The agar agar diet is very popular in Asia. Agar agar, otherwise known as kanten, is a gelatinous thickener made from seaweed. The principle behind the diet is that kanten swells in the stomach as it absorbs water, making you feel full. So, eating a bowl of food prepared with agar agar before each meal prevents you from overeating.

What is Agar Agar?
Agar agar is sold in strips of dried seaweed (red algae) or as a powder. It's most commonly used in making jelly. But it's also used in desserts, custards, as a thickener for soups, and as a clarifying agent in brewing.

Health Benefits
Agar agar is flavorless and odorless. It has no calories, no carbohydrates, no sugar and no fat, and is 80-percent fiber. It absorbs glucose in the stomach, passes through the digestive system quickly and inhibits the body from retaining and storing excess fat. Its water absorbing properties also aids in waste elimination.

Agar agar absorbs bile, and by doing so, causes the body to dissolve more cholesterol.

So, a diet that includes regular consumption of agar agar will improve digestion and waste elimination, reduce cholesterol and help you feel full, which will help you lose unwanted weight.

Cooking with Agar Agar
To make a basic kanten gelatin, bring about 7 ounces of water to boil. While stirring, slowly mix in 2 grams of kanten, a little at a time. Simmer up to two minutes, stirring constantly. Pour into a heat-resistant container, add fruit or seasoning to taste and allow to cool. Refrigerate until set. Agar agar can also be added to any basic pudding mix.