Day 182 – virtually calorie-free spaghetti

Today’s “first” is the next best thing to my dream of chocolate that burns calories as you eat it: spaghetti at a mere 8 kcal per 100g. Even if you were to be really, really greedy and eat 250g (which you wouldn’t manage, but more on that later), you’d only take in 20 kcal. Add a vegetable sauce and a hint of freshly grated Parmesan and you’re looking at maybe 150 or 200 kcal for an entire meal. Sounds to good to be true? Well, I had to give it at try, if course.
First of, the facts: this type of “pasta” is made from konjac root, which has been used in Asian cuisine for an eternity. Our health/weight-loss industry, however, has only picked up on it now and it’s becoming more and more popular. The price is correspondingly steep, of course. This is basically a food supplement and not an ingredient. So one of the advantages of pasta – the fact that it can be super cheap to make – disappears in this case.

I was willing to splash out and pay a good 4€ for 100g in the name of science – or rather my challenge – though. Well, and I was simply curious. But from a purely financial point of view, this is definitely not going to be a regular food at our house. So what about the taste, you ask?

Well, the package said that the pasta will always stay al dente. That’s an understatement, if anything. The spaghetti were so chewy it was like trying to eat that curly cable of an old-fashioned telephone. I didn’t mind the fact that the pasta itself tastes of absolutely nothing – that’s where the sauce comes in, anyway (although the konjac pasya doesn’t soak up the sauce as nicely as normal pasta does). So if you don’t mind chewing, it does work as a substitute for pasta. Although I personally prefer zucchini spaghetti – they cost next to nothing, taste good and are healthy…

However, there is more to this: the pasta contains glucomannan, which can absorb many times its own volume of water. Thus, it expands in your stomach and makes you feel fuller sooner. So the pasta fills you up on pretty small amounts. It also consitutes a health risk, however, as it might expand in your throat. Thus, the packet comes with a health warning, stating that the food is a choking hazard and that one absolutely has to drink water with it.

Now I don’t know. Do I really want to eat food that has to come with a health warning? It just feels really unnatural and weird. Maybe we should all just discipline ourselves, exercise more and eat less rather than keep trying to find tricks that will (supposedly) enable us to keep up our bad habits while finally reaching that top-model body the media tell us we need to have. Sometimes we just deserve a nice bowl of spaghetti! The key word here being sometimes. I don’t think it’s necessary to take all the joy out of eating. Just keep an eye on how much you’re eating…

A healthy diet and a balanced intake of calories – that’s the secret to losing weight and maintaining the weight we want to have. My dream of calorie-burning chocolate is simply that: a dream.

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