Natural and artificial sweeteners are becoming more popular as people increasingly avoid sugars. The past decades have certainly been a learning curve for everyone as the dangers and side effects of sugars are surfacing.
Generally speaking this sweetener has been recognised as safe by GRAS and FDA.
In the next few minutes you will find out everything you need to know about monk fruit, and its health benefits and side effects.
What is Monk Fruit Sweetener and where does it come from?
Monk fruit, also known as Siraitia Grosvenori or Luo Han Guo, is a green, round, and melon-looking fruit that’s native to China and Thailand.
The monk fruit sweetener is created by removing the seeds and skin of the fruit. Then it is crushed and squeezed to release juice and natural sugars like fructose and glucose. This is what’s known as the monk fruit extract. The juice is then collected and dried into a powder that has been separated from fructose and glucose. Since it’s been separated from fructose and glucose, it is a calorie-free sweetener. This powder is later sold in shops and supermarkets as a natural sweetener.
The monk fruit extract has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, and according to the food and drug administration (FDA) the sweetness of the monk fruit relies on the content of antioxidants called mogrosides. This sugar substitute is classed as a high-intensity sweetener as it is 100-250 times sweeter than table sugar.
Health Benefits of Monk Fruit Sweetener
1. Promotes Weight Loss
Monk fruit sweetener is zero calories, with no carbs or fats which makes it perfect for lowering your total daily calories. According to nutrionix database, 1 teaspoon (13g) of white sugar contains 49 calories, no fat but 13g of carbohydrates. Also, a teaspoon of brown sugar contains 11 calories, no fat but 2.9g of carbohydrate. Whereas, the natural sweetener doesn’t contain any nutrients nor calories.
2. Antioxidant properties
Monk Fruit contains 30 percent or more of mogroside V, a powerful antioxidant that inhibits harmful molecules and prevents DNA damage . The harmful molecules are found in the air, and If our body accumulates these toxins, then we can experience a number of problems. One of which is the inability to lose weight.
antioxidants found in Monk fruit effectively reduced the level of the toxins thus enabling better weight loss.
3. Anti-inflammatory effects
Inflammation is one of the major causes of a variety of health problems, and different bacteria or factors may cause inflammation. For instance, Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is a negative bacteria that can induce inflammation.
Moreover, a 2011 study looked into the anti-inflammatory properties of Mogrosides which is an antioxidant found in Monk fruit. The study reported that Monk extract inhibited inflammation.
4. Anti-cancer properties
There was a study that looked into the cancer properties of mogrosides found in this fruit. The study found that these antioxidants managed to inhibit cell mutations that lead to skin cancer, breast cancer, and leukemia in animals.
Another study that looked into the link between monk fruit and cancer properties found that the mogrosides managed to slow down the process of normal cell changes and the formation of cancerous cells.
5. May help people with diabetes
Okay, so we previously mentioned that the sweetener has no calories and no carbohydrates. This means that it will not raise your blood sugar levels the same as ordinary sugar does. This makes it safe for people with diabetes.
There was a study in 2006 that found the consumption of monk fruit extract not only reduces blood sugar levels but also increases HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). The authors of the study presume that the diabetes-friendly effects come from the antioxidants mogrosides.
Another study found that these antioxidants may also reduce symptoms and complications that are generally caused by diabetes. Some of the complications caused by diabetes include hyperglycaemia, oxidative stress, and hyperlipidaemia.
Disadvantages, Dangers and Side effects
Monk fruit is very difficult to find and it’s quite pricey because it’s difficult to harvest and grow. You may be able to find monk fruit in local health shops or Asian markets and shops. Potentially, have a look into Holland and Barrett, iHerb, and Biovea.
It is also important to know that if you have any allergic reactions to fruit and vegetables like melon, cucumber, squash, or pumpkin then you might experience an allergic reaction against monk fruit. This is because monk fruit is part of the Curcurbitaceae family. Some allergy symptoms include:
- Hives or rash
- Breathing difficulties
- Swollen Tongue
- Stomach pains
Are Monk Fruit sweeteners safe?
Every ingredient or product that is being introduced into the market has to be approved by an entity of experts who thoroughly examine it. In 2010, the FDA permitted monk fruit sweeteners and generally recognized it as safe (GRAS), and it has been deemed to be safe for children, mothers (pregnant or breastfeeding), and people with diabetes.
The best Monk fruit Sweetener
1. The highest-rated monk fruit sweetener is Lakanto Monk fruit Sweetener. This is a natural sweetener that’s also non-GMO, and suitable for diabetics, vegans, and people on a Paleo diet. This sweetener is a little more delicate than other brands, as it’s been said it tastes like table sugar. The only drawbacks of this product are that it may contain more erythritol and you might use more spoonfuls to get the sweet taste. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that’s used as an additive and substitute for sugar.
We have actually partnered up with iHerb to provide you with a discount! You can purchase the product using the link below and at checkout, enter our discount code to get 5% OFF your order! – BCJ6964
2. Anthony’s Erythritol Granules is a natural sweetener that’s also GMO-free, gluten-free and suitable for baking, and friendly to your blood sugar levels. However, people have reported that this sweetener is not as sweet as they believed it should be, and some people have experienced an upset stomach. It is fair to say that due to the intensity and heavy processing of monk fruit to get the desired extract powder, it can be quite irritating for the digestive tract. So, try it but if you experience any uncomfortable side effects like cramping, gas or bloating, then it might be better to find a different alternative.
You can find this sweetener below!
Is monk fruit low FODMAP?
According to Staci Gulbin, a certified dietician, monk fruit sugar is low FODMAP fruit which makes it safe for people with digestive issues like Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBS).
Is monk fruit keto friendly?
As mentioned earlier, monk fruit sweetener contains no calories, no carbs and no fats which makes it perfect for a keto diet.
Is monk fruit sugar alcohol?
The sweetener that’s created from the monk fruit extract is not sugar alcohol. However, normally this sweetener also contains erythritol which is a sugar alcohol. So, this means that the sweetener might contain it, but it’s best to check the packaging.
Is monk fruit safe for diabetes?
Yes, during processing and converting the fruit into the powder form that is sold as the sweetener, the fructose and glucose are both separated from the powder form. This means that the sweetener itself does not contain these sugars.
In conclusion, monk fruit is a great sugar alternative that not only provides antioxidants and plenty of health benefits but its also friendly for people with diabetes, pregnant women, and children. This natural sweetener can cause some uncomfortable side effects but overall it is safe to consume. Sadly, there has been no safe dosage identified for this product simply because participants in the previously mentioned studies did not experience any major side effects. But, we all respond differently so check it out and see what you think!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this article and let us know which product you’re going to use and if you experience any side effects! We’d like to know! Also, sign up to our newsletter below to download 6 free fat loss recipes and 20 nutrition and exercise tips!