Tasteless Fad

[an error occurred while processing this directive] It may be one of the more unlikely food crazes of recent times, but agar-agar (the flavorless, seaweed-based thickener used in soups and jellies) is hip — at least in Japan, where it is known as kanten. The reason? It has no calories, is rich in dietary fiber and fills you up quickly, so that you're inclined to eat less. That makes it a perfect fit for today's slimming-obsessed consumer.

"Kanten is filled with soluble fiber ... and significantly slows down digestion," explains Jacqueline Marcus, associate professor of culinary nutrition at Kendall College, Chicago. All...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!