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Biotech Japan

Japanese Company Makes Low-Calorie Noodles Out of Wood 159

AmiMoJo writes: Omikenshi Co, an Osaka based cloth manufacturer best known for rayon, a fibre made from tree pulp, is expanding into the health food business. Using a similar process, Omikenshi is turning the indigestible cellulose into a pulp that's mixed with konjac, a yam-like plant grown in Japan. The resulting fibre-rich flour, which the company calls "cell-eat," contains no gluten, no fat and almost no carbohydrate. It has just 60 calories a kilogram, compared with 3,680 for wheat.
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Japanese Company Makes Low-Calorie Noodles Out of Wood

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 26, 2015 @06:54PM (#51010055)

    It sounds mostly like indigestible filler

    Kinda like this story!

    Heyooooooo

  • Woodles? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 26, 2015 @06:56PM (#51010065)

    That is all.

  • How insanely orthorectic the world has become! Seriously, the very purpose of food is to supply energy to the body. If you don't want to supply energy, chew a gum or suck some stone candy. Neither this nor the noodle surrogate will trick your body to think it has been supplied with enough energy.
    • It does seem a bit like eating sawdust on a sliver of potato. Might be good roughage though!
      • by Layzej ( 1976930 ) on Thursday November 26, 2015 @09:34PM (#51010575)
        The Germans apparently ate sawdust during WW1: The foul black bread that was served was known as kriegsbrot, which translates to war bread. The recipe is quoted from the records of the German food providing ministry published in Berlin in 1941 was "50% bruised rye grain, 20% sliced sugar beets, 20% tree flour (sawdust), 10% minced leaves and straw" - https://books.google.ca/books?... [google.ca]
        • by Anonymous Coward

          My great grandfather developed coal-derived (yes, that coal from the mines) foods for the Germans during the WW2.

        • Cinnamon (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Crowd Computing ( 4269575 ) on Friday November 27, 2015 @10:13AM (#51012849)

          The Germans apparently ate sawdust during WW1: The foul black bread that was served was known as kriegsbrot, which translates to war bread. The recipe is quoted from the records of the German food providing ministry published in Berlin in 1941 was "50% bruised rye grain, 20% sliced sugar beets, 20% tree flour (sawdust), 10% minced leaves and straw" - https://books.google.ca/books?... [google.ca]

          What about cinnamon [wikipedia.org]? Woodn't that qualify as wood food too? Definitely more natural than eating shoes or drinking socks tea.

        • There was a time when unscrupulous jam makers added handmade wooden pips [livejournal.com] to a coloured sweet slurry that was passed off as raspberry jam.

          Though it would (ha, ha) at least have been calorific.

    • by DRJlaw ( 946416 ) on Thursday November 26, 2015 @07:09PM (#51010125)

      Neither this nor the noodle surrogate will trick your body to think it has been supplied with enough energy.

      Not the point. The point is to reduce the energy density of the food while, hopefully, retaining most of its other characteristics.

      Your body does not instantly know when you've ingested enough calories to be satiated. If your food is highly energy dense, it is easy to overshoot. If you have to actually eat for 15-30 minutes to get enough calories for your meal, the odds are far better that you'll feel full after consuming the appropriate amount of calories rather than the double-whammy-megablast that is that second quarter-pounder with cheese.

      • by ffkom ( 3519199 ) on Thursday November 26, 2015 @07:36PM (#51010219)

        If your food is highly energy dense, it is easy to overshoot.

        It doesn't matter if you "overshoot", as it just means there will be a longer time until you get hungry. The human body is way more precise in long-term energy intake regulation than any bean-counting diet can ever be. Just have a look at groups of people who diet mostly on energy-dense food, like those on ketogenic diets or ethnic groups eating mostly fatty fish and whale meat etc. - those sure don't have an obesity epidemic because of that.

        Combine artificial food with an artificial avoidance of motion, and you are much more likely to become obese.

        These artificial noodles are as useless to fight obesity as are artificial sweeteners and "fat-substitutes" in dairy products.

        • by pla ( 258480 ) on Thursday November 26, 2015 @09:52PM (#51010641) Journal
          I agree with you in spirit, but disagree in terms of basic caloric intake.

          Once we have the ability to create tasty foods with effectively no caloric value, it doesn't matter how much our bodies tell us to eat. We can only hold so much worthless food at a time. If we can literally gorge ourselves on near-zero calorie foods, we will have solved obesity, simple as that.

