Can Japanese Shirataki Noodles Help With Weight Loss and Control Type 2 Diabetes?

Shirataki Noodles

tofu shirataki noodles, fettucine-shaped
tofu shirataki noodles, fettucine-shaped | Source

Shirataki Noodles and Weight Loss

Shirataki noodles (see photo) are Japanese noodles that are so low in calories and carbohydrates that they are said to be used regularly by Japanese women to stay slim. Because of what these noodles are made of, they are excellent as a food source for weight loss, and also beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes.

While the noodles are still relatively new to the Western diet they have been common in the Asian diet for at least 2,000 years.

What does 'shirataki' mean?

The word shirataki is a Japanese word which means ’white waterfall’ - it alludes to the appearance of the noodles which are thin, gelatinous, and transparent. Sometimes called konnyaku noodles - they are made from the roots of the konjac plant - and are mostly composed of a dietary fiber known as glucomannan. There are different kinds of shirataki noodles on the market.

Isn't glucomannan sold in health food stores as a weight loss aid?

It's interesting to note that while shirataki noodles are still relatively new to the Western diet - glucomannan supplements have long since been sold in capsule form in health food stores. They have been sold as a dietary supplement. Unfortunately, Americans too often look for little pills as a diet supplement and not nutritious foods. The noodles are more satisfying and a logical alternative to the dietary pills.

How do the noodles affect weight loss?

It is the soluble fiber found in shirataki (think oatmeal) that slows digestion and prolongs the feeling of fullness that is an essential part of any weight loss program. Because the absorption is so slow your body absorbs more nutrients. If you replace one meal per day with these noodles you will significantly increase the fiber in your diet and reduce your caloric intake.

Fiber has no calories and it passes through the digestive tract intact. Because it absorbs water, it provides you with that satisfying 'full' feeling.

How can the the noodles be beneficial for people with Type 2 Diabetes?

The noodles are also beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes. Simply by slowing the digestive process there is a slower absorption rate of glucose which then requires a slower release of insulin from the pancreas. This aids in the normalization of blood glucose after eating a meal.

What is this about glucomannan?

The glucomannan you find in these noodles is a water-soluble dietary fiber. It is made from the roots of the Asian Konjac plant. It is the glucomannan that makes up the majority substance in the noodles. Dietary fiber, which is found only in plant food, has been proven to have a multitude of health benefits including decreasing blood glucose levels. There is evidence to indicate that soluble fiber also helps prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, and diverticulitis. It may also reduce the risk of some types of cancers.

Is there only one kind of shirataki noodle on the market?

There are several kinds on the market, and many shapes for personal preferences. Always read the labels. The noodles that say shirataki only, list a zero calorie count. The noodles in my photo are tofu shirataki and they are 20 calories for 4 ounces, and 3 grams of carbohydrates. Some list yam flour.

When I lived in S. Korea, these noodles were easily found in every supermarket. (Korea also makes many zero and lo-cal noodles). Here in the USA you may have seen them on the supermarket shelf but did not know what they were. They are sold in the refrigerated section and they are packaged wet. The shelf life is usually up to a year.

In China they are known as Moyu or Juruo. In Japan, the noodles are known as Konnyaku or Shirataki.

You can do a lot of research on the internet before you step into a market to make a purchase.

How do these noodles compare to our everyday pasta as far as calories?

Pasta is made from semolina (wheat) and has 210 calories for 2 ounces uncooked - and then you add red sauce which then raises the caloric content even more. The shirataki noodles, depending on which you buy, may have zero calories to 20 calories per 4 ounce serving.

These noodles can provide a healthy alternative for people who are finding it hard to give up a lifetime of pasta and must have some noodles in their life.

Note too that these noodles are wheat free, gluten free, and kosher.

Are they easy to prepare?

You can cook them by bringing water quickly to a boil, shutting off the heat, and letting them sit in hot water for a minute. They can also be prepared by just running them under hot water in a strainer  - or eating them cold - or at room temperature. Each package comes with cooking, and serving suggestions.

Will I like them?

If you have never tried them it is suggested that you eat a small portion the first time.

They easily absorb the flavors of broth, soups, and sauces. They are commonly served with sea salt, soy sauce, garlic powder, tofu, vegetables and shrimp.You can season them however you want. For me it is just soy sauce, garlic powder, and a pinch of a hot pepper powder, or hot sauce.

What if I am a vegan and/or only like organic food?

The label on my shirataki noodles claim they are vegan, have no cholesterol, no sugar and are not genetically engineered.

Where are they sold?

I have found them for sale in every Chinese, and Korean supermarket here in NYC - and this is where they are the cheapest. They are sold often at large known supermarket chains like Trader Joe's. I can find them in some local chain supermarkets here in Brooklyn, NYC. The ones in the photo I picked up for $2.49 at a small local Korean green grocer. And (surprisingly) they can be purchased online.The online websites offer a large variety and also offer the dietary information (a big plus!) and bargain prices.

Happy eating!

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Comments 60 comments

fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 7 years ago from Southern California

Whenever I see weight control, or weight loss, my antenna goes up, and this article was no different. Very insightful article, very well written. Now to the weight loss part, my problem is that, I don't like to eat and most of the time I don't have an appetite, ergo, non to suppress, but I am overweight. I do like to try new things and will try these noodles, who knows it might work the reverse on me. Thanks Bk!


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

You know fastfreta, I wonder if so many of us have lost our appetites because our food is just so bad. It's overprocessed junk being called food. It has little nutritional value.

Please let me know if you like these noodles and if they work for you!


charm_baker profile image

charm_baker 7 years ago from Los Angeles, California

Hey girl - interesting noodle. So would you say it taste like a chow mein noodle without the sauce? I'm not a big noodle eater, but it might be worth a try. Thanks


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Hey Lady - I have to say I like the taste - which is none - until I add my own seasonings - they are very satisfying. And I love slurping noodles. They are lighter but more filling.

The chow mein noodles have a much heavier texture, and floury taste. These are so innocent.


it' s me again 7 years ago

I work in a Japanese own office.........so no comment regarding NOODLES.........


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Hilarious!!!!

Thanks - love your wit!


LoveThese! 7 years ago

Love these noodles and they do work. I eat 1/2 pack for 2 days and I don't feel stuffed but I am not hungry and it seems the next day I still feel kind of full. I have the tofu kind but will try more more. This is a good article - thanks.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks LoveThese!

I've decided to keep these on hand now. Glad they work for you and I am feeling quite satisfied also but not stuffed as you say.

Thanks for writing!


Patti Ann profile image

Patti Ann 7 years ago from Florida

I will have to try these. I am a big pasta fan and these sound like a great replacement for regular pasta.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Hi Patti Ann, I am finding out that these noodles not only make me feel full - but they seem to work even a day later. And now I find I can only eat 1/3 of a package at one time.

I had 1/3 last night and today I only feel like nibbling. I am satisfied. This is great and I hope it works for you, too!


creativeone59 profile image

creativeone59 7 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

Thanks for this interesting information, I would like to try these noodles myself. you have very helpful hubs. thank you.

Creativeone59


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Hello creativeone59 - I am so glad to meet you!

I find these noodles locally and they have truly curbed my appetitite - I just don't have that need to nosh all the time. Even when I look at food I don't feel tempted. Hope you like them. They are great to throw in with a pot of nicely chopped up and seasoned vegetables.

Thanks for writing!


pasta lover 6 years ago

thanks for the article. I found this by accident while looking for substitutes for my flour and rice portions of my diet. I think this will help me feel less deprived of my lifelong love of pasta :)


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

I'm glad you found the hub helpful pasta lover. And I find with these noodles, I can fill my plate with vegetables and then toss on the noodles - kind of the opposite of what we usually do - like a bowl of pasta and then throw on vegs but the pasta dominates. I think you may like these - I add a bit of soy sauce and I am all set!


allie8020 profile image

allie8020 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area, California

I've been looking for a healthier pasta substitute for quite some time now, but I have not been successful. So, I've had to cut down on my pasta intake in order to keep my carbs low. I think shirataki noodles just might be the pasta/noodle substitute I've been looking for. Thanks, again for the great idea.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

I think you may like these allie8020 - I can eat them plain with a little soy sauce or add them to very soupy vegetables. And I feel full for a long time. Thanks for commenting!


