What is Monk Fruit?

What is Monk Fruit?

Monk fruit has a long history of minimal use, but its attributes, benefits, and taste now attract concourses of people. It is now recognized on store shelves for its low calorie, sweet taste that comes without a rise in blood sugar. 

Monk fruit sweetener is about 100 times sweeter than sugar, but it has zero calories. Recently, it has been used for baking and cooking and is an alternative to regular sugar. It is very popular for people with diabetes, or those who want to cut regular sugar out of their diet. 

Each of these attributes has contributed to its popularity, as well as a few additional benefits and facts that we will talk about throughout this article. 

History of the Fruit

Monk fruit, known in China as Luo Han Guo, is a fruit that is grown in remote areas of China and Thailand. It has been around for centuries, and it is said to have been given its name because of the Buddhist monks who first grew and harvested the small melon. While it used to only be grown on small farms, today it is becoming more and more widely available. (Source)

Throughout the centuries, the fruit has been used for medicine, alleviating cold and flu-like symptoms. It can be found fresh in Chinese markets where it is grown, but it is predominantly found dried. The fruit spoils and ferments very quickly; therefore, if fresh, it must be eaten immediately after harvesting or made into pulp and drunk as a juice. It has often been used in Chinese recipes and teas and is part of Chinese New Year celebrations.

The fruit does not normally grow in the wild, and while other countries have tried to cultivate it, it has not been very successful. Today it has become more widely available and popular. 

Monk Fruit in Today’s Society 

While in the past it has been used as medicine and juice, today it has become popular in society as a natural low-calorie, low-carb, keto sweetener. As you walk through the isles of popular grocery stores, you can find a variety of Monk fruit sweetener brands. It has also become popular to mix the sweetener with other replacement sugars like erythritol, allulose, and stevia. 

The benefits of Monk fruit have made it most popular with people who are trying to lose weight or control their blood sugar level. Many studies have taken place on other replacement sugars, but since Monk fruit is still so new, few studies have been done on its effects to determine if it actually helps with weight loss. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classified the Monk fruit replacement sugar as Generally recognized As Safe (GRAS) in 2010, but they are still encouraging consumers to report any adverse effects. 

Today, you can use Monk fruit as a sweetener, and the following benefits and attributes of it is why new people try it every day.

Benefits and Attributes of Monk Fruit

Monk fruit gets its sweet flavor from its natural compounds, which mainly consist of a substance called mogrosides. As mentioned, mogrosides are 100 times sweeter than sucrose which is the natural component of regular sugar. Because of their intense sweet flavors, they are popularly used in beverages. 

In order toto make monk fruit sweetener, manufacturers crush the monk fruit, extract its juice and then extract its mogroside from the juice.” (Source)

An additional benefit of monk fruit is that it is naturally rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are normally found in plant foods and help to protect your cells against “free radical scavengers.” Free radicals are “unstable molecules that the body produces as a reaction to environmental and other pressures” (Source). Antioxidants could help to prevent cancer and improve your eyesight and heart health. 

In addition to being rich in antioxidants, monk fruit sugar also has a significant reduction in calories that metabolizes differently than regular sugar. Because of this, it does not raise blood sugar levels and helps to improve glycemic control. It also has anti-inflammatory effects and helps combat cavities in your teeth.

Most other sweeteners often cause gas and bloating, but for monk fruit, there seems to be none of these side effects, meaning that according to some, the benefits outweigh any cons.

These benefits all play into why monk fruit sweetener has become so popular today, so let’s look at how you can use monk fruit sweetener.  

The Uses of Monk Fruit 

As a sweeter, Monk fruit can be used for a variety of recipes. It can also be added to almost anything to sweeten it up. You can use it for simple things like sprinkling it in your coffee or tea or adding it to a berry mixture to add additional flavor. Remember that pure monk fruit extract is 300 times sweeter than sugar. For just the right amount of sweetness we recommend using a monk fruit blend. Check out our monk fruit blends here. They can be used as 1:1 sugar replacements!

Monk fruit sweetener blends have become part of many low-carb, keto, and low-calories baking recipes. For example, check out what this recipe from Real Balanced for Keto Chocolate Sea Salt Cookies calls for:  (you can find all the baking instructions and full recipe here.)

½ c + 1tbsp of coconut oil 

3 eggs 

1 tsp vanilla extract 

½ cup monk fruit erythritol sweetener blend

¼ unsweetened cocoa powder 

1 tsp baking powder 

¼ tsp salt 

½ c coconut flour 

½ tsp xanthan gum 

sea salt 

This recipe, and so many others like it have become so popular on the web. People are constantly trying out new recipes and finding new uses for alternative sweeteners to become more popular in today’s society. A simple search can reap many results and you can be making this healthy alternative sweetener in no time at all.

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