What is Monk Fruit?
If you have been on top of your ketogenic product game lately, then you have likely noticed that a lot of companies are starting to use monk fruit to sweeten their products. What’s up with monk fruit?
What is Monk Fruit?
Monk fruit has been used to sweeten foods and beverages in Asia for decades and is now becoming popular in the US since being recognized as safe by the FDA.
In fact, Monk fruit has already started to make its presence known by being using in several products at big companies such as Starbucks, Chobani and Dole .
Monk fruit can be prepared in a juice form where it is 15-20 times sweeter than sugar or in a concentrated powder form where it is 150-200 times sweeter than sugar. Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of monk fruit is that it is calorie free when consumed in the concentrated form (1)!
What are the Benefits of Monk Fruit?
One of the obvious benefits of Monk Fruit is its ability to sweeten food without containing sugar to spike glucose or insulin. However, Monk Fruit is not just popular because of its ability to sweeten food. It is also a powerful antioxidant and may play a role in reducing free radical damage and oxidative stress.
In fact, one study demonstrated that an active component found in monk fruit, known as mogrosides, reduced reactive oxygen species and DNA damage which could have a wide variety of beneficial health applications (2).
Here are some other reported benefits of monk fruit:
Is Monk Fruit the Real Deal?
You may be telling yourselves that this sounds too good to be true and that there is no way a product can be sweeter than sugar, calorie free, and healthy for you. It’s good to be skeptical.
The magic in monk fruit is that it is not made up of natural sugars. Instead, it contains those antioxidant mogrosides we mentioned earlier.
Mogroides are metabolized differently within the body compared to sugars which explains why they do not initiate a blood sugar or insulin response. These mogrosides are also what gives monk fruit its health benefits and antioxidant properties (3).
Monk fruit could serve a variety of purposes in our culture by replacing calorically dense and potentially harmful added sugars which are found in an abundance of foods typically consumed in our diet.
Additionally, small amounts of monk fruit can sweeten typically bitter or bland foods that are dense in micronutrients, making them easier to consume.
Since obesity and type II diabetes is a major health concern, any method that could reduce sugar intake for people suffering from these conditions could lead to widespread long-lasting benefits.
Lastly, for my fellow keto-lovers, monk fruit is keto-friendly and can be used to add flavor and sweetness to keto foods. Note that monk fruit is extremely concentrated so small amounts should be added at first to gauge your desired level of sweetness.
It is also important to note that not all monk fruit is created equal. Be sure to check the label to avoid added ingredients like sugar and molasses.
For a more in depth read on monk fruit, check out this awesome article from Perfect Keto.