Agar-Agar diet

March 10, 2011  •  Category:

I had decided to learn about the cuisines of the Far East as a New Year resolution; after all, we share a continent!

I had used agar-agar a bit  as a vegan substitute to gelatin and made some jam and puddings with it. I thought that was all that I could get out of it: I was so wrong!

First of all, what is agar-agar, aka kanten?

Agar-agar is a powder extracted from a sea algea found in the seas near Japan and China.

Where does one find it?

One  finds  it in any Asian store (Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, Filippino, etc); also can be found online and at some health food stores (don’t buy the one that is in flakes, it is hard to use and overpriced). In some countries, it is even available at pharmacies.

How much does it cost?

It is not expensive; a small packet runs about US $1.00. (Keep in mind that one serving of agar-agar to gel a pudding for 4 people is 2 grams or a teaspoon).

What is so special about agar-agar and why should I care?

  • It is a natural product (extracted from a sea algea)
  • It is much easier to use and gels liquids much faster than regular gelatin (it is nine times more potent than gelatin). It will gel a liquid in one hour or so.
  • Agar-agar is made up (at 80%) of fibers. These fibers will absorb liquid in your stomach and make you feel full, thus reducing your appetite: It is a natural appetite suppressant.
  • Agar-agar relieves constipation as it is a natural laxative.
  • Agar-agar has been shown to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood
  • Agar-agar has also been shown to control blood sugar, helping folks with Type 2 Diabetes.
  • Agar-agar helps dieters lose weight in a natural and effortless way.
  • Agar-agar has no smell or taste and no calories.
  • Agar-Agar can be used in drinks, puddings, soups, pasta, flans, yogurt-based desserts, cheesecakes, natural candy, etc.

A sample use of agar-agar:

For your morning coffee or tea:

Boil water. Prepare your usual drink (tea, coffee, whatever). Pour 1/2 teaspoon (1 g.) of agar-agar in the boiling liquid. Mix well to dissolve and drink (rather fast, because the agar-agar will gel when the liquid cools off).

That’s it!

Guess what? Japanese women swear by it; they drink a glass of beverage spiked with agar-agar before their meals to lose a few pounds painlessly!

To read more on agar-agar:

List of articles,  click here.

or here. Or here.

To buy agar-agar online, click here


26 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Nadji says:

    J’ai les mêmes sachets d’agar-agar dans ma cuisine mais j’avoue que j’ai encore du mal à l’utiliser car je ne maitrise pas encore les quantités.
    Merci pour toutes ces infos.
    A très bientôt.

  2. Emil says:

    Hi Joumana is Agar-agar available in Beirut?

  3. meriem says:

    J’en avais acheté mais jamais utilisé!! Tu viens de m’apprendre plein de choses!!

  4. 5 Star Foodie says:

    How interesting! I didn’t know all these benefits of agar agar. I’ve used it lots for my molecular gastronomy experiments.

  5. Maria @ Scandifoodie says:

    This is great! I’ve always wanted to use agar agar, thanks for the informative post!

  6. Eve@CheapEthnicEatz says:

    I have agar in the kitchen, used mostly in verrines, vegan panna cotta and stuff. But easy weight loss…honey I will by a buket!

  7. Banana Wonder says:

    Cool! I had no idea about agar-agar … thanks for the tips!

  8. Sonia says:

    agar-agar is very common in my place here, usually we like to prepare as dessert like jelly!

  9. Rosa says:

    i use agar-agar, but not as often as gelatine. I am looking forward to seeing your posts about the Far East.



  10. Caffettiera says:

    I have the same brand as well! In Germany it is pretty easy to find: big supermarkets have it in the ‘oriental food’ department, and health food stores as well, but it is hugely overpriced; it is much better to source it from Asian ethnic shops.
    I don’t think I am going to use it for diet, but surely it is great as a substitute for gelatine, once you get used to how it works.

  11. Diane says:

    Interesting post, I am still trying to get rid of those extra pounds put on over December! Wonder where I can buy it here? Diane

  12. Ivy says:

    I have been reading about agar-agar but this is not something I can find easily. I have to look for it online so I shall check your links.

  13. Cristina says:

    Wow! I didn’t know agar-agar had all these benefits! I’ve been wanting to try it for some time, but the few shops that carry it sell it at a very high price. I’ll check Asian stores, or try on-line.
    Thanks for sharing!

  14. Simon says:

    I eat “kanten” desserts often. That and green tea have helped me lose 16 kilos in 6 months. Great appetite suppressant! I recommend it in milk mixture with bits of fresh fruit!

  15. Doc says:

    Everyone is Irish on St. Patty’s Day! Love the cookies and recipes. I eat agar whenever I am in Japan, it’s quite ubituitous over there, but I should use it a little more over here in my cooking. Great points and I love the health benefits & links. Well done!!

  16. Camille says:

    Very interesting! I haven’t worked with agar-agar very much, and I have learned some new things about it today. Thank you!

  17. Magic of Spice says:

    Wow what a great post…I never knew any of this about agar agar, will have to try 🙂

  18. Grapefruit says:

    I never knew all this! THanks so much for sharing. I guess I need to look up some agar agar!

  19. Dana says:

    I’ve uses agar agar in labs for years to grow bacteria and fungi samples on, I hadn’t thought of it for human consumption, but I guess it makes sense. It does appear on the ingredient list for a surprising number of things.

  20. Lentil Breakdown says:

    Wow, never even heard of it! This is fascinating! I like the idea of a vegan gelatin and losing weight at the same time.

  21. Tamar says:

    Plenty of agar agar in beirut specially in organic shops n tsc

  22. Marie says:

    Found it at my local coop here in New Orleans!

    • MANAS says:


      I read that you found the gundelia plant in a local coop in New Orleans. I live in New Orleans and I been searching for the plant, but cant find it. Can you please provide me with the name of the coop. Thanks in advance.

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