Friday Feature: Konjac Fiber Slices

Well, this isn’t necessarily Taiwanese but I found a really interesting product at the Lohao table at the Portman farmers market last weekend.  The product is called Konjac fiber slices and it was available in a variety of sweet and savory flavors.  My daughter started digging into the blueberry, so that is what we took home.   But what in the world is it?  The texture sort of reminded me of gummy bears but it was only a little sweet and it kind of breaks up in your mouth.  So I did some research.

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Konjac is a plant of Japanese origin and the dietary fiber from its root is called glucomannan.  Glucomannan is a basically a water-soluble dietary fiber that is usually used in food processing for gel foods, such as faux meat products, or as an emulsifier for jam or thick drinks.  But why would anyone make a snack out of it?  Turns out its incredibly low in calories (claims to be calorie-free), has a low glycemic index and studies show it can help with insulin resistance and risk of type 2 diabetes, as well as high cholesterol and constipation.  

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Sounds pretty miraculous but to make the glucomannan taste like anything, you have to add sugar.  This particular snack, the blueberry flavor, still has 277kcal for 100g, which is all sugar.  It is offset by the high fiber content, 11g, but all in all a tasty, although not guilt-free snack. 

Find it:  Lohao City – Beijing-based health food store: http://www.lohaocity.cn/indexe.asp