Misterlak profile image

Misterlak 6 years ago

Sounds good :-)


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks for commenting Misterlak!


mymind profile image

mymind 6 years ago

Great info, I am going to try these, Im prety sure I have seen then in the supermarket. I am for anything that helps with weight control.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Hello mymind - I am finding them more and more in the supermarket in the refrigerated section. They are nice and light for the spring and summer and added to lots of veggies - and I do feel real full for the rest of the day!

Nice to meet you by the way!


DemiDevi2 6 years ago

So has anyone lost weight with these noodles? I am getting hungry thinking of all the ways I can make the noodles.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

I tell you DemiDevi - these make me feel full for hours, even the next day - and I have no desire to eat. While, I am not trying to lose weight - these seem to have me cutting way back for a couple days - so I can see it making a difference for trying to lose weight.


qiangqiang 6 years ago

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Online Weight Loss 6 years ago

Interesting. I'll give it a try.

http://www.fitclick.com/weight_loss_tips


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

I'll definitely try this out. Thanks again!


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

You're welcome Micky Dee. I'm beginning to see these noodles more often in different supermarkets. Prices do vary greatly - for the same noodles so I shop at one place.


BKDieter 6 years ago

Can anyone tell me exactly which supermarkets you buy these from. I went to Hong Kong Supermarket and about 8 Asian markets and noone and NO idea what i was talking about.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

I live in Brooklyn, NYC - and two local supermarket chains sell the noodles. These chains are 'Pioneer' and 'Associated' - both are selling a variety and for $2.99. The local Korean greengrocer also sells them.

They are wet noodles and found in the refrigerated area.


BKDieter 6 years ago

Thank you for your quick reply! I will check these out today!!!


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Hope you can find them. Usually, they are placed right next to the fresh packed tofu!


BKDieter 6 years ago

Do they only sell the Tofu type or the yam(konjac) as well??


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

I'm seeing mostly the tofu type but with different noodle shapes. You know I lived in S. Korea where so much was made with yam flour - like a favorite of mine called jap chae. You may have to go to an Asian market for the konjac type.

You can order every kind imaginable online and at good prices. Including the one with yam flour - for sure.


My Free Blood Glucose Meter 6 years ago

Interesting - never heard of this method for controling diabetics before.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

This is only part of a healthy diet. We are finally admitting that food is the key and not a million toxic drugs. Sad that we don't practice prevention in this culture. It's always about finding a cure - which means pharmaceuticals.


Lisa Bambu 6 years ago

wow this sounds great,I mostly a vegetarian I ocassionally eat meat but just a bit,I want to try these noodles,I love chineese noodles so I know I will love these,& I trying to loose weight after my baby she 5 months now & I doing good thanks all I cant wait to get


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

These are so easy to prepare and eat Lisa Bambu. I'm surprised at how full they make me feel. Even the next day I feel full. Hope you try them and like them.

Thanks for commenting!


Fredthegirl 6 years ago

Thanks for all your replies BKCreative, I too love pasta and will give these a try. They aren't slimey are they?


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

No slime at all Fredthegirl! There are also lots of varieties - so much to pick from. I like too that that are sold fresh - not dried - in the refrigerated section of the markets - as opposed to sitting on the shelf forever.

Thanks for writing!


Danielle 5 years ago

Just tried Shiratake noodles for the first time the past two days - started doing low carb again :) I ate them at 12 for lunch with a turkey burger and I"m still not hungry. It's odd how they keep me full... The noodles take on the flavor of whatever you put on them, and even better the next day while sitting in the flavoring. Enjoy!


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks for your input Danielle. Nothing better than having a personal recommendation and experience.

