What Is Monk Fruit?
These days, finding a healthy alternative to sugar is important to many of us. Perhaps you have heard about the benefits of monk fruit extract but aren’t exactly sure what it is. Let’s clear up some of the confusion.
Monk fruit sweetener is a type of fruit sugar. It’s made from a small melon that is native to Thailand and China. In these regions, it is also referred to as luo han guo by the locals. It has long been revered for its taste as well as for its reported healing benefits.
Monk fruit received its name from Buddhist monks who discovered its gourds around the 13th century. The monks soon realized it could be used as what would become a traditional Chinese medicine. It was only later when it would also become a sugar substitute.
How Is Monk Fruit Sweetener Made?
Making monk fruit sweetener is not quite as simple as one might think. Monk fruit in its freshest form is unusual to find, due to how difficult it is to store and package. This is because monk fruit ferments quickly and turns rancid almost immediately afterwards.
As a result, monk fruit is often dried and put into various forms using the fruit extract. It is then intermixed with ingredients like dextrose in order to harmonize any overpowering sweetness. Still, the essence of it is derived from nature, rather than in a laboratory.
There are many forms of monk fruit that can be found. The following are just a few examples of what you can look for:
- Monk Fruit in the Raw
- Monk Fruit Extract Powder
- Monk Fruit Liquid Sweetener
- Monk Fruit Drops
- Medicinal Teas
Is Monk Fruit Sugar Healthy?
Even though monk sugar is 150 to 200 times sweeter than ordinary sugar, that doesn’t mean it is unhealthy. Quite the opposite. You can actually use very little of it to satisfy your sugar cravings. It has even been deemed safe to use for diabetics.
According to the International Food Information Council Foundation, the 2018 American Diabetes Association Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes stated that, “The use of nonnutritive sweeteners may have the potential to reduce overall calorie and carbohydrate intake if substituted for caloric (sugar) sweeteners and without compensation by intake of additional calories from other food sources. Nonnutritive sweeteners are generally safe to use within the defined acceptable daily intake levels.”
This is not only great news for people with diabetes, but it is also great news for anyone concerned about their health. Because monk fruit was first used for medicinal purposes, it is believed to have numerous health benefits. Some of these benefits include:
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Chemicals that deter cell membranes from excessively leaking
- Anti-cancer agents that reduce disease risk
- Improved fat metabolism
- DNA repair that increases protective genes
- Potent antioxidants that fight illnesses
- The ability to combat obesity
- Potential decreased risk of diabetes
On top of all of these health benefits, you don’t need to worry about your caloric intake, either. A lot of times you can expect to find a large number of calories in fruit. Not with monk fruit, though. It has zero calories, so you don’t need to worry about your waistline while you enjoy it.
Monk Fruit vs. Sugar
Although both monk fruit and sugar are sweeteners, there are some key differences between them.
- Sugar can be dangerous for your health. In addition to the impact it can have on weight gain, it is also known to rot teeth, cause kidney stones, deteriorate your liver, and increase the risk of developing heart disease.
- Monk fruit is free from any known health risks. It has been used for centuries without any issues. No side effects have been reported, and rather than it being harmful to your health, it is actually known to impact it positively.
How Is Monk Fruit Used?
Monk fruit powder can be added to beverages such as coffee when you are looking for a bit of sweetener. You might have already tried it without even having to seek it out. This is because it is already readily used in some of your favorite products.
Where is monk fruit used?
- Coffe-chaindoubleshot coffee
- Coffee and Smoothie chain rotein beverages
- Various grocery brand yogurts
- Pre-packaged Fruit bowls
- Plus, Many More
Benefits of Monk Fruit
Lakanto monk fruit is known for its many health benefits. Not only is monk fruit sugar an excellent low-calorie sweetener choice, but it is also a traditional medicine that is used to alleviate sore throats and clear phlegm. It is also believed to be an anti-inflammatory agent that can lessen the risk of cancer and stabilize blood sugar levels.
Monk Fruit for Weight Loss
There are obvious benefits that monk fruit can lend to weight loss due to its ability to replace sugar. That is not the only weight loss benefit, though. In addition to being a low-calorie alternative, it can also help with cravings.
Because you are not consuming actual sugar, your body is less likely to be triggered by cravings for sweets that do contain sugar. This subtle replacement in your diet can have a positive impact on your lifestyle choices.
Monk Fruit for Diabetes
When it comes to diabetes, monk fruit is really becoming a superhero ingredient. In addition to the decreased risk of diabetes that the average healthy person will enjoy, it is bettering the lives of those already afflicted with the disease, as well. Monk fruit is making it possible for people with diabetes to enjoy the sugary sweetness others can enjoy, without any of the riks to their glucose levels.
Antioxidants are incredibly important. They help the body ward off disease by protecting the cells from potential damage that can be caused by free radicals. This decreases your chances of becoming ill with things as common as colds or severe as cancer.
Monks first used monk fruit strictly for its antioxidant effects, rather than for its ability to act as a sweetener. They used it to keep their bodies physically healthy and cleansed. Monk fruit remains a traditional Chinese medicine to this day.
Other Potential Benefits
The potential positive benefits of monk fruit are still being discovered. Just knowing that it contains anti-cancer agents, chemicals that protect cell membranes, improved fat metabolism, DNA repair properties, and can help fight obesity, make it an excellent ingredient to turn to.
Can Monk Fruit Be Bad for You?
This is going to come as a big surprise, but monk fruit does not have any known side effects or potentially dangerous health ramifications. Most other sweeteners come with a laundry list of issues, including things like allergic reactions, gas, bloating, and more.
Monk fruit is not like those other sweeteners, though. Rather than being manufactured in a laboratory, it is found in nature. It is not being pumped with harmful chemicals that our bodies could have an adverse reaction to.
The health benefits of monk fruit make it an appealing ingredient to incorporate into your lifestyle. It is not difficult to find either. If you are wondering where to buy monk fruit, it is available at major online retailers, as well as local health food stores. Maybe it’s time to give it a try so that you can find out for yourself what all of the fuss is about.