Shirataki Noodles Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Shirataki noodles, annotated

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

Shirataki noodles are an option for pasta if you follow a low-carbohydrate or gluten-free diet. While they don't mimic the exact taste and texture of regular pasta (they're gelatinous and mostly tasteless), they can take on the flavor of whatever sauce you're preparing. They also are a source of glucomannan fiber.

Shirataki noodles are made from a tuber of an Asian plant (Amorphophallus konjac) called a konjac plant, konjac yam, or elephant yam. The tubers are dried and ground to make flour. In Asia, this flour has been used for centuries to make noodles, tofu, and snacks, as well as traditional Chinese medicines.

Shirataki Noodles Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information for 8 ounces of shirataki noodles (224g) is provided by the USDA.

  • Calories: 20
  • Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 6g
  • Fiber: 6g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 0g

Carbs

With very few carbs per serving (all of which are from fiber), shirataki noodles are an option for people who need to follow a low-carb diet but still want to eat pasta dishes. They contain a beneficial type of soluble fiber called glucomannan that isn't digested in the small intestine. With almost no usable carbohydrates, they don't cause blood sugar to rise and have a glycemic index of 0.

Fat

Shirataki noodles are naturally fat-free.

Protein

Shirataki noodles do not contain any protein, so you will need to get protein from other sources. Some manufacturers offer shirataki noodles made with tofu, which adds a little protein.

Vitamins and Minerals

Other than a small amount of calcium (40 milligrams per 8-ounce serving), shirataki noodles do not provide micronutrients.

Health Benefits

Shirataki noodles have almost no calories, carbohydrates, fat, sugar, or protein. They are gluten-free and vegan.

In general, any health benefits of shirataki noodles are due to the glucomannan fiber they contain. Glucomannan is a soluble fiber that swells to many times its original volume when combined with water. It forms a gel-like mass in your digestive tract that might help you feel fuller after eating and could keep food in your stomach longer. Fiber, in general, is known to help lower cholesterol, act as a laxative, reduce appetite, and aid in weight loss.

Keep in mind that most studies are conducted using glucomannan supplements rather than noodles. According to some research, glucomannan may have beneficial effects on cholesterol and triglycerides.

Studies are inconclusive as to whether glucomannan has an effect on weight loss, with some reviews saying yes and others saying no. Similarly, there is mixed evidence on the effectiveness of glucomannan for treating constipation, particularly in children, as a 2017 review study reported.

Allergies

No allergic reactions to shirataki noodles have been reported in the medical literature. Since they do not contain proteins, they are unlikely to be allergenic. However, if you have a soy allergy, avoid tofu shirataki noodle products.

Adverse Effects

Canadian health officials warn that tablets and capsules containing powdered glucomannan need to be taken with at least 8 ounces of water and should not be taken immediately before going to bed. Otherwise, the supplements could swell and block the throat or intestines. Wet glucomannan-based noodles should not produce this same effect, but it's wise not to eat dry noodles without preparing them per the package instructions.

Varieties

Tofu shirataki noodles are manufactured by adding tofu to the shirataki flour for a less rubbery texture. These noodles are opaque and yellow-white, better mimicking the appearance of wheat flour pasta. They have a bit more protein and carbohydrate than traditional shirataki noodles, with 2 grams of protein and 6 grams of carbohydrate per 8-ounce serving.

You can find tofu shirataki in a variety of shapes including macaroni, spaghetti, fettuccine, and angel hair. They come pre-cooked but can be parboiled for two to three minutes or microwaved for one minute to heat them.

Where to Buy

It used to be that shirataki noodles could only be found in Asian grocery stores, but they are now widely available at health food stores and larger grocery chains. Look for them in the refrigerated section, either with the produce or with the dairy products, depending on where the store usually displays tofu. You can also buy them online.

Storage and Food Safety

While you should check the packaging of your chosen product for details, most shirataki noodles are shelf-stable and can be stored at room temperature if unopened. If you purchase them cold, it is best to keep them in the refrigerator (do not freeze, however).

Once the package is opened, store in water in the refrigerator for up to a week. If you have leftover prepared noodles, refrigerate in an airtight container for three to four days.

How to Prepare

Many shirataki noodles come "wet," or packed in liquid. These are ready to eat right out of the package. You may want to rinse them under hot water to eliminate the odd flavor that some describe as fishy. You can trim them with kitchen shears to your desired length and add them to the dish you are cooking.

To soften them and make them less rubbery, boil them for two to three minutes or cook them in the microwave for one minute. In addition to those packaged in liquid, you can also find shirataki noodles uncooked, or dry. Prepare those as directed on the package.

Recipes

Shirataki noodles are great in Asian noodle dishes, but their versatility means you can use them in any recipe that calls for noodles. Try them as a substitute for pasta in turkey tetrazzini or chicken Alfredo.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Shirataki noodles. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published April 1, 2019.

  2. Wanders AJ, van den Borne JJ, de Graaf C, et al. Effects of dietary fibre on subjective appetite, energy intake and body weight: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Obes Rev. 2011;12(9):724-39. doi:10.1111/j.1467-789x.2011.00895.x

  3. Behera SS, Ray RC. Nutritional and potential health benefits of konjac glucomannan, a promising polysaccharide of elephant foot yam, Amorphophallus konjac K. Koch: A review. Food Rev Int. 2017;33(1):22-43. doi:10.1080/87559129.2015.1137310

  4. Onakpoya I, Posadzki P, Ernst E. The efficacy of glucomannan supplementation in overweight and obesity: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. J Am Coll Nutr. 2014;33(1):70-8. doi:10.1080/07315724.2014.870013

  5. Han Y, Zhang L, Liu XQ, Zhao ZJ, Lv LX. Effect of glucomannan on functional constipation in children: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2017;26(3):471-477. doi:10.6133/apjcn.032016.03

  6. Health Canada. Health Canada advises Canadians that natural health products containing glucomannan may cause serious choking if used with insufficient fluid. Updated January 29, 2010.

  7. Tofu shirataki, spaghetti shaped noodle. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published April 1, 2019.