          I do have to wonder how our bodies will rebel against this latest way to eat-without-eating, but strictly in terms of energy-budgets, this seems like a win/win.
          • by aliquis ( 678370 )

            I wonder what this make to your colon and shit though.

            Because sugar-alcohols completely messes you up. How this affect the colon/poop is what matters the most.

          • If we can literally gorge ourselves on near-zero calorie foods, we will have solved obesity, simple as that.

            Probably not. Research has shown that when we eat artificial sweetener, the tongue (as well as taste receptors in our gut) sends signals to prepare the body to process the incoming sugar, resulting in certain reactions (increased insulin production, other things); when no sugar turns up, the body begins to adjust to the fact that sugar taste doesn't mean sugar: the body becomes 'sugar-blind' in effect.

            I think in order to overcome the obesity crisis, we should go the other way: we should try to become more s

          • by ffkom ( 3519199 )

            Once we have the ability to create tasty foods with effectively no caloric value, it doesn't matter how much our bodies tell us to eat. ... I do have to wonder how our bodies will rebel against this latest way to eat-without-eating, but strictly in terms of energy-budgets, this seems like a win/win.

            You can easily do an experiment on yourself to prove this would not be a win: Just start a free day without breakfast and perform some aerobic but exhausting activities for several hours, until significantly after your usual "lunch time". Then eat a meal consisting of lots of particulary low-energy dense food - like salad or vegetables.

            You will experience then a situation where your stomach is really full - to the point where you really don't want to stuff more food into you, but at the same time you are

        • It doesn't matter if you "overshoot", as it just means there will be a longer time until you get hungry.

          You are wrong. You have to eat at regular intervals, regardless of how much you ate earlier, in order to correctly modulate blood sugar. This is the entire mechanism of how people get both obesity and diabetes. Please actually read something about this topic before talking about it.

        • by DRJlaw ( 946416 )

          The human body is way more precise in long-term energy intake regulation than any bean-counting diet can ever be. Just have a look at groups of people who diet mostly on energy-dense food, like those on ketogenic diets or ethnic groups eating mostly fatty fish and whale meat etc. - those sure don't have an obesity epidemic because of that.

          It's cute how reality [nih.gov] disagrees [syr.edu] with your unsubstantiated bullshit. Especially when these people are not actually eating ketogenic diets and you're bitching about a carb

        • The human body is way more precise in long-term energy intake regulation

          Bariatric surgery proves the reverse. Just reducing the volume of stomach makes the body filling full faster. And it's effective.

          Eating energy-dense food combined with exercises and burning calories is a different story.

        • Don't forget boredom... I find boredom is the biggest reason I eat when I'm not really hungry.
        • by Fross ( 83754 ) on Friday November 27, 2015 @10:25AM (#51012911)

          I'm afraid this isn't quite correct and you've got a lot of common fallacies in this.

          Satiety is not a function of calorie intake. While not 100% understood the two strongest indicators we know of are a hormone released on consumption of protein, and the amount of material in the stomach. E.g. "In one study of 38 common foods, both men and women subjects consumed foods with equal calorie contents and their feelings of fullness were recorded every 15 minutes for 2 hours. Highest satiating power was found with high levels of protein, dietary fibre and water and low satiating power was related to higher fat foods." http://www.eufic.org/article/e... [eufic.org]

          "Overshooting" with energy dense foods is not regulated well by the human body - the obesity epidemic is extremely obvious evidence of this. You try to attribute this to "artificial food" but that is a very weak strawman - it's the (relatively) recent availability of extremely energy dense foods such as refined sugar, flour, HFCS with high taste appeal and low satiety that cause the issues.

          The groups of people on "energy dense food" you mention are actually predominantly on high protein foods, which control satiety well as above. While it is possible to become obese on it it is unlikely in the real world as they are predominantly poor ethnic groups, or people with a vested interest in their diet. The obese are people on true energy dense foods (high carbohydrate and high fat) - it is a lot easier to eat 4000 calories a day of cakes than on a carb free diet.

          It's obvious that food to humans in the first world is not just a matter of "supplying energy to the body" as you state, people eat for pleasure, and energy-dense foods contribute to obesity by being exceptionally rewarding to the palate to most people. Exercise is a contributing factor but secondary - you can't outrun a bad diet.

