Q – What are zero calorie noodles and can I have them?
A – Zero calorie noodles are also known as “Shirataki” noodles. “Shirataki” is Japanese for “white waterfall”, which is what the noodles look like. The noodles are made from something called glucomannan, which is a type of fibre that comes from the root of a plant called the Konjac plant.
Glucomannan fibre is incredibly absorbent – it is able to absorb up to 50 times its weight in water. This means that “Shirataki” noodles are approximately 97% water and 3% fibre, which is what makes them so low in calories and digestible carbohydrate.
There are a number of health claims made for “Shirataki” noodles. It is argued that they act as a prebiotic, nourishing the bacteria in the colon. It is also argued that the fibre makes you feel full for a while. There are suggestions that the noodles could help with blood glucose levels (not eating helps even more!) The health claims are many and varied, and only to be expected to promote a new product, but I’ve not seen any hard evidence.
The main side effects would, perhaps not surprisingly, be related to the fibre content of these noodles. It is said that they might help with constipation, which is another way of saying they could give you the runs! You may well also get bloating, stomach pain and wind, which is common when human beings consume indigestible items.
The Harcombe Diet is about eating real food and not calorie counting (not least because calorie counting drives us to make bad food choices). I can understand why a calorie counter would want to eat something with zero calories and zero nutrients. I can’t understand why a Harcombe follower would want to. Our principles are about eating real food, which nourishes us and makes us feel healthier and less likely to eat things that we have previously craved.
I think even an interest in zero calorie noodles is a bad sign that the calorie counting monster is still lurking somewhere inside you. Why would want to eat something with no nutritional value? You almost may as well eat the box that the noodles come in!