monk fruit

Monk Fruit Sweeteners: Everything you need to know.

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.

In the next few minutes you will find out everything you need to know about monk fruit, and its health benefits and dangers.

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 the removal of seeds and skin of the fruit, then it is crushed and squeezed to release juice (monk fruit extract) and natural sugars like fructose and glucose. The juice is then collected and dried into a powder (sweetener) that has been separated from fructose and glucose. As a result, this is a zero calorie 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, 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.

So, comparing white sugar and brown sugar to monk fruit sweetener that has zero calories, zero carbs and fat generates an impressive advantage. If you think about it, how many teas or coffees do you can drink per day? Or the amount of spoon full of sugars you take with them? These can accumulate to a great amount of calories. So, whilst understanding that the main driver of weight loss is a caloric deficit then consuming this sweetener can certainly help to remain within it.

2. Antioxidant properties

Monk Fruit contains 30% or more of mogroside V which is a powerful antioxidant that inhibits harmful molecules and prevent damage by DNA (Brown, 2019). The harmful molecules are found in the air and are normally referred to as free radicals. If our body accumulates the levels of free radicals, then it can affect our ability to lose weight (Liu et al, 2018). A 2007 study found that the mogroside antioxidants found in Monk fruit effectively reduced the level of the toxins thus enabling better weight loss (Chen et al, 2007).

3. Anti-inflammatory effects

Inflammation is one of the major causes of a variety of health problems.  So, consuming something that may reduce inflammation or the risks of it can certainly improve the overall health of your body.  There are different bacteria or factors that may cause inflammation, with one of them being Lipopolysaccharide (LPS). LPS is a negative bacteria that can induce inflammation, and with that said, there was a study done in 2011 that looked into the anti-inflammatory properties of Mogrosides which is an antioxidant found in Monk fruit. The study reported that Monk extract inhibited inflammation (Rong et al, 2011).

4. Anti-cancer properties

There was a study that looked into the cancer properties of mogrosides found in monk fruit. The study found that these antioxidants managed to inhibit cell mutations that lead to skin cancer, breast cancer and  leukaemia in animals (Takasaki et al, 2003).

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 (Jaeschke  and Bajt, 2006). More studies are required, but the current results are certainly showing preventative effects on cancer cells.

5. May help people with diabetes

Okay, so we previously mentioned that the monk fruit sweetener has no calories and no carbohydrates. This means that it will not raise your blood sugar levels thus making it a save sugar alternative 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 (Xiangyang et al, 2006). 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 unless you reside near the areas that monk fruit is grows, like China and Thailand. It is a very difficult fruit to harvest and grow and it is difficult to process and export thus the prices are fairly expensive. 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. According to healthline.com the following could be a sign of an allergic reaction:

  • Hives or rash
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Dizziness
  • Swollen Tongue
  • Stomach pains

Are Monk Fruit sweeteners safe?

Every ingredient or a 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 recognised 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 its 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 to 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!

Common Questions

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 a sugar alcohol?

The sweetener that’s created from the monk fruit extract is not a sugar alcohol. However, normally this sweetener also contains erythritol which is a sugar alcohol. So, this means that the sweetener might contain it, but its 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.

Conclusion

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 previous 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!

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References

Brown, M. (2019). Monk Fruit Sweetener: Good or Bad?. [online] Healthline. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/monk-fruit-sweetener#bottom-line [Accessed 30 Dec. 2019].

Chen, W., Wang, J., Xy, Q. and Xie, B. (2007). The antioxidant activities of natural sweeteners, mogrosides, from fruits of Siraitia grosvenori. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17852496 [Accessed 30 Dec. 2019].

Jaeschke, H. and Bajt, M. (2006). Intracellular Signalling Mechanisms of Acetaminophen-Induced Liver Cell Death. [online] Available at: https://academic.oup.com/toxsci/article/89/1/31/1663539 [Accessed 30 Dec. 2019].

Liu, C., Dai, L., Liu, Y., Dou, D., Sun, Y. and Ma, L. (2018). Pharmacological activities of mogrosides | Future Medicinal Chemistry. [online] Future-science.com. Available at: https://www.future-science.com/doi/10.4155/fmc-2017-0255?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori%3Arid%3Acrossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub%3Dwww.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov& [Accessed 30 Dec. 2019].

Nutritionix.com. (2019). {{MetaTags.title || ‘Nutritionix’}}. [online] Available at: https://www.nutritionix.com/food/white-sugar/1-tbsp [Accessed 30 Dec. 2019].

Olsen, N. (2018). Monk fruit vs. stevia: Which is the best natural sweetener?. [online] Medical News Today. Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322769.php#stevia [Accessed 30 Dec. 2019].

Rong, D., Mou-Tuan, H. and Chi-tang, H. (2011). Anti-inflammatory Activities of Mogrosides from Momordica grosvenori in Murine Macrophages and a Murine Ear Edema Model. [online] Pubs.acs.org. Available at: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf201207m [Accessed 30 Dec. 2019].

sante, c. (2018). Low FODMAP Sweeteners. [online] casa de sante. Available at: https://casadesante.com/blogs/low-fodmap-life/low-fodmap-sweeteners [Accessed 30 Dec. 2019].

Takasaki, M., Konoshima, T., Murata, Y., Sagiura, M., Nishino, H., Tokuda, H., Matsumoto, K., Kasai, R. and Yamasaki, K. (2003). Anticarcinogenic activity of natural sweeteners, cucurbitane glycosides, from Momordica grosvenori. [online] Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0304383503002854 [Accessed 30 Dec. 2019].

Think Eat Save. (2019). Best Monk Fruit Sweetener Reviews. [online] Available at: https://thinkeatsave.org/best-monk-fruit-sweetener-reviews/ [Accessed 30 Dec. 2019].

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2019). Additional Information about High-Intensity Sweeteners. [online] Available at: https://www.fda.gov/food/food-additives-petitions/additional-information-about-high-intensity-sweeteners-permitted-use-food-united-states [Accessed 30 Dec. 2019].

Xiangyang, Q., Weijun, C., Liegang, L., Ping, Y. and Bijun, X. (2006). Effect of a Siraitia grosvenori extract containing mogrosides on the cellular immune system of type 1 diabetes mellitus mice. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16835866 [Accessed 30 Dec. 2019].

XY, Q., Chen, W., Zhang, L. and Xie, B. (2008). Mogrosides extract from Siraitia grosvenori scavenges free radicals in vitro and lowers oxidative stress, serum glucose, and lipid levels in alloxa… – PubMed – NCBI.

Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19083420 [Accessed 30 Dec. 2019].

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