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Shirataki noodles, or konjac noodles, are a truly unique food, low in calories and with high satiating properties. It is a type of pasta rich in glucomannan, a particular fiber which also has a significant positive impact on health, particularly as regards weight loss and the benefits related to it.

Yes, but do we really know shirataki pasta? In this article, we'll tell you everything we know, including advice on the best brands, and some ideas for cooking them. In short, all you have to do is make yourself comfortable and keep reading!

What are shirataki konjacs?

Shirataki noodles are long, white-colored noodles, often also called miracle noodles or konjac noodles. They are made from glucomannan, a type of fiber that comes from the root of the konjac plant, hence the name. Konjac grows in Japan, China and Southeast Asia. It contains highly digestible carbohydrates, which however come mostly from glucomannan fiber.

The word shirataki, in Japanese, means waterfall, and has been attributed to these noodles due to their translucent appearance, which in turn depends on the composition: glucomannan flour, water and lime water which helps them keep their shape .

To cook them, they are processed either into noodles or into small pieces that look like rice. One of their most appreciated properties is the high water content: well 97%, while the fiber is only 3%. Also for this reason, in addition to the fact that they do not contain digestible carbohydrates, they are really low in calories (unless you choose the variant with added tofu).

The fibers contained in shirataki noodles

Glucomannan is a type of highly viscous soluble fiber, which by absorbing water turns into a gel. Its main feature, which is also seen in shirataki, is the ability to absorb up to 50% of its weight in water. The effect on our body is that they are extremely easy to digest, but at the same time they slow down the digestive process, which means you feel fuller longer, and the absorption of nutrients into the blood is slowed down.

But there's more, because the viscous fibers also work as prebiotics, thus feeding the bacterial flora, also known as microbiota. In the colon, bacteria ferment fiber into short-chain fatty acids, which can fight inflammation and give your immune system a boost. Recent studies have also shown that the fermentation of glucomannan into fatty acids yields one calorie for every gram of fiber, meaning that a 100-gram plate of shirataki, which contains 3% of fiber, will have 3 calories.

Konjac noodles and weight loss

Shirataki noodles have proved to be a powerful ally for anyone who wants to lose weight. Their sticky nature means you feel fuller for longer, which prevents cravings and generally helps you eat less. But that's not all, because the fibers that ferment into fatty acid chains stimulate the production of a hormone that promotes a sense of satiety. And finally, glucomannan helps reduce hunger hormone levels, so much so that research shows that people who take glucomannan as part of their diet tend to lose more weight.

Indeed, according to a study, some subjects have lost weight without even changing their lifestyle. In short, just take glucomannan an hour before eating – if you take it in tablets – or include shirataki noodles in your diet, to give your figure a nice boost.

But that's not all, because shirataki noodles have also proved to be excellent allies for lowering blood sugar levels. In short, when we talk about diet, we can also include ketogenic and low-carbohydrate diets in general, as shirataki do not actually contain carbohydrates, and are therefore ideal for those who want a plate of pasta without leaving ketosis which, as we know, it is closely linked to the level of sugar in the blood.

Given the low intake of carbohydrates, and the fact that glucomannan slows down the absorption of nutrients and therefore their diffusion in the blood, the insulin level rises more gradually, which is also ideal for those suffering from diabetes.

Other benefits include a positive effect on the rate of cholesterol absorbed from the blood, as well as on constipation. In fact, people suffering from constipation have found benefits from the use of konjac spaghetti, thanks to the beneficial effects on the microbiota.

The best konjac shirataki

Not sure how to make your choice? We have chosen a selection of shirataki noodles for you.

1) Konjac Shirataki Konjac 

One of the few 350 gram packs, ideal for those who have to cook for several people.

2) City Aroma Shirataki Skeins

Multipack of single portions to always keep in the cupboard, convenient for those who use shirataki noodles regularly in their diet.

3) Konjac Miracle Noodle Shirataki Rice

Ready in two minutes, in this case the shirataki are in rice format, small pieces to replace the cereal without taking on carbohydrates.

Shirataki noodles: what about the contraindications?

Like all foods, even shirataki noodles can have contraindications. In fact, some subjects have experienced digestive problems, bloating and flatulence. This, however, in the event of an overdose, although in general it is advisable to introduce them into the diet gradually.

How to cook konjac shirataki

Shirataki may seem a little difficult to make at first. This starts when you open the package, because they are stored in a liquid that has a slight fishy smell that depends on the absorption of the konjac root smell. Consequently, the first thing to do is to rinse them well for a few minutes under running water in order to remove the smell.

Once this is done, it is possible to season the shirataki as desired: they can be marinated to give them a specific aroma, they can be sautéed in a pan - however, this implies that fat will be added - or you can proceed with the traditional recipes used for pasta. If you are following a ketogenic diet (the famous keto) for example, a plate of shirataki noodles with tomato sauce with a spoonful of parmesan will make you forget spaghetti without getting out of ketosis.

And now? Well, bon appetit!