The temptation to eat sweets is the most difficult thing to navigate in the journey of staying fit and healthy. Occasional indulgence in social gatherings is deemed okay as far as optimal health is concerned but imagine you are having three cups of coffee and every time you add sugar in it. You have it every single day for thirty days without knowing that you are adding 90 teaspoons of sugar to your usual food regime. Plus, if you have sweet tooth, we can add 20 spoons of sugar to it. Too much sweet is it not? We don’t say do not eat sweets, we say eat it in such a way that it does not hurt the body. Is that even possible? Well, yes, it is. You can use natural sweeteners in the place of sugars and voila! Monk fruit sweetener is one such sweetener that we will be knowing about in this article.
What is a Monk Fruit Sweetener?
Monk fruit is a melon like fruit that is native to Southern China, it is called as Lo Han Guo, a small melon named after the Chinese monks who cultivated the fruit ages ago on the misty mountains of Guilin for its sweetness and healing capacity. It is also found in Northern Thailand. Mogroside, the extract of the fruit is the main reason why this fruit is cultivated. This extract creates sweetness that is 250 times more than sucrose. Mogroside extract is a low-calorie sweetener following the tradition of its usage in Chinese Medicine for centuries as cold and digestive aid.
It is named as Siraitia Grosvenorii after the president of National Geographic Society, Gilbert Hovey Grosvenor helped to gather funds for national expedition to find the plant in Native land in China where it was being cultivated. ( Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siraitia_grosvenorii)
How does monk fruit look like and can it be used fresh?
Monk fruit looks round and greenish fruit that has brittle shell with hairy covering.
It is not possible to use fresh monk fruit as it is difficult to store and transport it without fermenting. It is usually dried till gets dark brown. It is brewed into a tea to treat cough and cold symptoms. It is very effective in curing sore throat in the “Traditional Chinese Medicine”
Due to its healing properties, it is known as the “Longevity Fruit” worldwide.
Is Monk Fruit an artificial sweetener?
Monk fruit is deemed as a natural sweetener as it is made from the extract that is derived from the fruit. Having said that it may be added with dextrose to balance the sweetness.
Is Monkfruit Safe as a sweetener?
Monk fruit sweetener is classified as Generally Recognized As Safe ( GRAS) by the U.S Food and Drug Administration ( FDA).
Is Monk Fruit Good For You?
Natural Sweeteners are the go-to inclusions in our food as they do not have underlying concerns of artificial ingredients. Monk fruit is 250 times sweeter than any other sweetener available and also has some healing properties.
Does Monk Fruit Sweetener Raise Insulin?
The natural compound Mogrosides gives all its sweetness to the Monk Fruit that does not increase blood sugar levels after consumption. It is said to be safe for diabetic people. But one must be very cautious over here. You may get drinks that have added sugar apart from Monk Fruit Sweetener. So, keep an eye on what goes in your beverages.
Is Monk Fruit Sweetener Good for Weight loss?
The monk fruit extract is calorie free, carb free, sodium free and it is by fast the most popular sweetener alternative for the companies who are into low carb low calorie products. Though weight loss is all about energy balance equation, consuming less sugar than usual is always a welcome change. That may also reduce the overall calorie intake creating a calorie deficit. The calorie deficit may promote weight loss. So, there may or may not be the direct correlation of consuming Monk Fruit Sweetener on weight loss.
Does Monk Fruit Have Anti Inflammatory Property?
Monk fruit at first was regarded in The Chinese Medicine practices and hence the Chinese monks cultivated it in Southern China. As per a study conducted in 2011, it is said that the monk fruit extract is used to make hot drinks in Chinese medicine which alleviated the symptoms of sore throat and phlegm. The mogrosides that are available in the extract are anti-inflammatory. They also help keeping the blood sugar level balanced.
It is also said that Mogrosides reduce oxidative stress which prevents many diseases including cancer. A 2013 study points to the potential of Monk Fruit in reducing oxidative stress.
What are the side effects of the monk fruit sweeteners?
Let us first understand that if offered in pure form Monk fruit sweeteners are natural but when they are manufactured in a commercial facility there might be some additives such as Erythritol, sugar alcohol, dextrose and so on. These additives are artificial for sure. As such the pure form of Monk Fruit Sweetener may not cause any digestive issue or problems to the gut, these additives are known to cause these symptoms after prolonged usage.
Is it safe to use Monk Fruit Sweetener on everyday basis?
The answer is, well, there has not been any substantial research conducted on the regular consumption of Monk Fruit Sweetener yet, so it is difficult to deduce that it is safe or unsafe to consume monk fruit sweetener every day. The labels on the Monk Fruit sweetener need to be studied before buying it from the store to avoid addition of any additive or bulking agent as mentioned above.
Does Monkfruit Sweetener Cause Digestive Issues?
Monk fruit extract per se may not cause digestive issues. Sometimes the additives that are used in the processing of Monk Fruit extract may result in digestive issues.
Monk Fruit Sweetener or Stevia which one is better?
Those who want to opt for low calorie sweetener can use both but here is a simple comparison between the two.
The monk fruit sweetener is hard to find in stores as against stevia that is widely available now.
There are no clear studies mentioning about the digestive issues caused by the monk fruit sweetener yet. But stevia has a little patchy history when it comes to the digestive issues caused specially nausea, vomiting and gas.
Stevia has a bitter after taste which may fade after you get used to it.
Monk fruit sweetener also has an aftertaste that is difficult to get accustomed to.
Both the sweeteners are costlier than sugar.
Using an artificial sweetener regularly is not recommended. It is always better to
reduce overall sugar intake in your diet. Here is how you can go no sugar.