the other half remained sedentary.
At the end of the study, both groups saw weight and fat loss. The group that exercised, however, saw up to 63 percent (men) and 50 percent (women) more fat loss than the sedentary group. The results are proof that if you want a more successful weight loss experience, you must include exercise into your routine.
What about your diet? That also needs to be improved. The key to weight loss is to burn more calories than you consume. Because it’s easier for most of us to limit our calorie intake than it is to burn it off through exercise, diet is more effective for weight loss.