Made from the crushed root of the konjac plant, this high fiber, no-carb flour has been linked to a bounty of health benefits. But before you board the konjac flour train, it’s important to understand what it is and how to use it safely.
Like almond flour or coconut flour, konjac flour isn’t flour in the traditional sense. Konjac flour is a powder made by crushing the starchy roots of the konjac plant, which is native to several East Asian countries.
TBH, this little root powder is nothing new. It’s been marketed as glucomannan powder for years. It’s the MVP in shirataki noodles and the star ingredient in Lipozene, a weight loss supplement. It’s also been used in Southeast Asian cuisine for basically forever.
More recently, konjac flour’s gained buzz in the wellness world because it’s naturally free of carbs and gluten-free.
It might cancel your constipation
It may dial down your cholesterol
A research review on konjac glucomannan showed that the powder can lower cholesterol levels. It might be partially due to the way konjac forms a covering on the surface of the intestines, which helps prevent fat absorption.
It could support your weight loss journey
Filling up on fiber may help you reduce body fat.
It might help regulate blood sugar
It may boost skin health
Evidence is a bit slim, but konjac flour seems to improve your skin from the inside out.
Konjac is considered generally healthy. But just like any food, there are potential downsides.
Remember, konjac flour is packed with fiber. Eating too much fiber, too fast can cause:
Konjac acts a bit like gelatin. It congeals and thickens. So, going hog wild on konjac every day could cause a bowel obstruction. That basically means it could get stuck in your GI tract and prevent anything from exiting your bowels. This can be super painful (like the worst constipation of all time). And in worst-case scenarios, it can require surgery to correct.
So, drink plenty of water with your konjac products. And some folks should avoid konjac altogether:
- toddlers and young kiddos
- older adults
- folks with swallowing disorders
It’s a valid risk whenever you try a new-to-you food. Seek help ASAP if you develop these symptoms of a reaction after eating something made with konjac flour:
Good question! You can make bread from a combination of konjac four and other flour. But bread made from pure konjac flour will fall flat, and look and taste strange.
One recent study found that replacing 50 percent of a gluten-free bread recipe’s flour with konjac resulted in bread with “a strong odor and taste of fish.” After testing several ratios, researchers suggested sticking to flour formulations with less than 37.5 percent konjac — but even lower percentages were predicted to look and taste better.
Konjac flour noodles go by many names — shirataki, miracle, and even zero. They’ve earned mystical, magical status in the wellness world because they’re:
- low cal
Sounds like a miracle, right? But these skinny, white noodles are simply made by mixing konjac flour with a little lime water. The resulting gel is pressed into noodles. Voilà!
Unlike classic dry pasta, shirataki noodles are usually sold pre-moistened in a pouch. Some brands sell noodles made from a combo of konjac and tofu to make them a little easier on your digestive system.
The most common use for konjac flour is as a thickening agent. But beware — this stuff gels up liquids waaaaay more than cornstarch. A little goes a long way.
Use konjac flour to thicken your:
You can also mix konjac flour into all-purpose flour to create a softer crumb in cakes, cookies, and other baking concoctions. Start with just a bit of konjac flour, then work up until you hit the texture you want.
Konjac flour recipes
Where to find konjac flour
This gluten-free powder is sold under several names:
- konjac flour
- konjac gum
- glucomannan powder
Look for it at specialty Asian food stores or online.
- Konjac flour is the powdered root of the konjac plant, which is native to parts of Asia.
- Konjac is naturally carb-free and gluten-free.
- Consuming more konjac flour could help you lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, and even lose weight.
- You can add konjac to your diet through shirataki noodles, supplements, or konjac flour.
- Konjac flour can be used as a thickener in sauces and soups or a gluten-free flour alternative in baked goods.
- Stock up on konjac flour at your local specialty Asian food store or online.