          These noodles will help people to cut out energy dense material within their diet, and will therefore help obesity all other things being equal. Of course it's not as good as portion control, sensible diet choices and moderate exercise, but the obese aren't doing these anyway.

        • Hunger often comes from how full the stomach is rather than sensing being low on calories. There are also compulsive eaters, always nibblinb on something regardless of actual hunger.

      • by nashv ( 1479253 )

        Your body never correlates the enough calories signal with the satiation signal while eating anyway. Satiation is mediated by Ghrelin and Ghrelin levels fall rapidly after eating leading to a feeling of satiation irrespective of caloric intake.

        Caloric intake is sensed through a complex interplay involving the liver. Your overshoot theory doesnt seem to hold.

    • This. Things like this are just poor attempts at doing and end-run around having to (gasp!) actually change your eating habits (read as: getting the fork out of your mouth), which takes planning, committment, and (shocking!) will-power, along with sufficient exercise to create a caloric deficit. The problem is people never want to give anything up, they're averse to doing any actual work (even paying people to lose weight doesn't work), and have no patience (which is why shitty diet pills that don't do a da
    • by aliquis ( 678370 )

      Stone candy.

      Rocks!

    • Next up: Stone candy.

      It's stone soup. Look it up.

    • ... will make you shit a brick.
    • It seems simple, and yet experience proves that it's hard to just eat less.

  • Wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by Stewie241 ( 1035724 ) on Thursday November 26, 2015 @07:01PM (#51010075)

    Who wood have thought?

  • is no longer offensive???!!! Sweeet.
  • eat a tree!
  • Search on Amazon: there are already dozens of konjac-based noodles. They are indeed widely used for weight loss.

    • by GrpA ( 691294 )

      Yes, but getting the look and feel right is a challenge. Konjac noodles also smell really terrible before you wash and clean them.

  • Famine (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 26, 2015 @07:18PM (#51010181)

    These sorts of technologies always remind me of famine from Good Omens (By Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman )
    "
    CHOW^TM contained spun, plaited, and woven protein molecules, capped and coded, carefully designed to be ignored by even the most ravenous digestive tract enzymes; no-cal sweeteners; mineral oils replacing vegetable oils; fibrous materials, colourings, and flavourings. The end result was a foodstuff almost indistinguishable from any other except for two things. Firstly, the price, which was slightly higher, and secondly, the nutritional content, which was roughly equivalent to that of a Sony Walkman.
    "

  • in wood?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    will have a whole new meaning.

  • He created nouvelle (which consisted of a string bean, a couple of peas and a paper-thin slice of chicken), D-Plan dieting and various foods that contained no actual nutrition whatsoever. He enjoys the paradox permitted by modern food technology: that people can eat "foodstuffs" which look, smell, and taste like food, yet contain precisely zero on any scale of nutritive value. Obesity entertains him: the concept that people can eat far too much and yet still die of food-related disorders

    http://wiki.lspace.o [lspace.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Domino's pizza has been making their crust out of recycled wood for years.

  • It gives me flatulence just thinking about it.
  • by SumDog ( 466607 )

    I've been on a mostly-Keto diet for over a year now. I dropped from 70kg to 61kg. The lowest I've been was 57kg but I've occasionally been eating pizza while travelling or drinking more with friends. Overall it's been a great lifestyle choice. I feel better. I have more energy. It's easier to build muscles. I weigh less and if all the data is correct, I have a much lower chance of heart disease.

    I still meet people who sad low-carb is bad. I'm visiting some vegetarian friends who seriously believe that (and

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      It would be nice to have a low carb replacement for flour that would provide a convincing replacement for bread, chips and pasta. You can kind of do some stuff with almond flour, but I haven't always been impressed with it.

      I'd like to see something more interesting done with pork rinds, even. They're not a bad replacment for crunchy chips, but it seems like the only kind you can find are really bad BBQ or "spicy" flavors. It would be nice to have some kind of yellow corn or neutral flavorings that could

      • You can get then right now!

        www.walgreens.com/store/c/lowrey's-bacon-curls-microwave-pork-rinds-original18-bags/ID=prod6156528-product

        You're welcome

    • doesn't keto also mean no alcohol?

      • by Xenx ( 2211586 )
        I think that was the point of saying mostly, and then specifically mentioning their weight went up due to pizza and drinking.
      • You have too be careful of the type of alcohol, many have lots off carbs.