They do sustain you!


jacqui 5 years ago

My husband has been off of injectable insulin for over a year now, and it has been a huge struggle for him with diet and exercise. As soon as I find these in our area you can bet we'll be giving them a try. I cannot thank you enough for putting this information out there. I will definitely be spreading the word and sending people to your link.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Hello jacqui! I have a cousin who has had type 2 for more than 40 years and he said these are a great addition to his diet. He often throws them in vegetable soup or does a quick stir fry and adds these and he is satisfied.

I like too the fact that they are sold fresh - so they are not some type of dried up pasta which may no longer have nutrients.

I'm most surprised at how long I feel satisfied after eating them.

Hope you find them and like them.

Thanks for writing!


Steven Gay 5 years ago

Wow meizitang i took it and it worked really well lidaloseweight.com


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

I'm so glad it worked for you Steven Gay. Thanks for commenting!


JenJen 5 years ago

I just tried the tofu shiritaki noodles with marinara sauce love that now even though I am on a low carb diet when my boyfriend and daughter want spaghetti I don't have to make a completely different meal. They're not the exact texture of pasta, slightly more gelatin like texture but definitely close enough to work. Wondering if anyone has actually lost weight using them.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Hello JenJen, I'm glad you are game and gave them a try. I think they have kept my weight down. I can eat them and not be hungry for hours. There are so many different kinds and I like mine with a bit of soy sauce and garlic powder. And very satisfying during the summer.

They were on Dr. Oz again yesterday - a show for people desperately needing to lose weight. They will keep you full so you can eat 3 square meals per day instead of being hungry all the time.

Thanks for writing!


jahayra lopes 5 years ago

Hello,

I live in Seoul South Korea, whas wodering whre you purchased these? Do you have a picture of the package?

Thank you. Any iformation would be greatly appreciated. My email address is jahylo78@aol.com


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

The picture at the top of the page are ones I bought locally here in NYC. When I lived in Seoul - I could walk into any supermarket - to the refrigerated section - and find a wide selection of noodles including these.

However, my favorite noodles were jap-chae - made with a sweet potato flour and other glass noodles which were also extremely low calorie but nutritious.

Try browsing the refrigerated section where there are tons of noodles - I seem to remember a section specifically for Japanese noodles - many of which I also enjoyed.

Thanks for writing!


Goso profile image

Goso 5 years ago from Seattle, Washington

When I was visiting Japan, chunks of konyaku were sold as a diet food. The noodles are way more appetizing than the big pieces and very resilient in cooking as well! Thanks for getting the word out :)!


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks for that information Goso. I'm curious about those big pieces and will look it up. It's also time for me to get back into eating those noodles.


went wilkinson 5 years ago

has anyone lost weight with these noodles bought some on line I will want to lose weight very bad


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

They fill me up and keep me satisfied for a long time. My regular noodle-eating friends fare much better at weight loss then keeping the weight down - than those who eat them once in awhile.


se72748 5 years ago

I recently learned of sherataki.I have tried veggie sherataki and also sea food sherataki.Both dishes were delicious.My next sherataki dish will be with meatballs and maranara sauce.I'm also looking forward to shrimp sherataki with alfredo sauce.Love it


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks so much for the information se72748! I did not know about the sea food noodles - and will look for them. These noodles are showing up more and more on the average supermarket shelf.


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

I love shirataki noodles with my shabu-shabu or sukiyaki. I notice that I get full easily with this wonder noodles from Japan. The first time I ate this noodles, I was a bit surprised. I thought it tasted very differently from the usual pasta. But then again I've acquired the taste and have become a fan of this noodles.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks so much for your comment kerlynb - there is nothing like a personal experience and recommendation. These noodles fill me up too and it's kind of hard to go back to the very heavy, floury type of pasta that we are so used to. Time to pick up some more this week.


Joy 4 years ago

How do I get this noodles in Nigeria


Tammy 4 years ago

I love these noodles because they're so low in calories!

http://www.losingweight.com/question/is-there-a-lo...


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 4 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Yes, and now there are lots of Americanized copies showing up in the supermarkets.

Thanks for taking the time to write!


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 4 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

I don't know where they can be found in Nigeria. You may have to do a search on the internet to see if they are even sold there, Hope you find them!

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