Are shirataki noodles appropriate when you are livin' la vida low-carb?
One of my many faithful and dedicated readers asked me a question today about a supposedly low-carb pasta product called shirataki noodles.
Jimmy what do you know about these Japanese noodle? They are supposed to be low carb.
Actually, I have not personally had the opportunity to try this product yet, but I have heard about them previously. My friend Jason at LO-CARB U Foods lists 5 versions of shirataki noodles among his top ten bestsellers list currently and Elaine from Low Carb Connoisseur also lists these Japanese noodles that are lower in carbohydrates than traditional pasta at her online store.
So what about these noodles makes them so special? Let's take a look.
According to the Food Network's encyclopedia, shirataki (pronounced shee-rah-TAH-kee) is actually translated as "white waterfall," referring to the way the noodles look.
Here is the nutritional label for the specific brand Konjac Shirataki Angel Hair Noodles sold at Low Carb Connoisseur:
As you can see, there's not much of anything nutritionally in these noodles -- NO fat, NO net carbs, NO calories, NO sugar, NO protein, and NO gluten! But what DO they have? And what about the taste?
These thin, translucent, gelatinous noodles do not have a taste per se, but are able to absorb the flavors of anything you add to them. The shirataki noodles are ready to eat and come in a wide variety of pasta styles to meet your need. Incredibly, they can be stored at room temperature for up to one year.
Shirataki noodles are made from konjac flour, a water-soluble dietary fiber from the yam-like konjac plant grown in China and Japan. The dietary fiber in the konjac plant is called glucomannan which is sold in health food stores for weight loss. How about that?! Additionally, these noodles contain calcium and rank low on the glycemic index. Plus, because they are sugar-free, they are perfect for people with diabetes. Excellent!
I really like the fact that these noodles have fiber, an essential element of any successful low-carb program in my opinion. If eating shirataki noodles can help you add just a little more fiber to your diet, then that certainly can't be a bad thing.
Word about the healthy benefits of eating shirataki noodles is already spreading as evidenced by this Arizona Central column today, which notes an Illinois couple's decision to start eating this product to help them lose weight.
The kind of shirataki noodles they ate contained 20 calories per serving, but still helped the weight come off for them. The story notes that supermarkets all across the United States are now looking to bring in these noodles for their health-conscious customers to enjoy.
One reason for that could be the triple growth in one year of the major shirataki manufacturers in America thanks in part to the huge demand for the product at their sales page on Amazon.com. Incredibly, these shirataki noodles have been advertised almost exclusively by word of mouth and yet sales are still booming. If you are looking for a GREAT investment opportunity, then you might want to look into these companies making shirataki noodles.
The story credits the web site Hungry-Girl.com for starting the shirataki noodle craze with her April 12, 2005 review where the web site editor Lisa Lillien gave the most glowing of reviews read over 100,000 times by readers looking for info on the hard-to-find product.
"We cannot possibly begin to explain to you how much we love and cherish these noodles," Lillien wrote. "They WILL change your life."
Lillien added that she has gotten close to 1,000 e-mails and calls from people about shirataki noodles in just the past year after promoting them online as well as on television. Now that's what I call "buzz" for a product!
But not everyone online likes this next great diet food to hit grocery store shelves.
My friends over at LowCarbFriends.com gave a big YUCK face to the shirataki noodles, describing them as "fishy" and "bouncy" while equating them to eating a bunch of rubber bands. Mmmm, yummy! NOT!
In response to this criticism, the manufacturers suggest boiling the shirataki noodles, which are packed in water, for about 2-3 minutes and they will have a texture remarkably similar to the pasta you love and enjoy.
Does anyone have any personal experience with shirataki noodles? I'm game for trying them at least once just to see for myself what all the commotion is about. If I can find them somewhere and try them, I'll let you know what I think. Until then, feel free to let us know what YOU think about them if you have been able to try them.
3-7-06 UPDATE: Well, I took the plunge and tried shirataki noodles for the first time today. Did I like them or spit them out? Click here to find out.
8-30-06 UPDATE: LOOKING FOR MORE ABOUT SHIRATAKI NOODLES? I have compiled ALL of my best posts on these amazing Japanese wonder noodles in this blog post to provide you with LOTS of great recipes, reviews of the various kinds of shirataki noodles, specific places where you can buy shirataki, and MUCH MUCH MORE! Check it out and THANKS for visiting my blog!