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10 Benefits of Monk Fruit Sweetener

There’s no denying it—Americans have a sugar problem. According to the University of California San Francisco, the average American consumes up to 17 teaspoons of added sugar every day (1). That’s a whopping 57 pounds of added sugar per person every year.

Concerns about sugar consumption have prompted more consumers to look for natural and artificial sugar substitutes with fewer calories. In fact, the global artificial sweetener market is expected to hit revenue numbers of over $13 million by 2023 (2).

And while many people have grown familiar with sweeteners like aspartame and stevia, natural monk fruit sweetener is growing in popularity as a safe and healthy sugar alternative.

What Is Monk Fruit?

“Monk fruit is also called luo han guo or swingle,” says Vanessa Rissetto, a registered dietitian based in New York City. “It looks like a small gourd, and it grows on a vine.”

Monk fruit is native to Southeast Asia, including parts of China and Thailand, adds Rissetto.

Monk fruit sweetener is produced by a simple process of crushing the fruit, says Lainey Younkin, a Boston-based registered dietitian and founder of Lainey Younkin Nutrition.

“The seeds and skin of the fruit are removed and then crushed to collect the juice, which is then dried into a powder,” she says. “It can be blended with dextrose or other ingredients to balance out the sweetness.”

Younkin adds that monk fruit sweetener is 150-200 times sweeter than sugar, so only a small amount is needed to sweeten drinks and food products.

10 Benefits of Monk Fruit Sweetener

Monk fruit sweetener contains zero calories, zero carbohydrates, zero sodium, and zero fat, says Rissetto, which means it is a healthier alternative to traditional sugar.

According to a 2009 study, monk fruit extract has the potential to be a low-glycemic natural sweetener, making it an good option for diabetic individuals (3).

“One main benefit of using pure monk fruit extract is that is does not have an impact on blood sugar levels,” says Kimberly Rose, a registered dietitian, nutritionist, and certified diabetes educator. “In animal studies, monk fruit has the potential to lower blood sugar levels. This is a big win for the diabetic population or people who may suffer from medical conditions which cause high blood sugar.”

Additionally, says Rissetto, monk fruit sweetener can:

  • Fight free radicals
  • Lower the risk of obesity and diabetes
  • Act as an anti-inflammatory
  • Combat infections
  • Fight fatigue
  • Work as a natural antihistamine

Monk fruit sweetener is also safe for kids, pregnant women, and breast-feeding women, she adds.

Younkin explains that the FDA designates monk fruit sweetener as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). “Similar to many sweeteners, long-term research is lacking,” she adds, “but there are currently no risks to consuming it.”

Ways to Use Monk Fruit Sweetener

Like many other sugar substitutes, monk fruit sweetener can be used in a variety of ways. “Monk fruit sweetener comes in liquid, granule, and powder form and can be mixed into drinks like coffee and tea,” says Younkin. “You can also bake with monk fruit sweetener instead of sugar.”

When baking with monk fruit sugar or monk fruit sweetener, Rose explains that the recipe may need to be altered because of the product’s sweetness and because it does not bake as well as regular table sugar.

Rissetto says that monk fruit sweetener does have a slight aftertaste and that people should start with small amounts when adding it to food or beverages. “It does have a slight aftertaste, but I found it more pleasant than some other sweeteners I’ve tried,” she says. “It’s relatively quick dissolving and one packet made a cup of coffee overly sweet by my standards.”

Overnight Oats with Monk Fruit Sweetener Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon monk fruit
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch black pepper
  • ½ cup coconut milk

INSTRUCTIONS:

In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (from the oats to the black pepper) until combined. Add in the coconut milk and mix well. Place the mixture in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight. In the morning, add on whatever toppings you desire (or don’t!) and enjoy.

Monk Fruit vs. Stevia

Both monk fruit and stevia are calorie-free, natural sweeteners that are derived from plants, but they do have a couple of key differences.

For one, says Rissetto, stevia is about twice as sweet as monk fruit.

Additionally, stevia comes from the Asteraceae plant family, which includes plants such as sunflowers, chrysanthemums, and ragweed. Some people have allergies to this plant family, and therefore, may have allergic reactions to stevia. Those with allergies to stevia may want to consider monk fruit sweetener as an alternative.

It’s important to keep in mind that while glycosides of stevia (found in readily available stevia sugar substitutes) have been approved for safe consumption and use by the FDA, whole-leaf stevia or crude stevia extracts have not been labeled as GRAS by the FDA.

Both monk fruit sweetener and stevia are considered safe to use, and the decision to use one over the comes down to taste preference, price, and availability. Stevia is more readily available at grocery stores than monk fruit sweetener.

How to Choose a Monk Fruit Sweetener

While there are no certifications or labels pertaining to regulations or quality standards for monk fruit sweetener, consumers who are looking for pure monk fruit sweetener should carefully read product labels and look for specific ingredients.

“When buying monk fruit extract, it is best to look for the words ‘Siraitia grosvenorri’ or ‘luo han guo,’ which you will more commonly find on the food packaging label,” says Rose.

Younkin adds that some monk fruit extract or sweeteners are mixed with dextrose in order to cut the sweetness. Both pure monk fruit sweetener and those products mixed with dextrose are considered safe, but consumers should review the ingredient label closely to ensure they understand what is in the product.

Where to Buy Monk Fruit Sweetener

If you are searching for monk fruit sweetener or extract, you may need to visit a natural health food store or a Chinese supermarket, says Rissetto.

Although the product is becoming more popular, it may still be difficult to find on traditional grocery store shelves.

You can also purchase monk fruit sweetener in granular, powder, or liquid forms right here at LuckyVitamin.

Here’s what LuckyVitamin customers are saying in monk fruit sweetener reviews:

“This sweetener is amazing. I use it in everything that I cook that requires sugar… also used it in my coleslaw dressing. You cannot tell it is not real sugar, no aftertaste.” – Darrell

Product: Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener

“I use it every day in my coffee and tea as it is the only sweetener I have found that tastes just like sugar and leaves no aftertaste. Keto friendly too.” – Jennifer

Product: Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener

“I was so impressed with the ‘classic’ Monk fruit sweetener that I had to try the ‘Golden’ version and am I glad I did! I wanted to make low-carb peanut butter cookies and this made them so much more like the ‘real thing’ I was used to. It is fantastic!” – Danielle

Product: Lakanto Monkfruit Golden Sweetener

Have you tried using monk fruit in place of sugar? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!

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The products and the claims made about specific products on or through this site have not been evaluated by LuckyVitamin.com or the United States Food and Drug Administration and are not approved to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. The information provided on this site is created by journalists and wellness experts for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem.