How about a noodle with zero calories?! There is one that's made from an Asian yam. You've probably had them before if you ever had sukiyaki at a Japanese restaurant. They've been used for centuries. Although it's been around for a long time in the Asian diet, it's now being marketed to the West. One company that is promoting them is NoOodle.
Made from shirataki yams, the yams have a special fiber called glucomannan. High in soluble fiber but with zero calories, zero net carbohydrates, and no gluten, they are useful for those on diabetic and low carb diets. Soluble fiber means that it turns into a gel when mixed with water. (Insoluble fiber passes through your system as a solid.) The high water content mixed with the glucomannan creates a substance that "increases the viscosity of gastro-intestinal content" making you feel fuller for longer. Studies have also found that glucomannan works in the intestinal tract to reduce food (sugar, fat, cholesterol) absorption. Because NoOodles have zero carbs, they do not cause any kind of glucose spike like other carb filled pastas, thus the popularity for diabetics. Glucomannan also reduces the absorption of cholesterol by helping it to flush through your system.
I got a package at the Fancy Food Show last January and only just got around to trying them. I just couldn't think of what I wanted to use it for. This week I discovered I had an Asian ginger sesame sauce I had forgotten about. I cut up some baby bok choy, added some Gardein beefless cubes, and tossed in the noodles and the sauce for a quick and easy noodle bowl.
The noodles are slippery. They are similar to rice noodles and have no flavor on their own. They will take the flavor of whatever you cook them with. They are already cooked, so all you do is pour them into a colander, give them a quick rinse and drain, and then add them to your dish.
There's really no reason not to give them a try if you are looking to reduce carbs and find healthy foods to add to your diet. With centuries of history and all the benefits of soluble fiber, they can be a great addition to a healthy lifestyle.
Locally they can be found at the Davis Coop.