        That and being seriously keto and drinking lots of... say... vodka and water with a lime can make you seriously black out, but keep going a long long time after.

        We used to call it blackout fuel.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Cellulose powder/sawdust in food isn't really a new idea.
    http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB... [wsj.com]

    http://www.npr.org/sections/th... [npr.org]

    Probably not hurting anything though.

  • I'm not positive of the name, but I want to say Nature's Harvest made a white bread that claimed to have 400% more fiber than 100% wheat bread in the 1980s. The way they were doing it was mixing sawdust in with the bread. In the ingredient list, they called it simply 'cellulose'.

    I tried it and it tasted pretty much like any other loaf of bread. But once it became semi-public knowledge that there was wood in it, they took it off the market.
  • The big innovation here is adding wood pulp to an already zero-calorie food?? Konjac ("Devil's Tongue Yam") flour has zero calories and noodles made from it already taste good. You can find them in any asian market sold as "Shirataki Noodles" or in a solid block form called Konnyaku. They are traditionally part of Sukiyaki, and are available online from konjacfoods.com and miraclenoodle.com.
    • noodles made from it already taste good

      I've had shirataki noodles before. You can get them in small quantities from your local Asian grocery store if you just want to try them out.

      My general impression of them was that there was no taste once properly rinsed, but that the texture ranged somewhere on the spectrum between nauseating and revolting.

      YMMV.

  • She'll just love your "morning wood!"
  • I'm reminded of the food products created by 'famine' in Pratchett & Gaimens' 'Good Omens' which one could eat as much as one wanted and yet starve to death -

    "Nouvelle cuisine (the sort that consists of “a string bean, a pea, and a sliver of chicken breast, aesthetically arranged on a square china plate,” invented “the last time he’d been in Paris,”; diet fads (“D-Plan Dieting: Slim Yourself Beautiful, the book was called; The Diet Book of the Century!”; and new

  • These "woodles" (see a post above providing this name) should be an improvement in taste when served next to Haity mud pies [nationalgeographic.com]. Similar nutritional value, but probably a bit tastier.

  • Explodes onto the market just like Olestra.
  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Friday November 27, 2015 @10:21AM (#51012883)
    This stuff already exists - noodles made from konjac flour and oat fibre [hollandandbarrett.com]. It's gluten free, low calorie etc.

    I have no idea what it tastes like because its ludicrously expensive. Holland and Barrett sell quite a few brands of it. Most are packaged in watery bags which suggests the noodles themselves are saturated with water and lose their cohesion if they're allowed to dry out.

    • by MacDork ( 560499 )
      It's only expensive if you buy it there :) Go to an Asian grocery and look near the tofu in the fridge. You'll probably find the Konnyaku there. It comes as noodles or in a brick [natugood.com] that you slice. It's a hard jelly.. a bit like agar, but more firm. It doesn't really have any taste unless you have one of those delicate Japanese palettes, unspoiled by sugary American snacks and hot sauce.
    • I've had shirataki noodles before. They are basically tasteless, which is fine for a noodle, but the texture absolutely churned my stomach. It was all that I could do to avoid vomiting.

      Perhaps these wood pulp noodles will have a better mouth feel.

  • Termites may be displaced if humans start eating wood. And what will happen to the lowly beaver?
  • Wouldn't it be funny if after extended consumption of this product, the gut biome changes to resemble a termite's and people start extracting nutrients and getting fat from the fermenting cellulose?

  • I remembered high-fiber, low calorie bread ... made with wood fiber. See Wood pulp as fiber in bread [nytimes.com]
  • If for some reason this becomes wildly popular then some gut bacteria will happily evolve to eat the wood. It then may very well provide us with more sustenance. If I understand correctly Japanese people often have a gut bacteria that helps them to better digest Seaweed.
  • Celery already exists, has negative net calories, and tastes better than wood.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I lived in Japan and used to eat Konjac for dinner in a bid to be an itty bitty white girl in Japan. It worked like a charm. I cooked the noodles in pasta sauce and it tasted like spaghetti. Problem is, this stuff does NOT fill you up. I just got used to being hungry. These types of foods will never solve obesity because you do not feel full after eating it. Same as you will still feel hungry even if you gorge yourself on soup broth. Your stomach may be full but the hunger is still there. Obesity wo

  • So now they can stop eating whales and dolphins!: http://www.newser.com/story/21... [newser.com]

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