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Should You Be Using Monk Fruit Sweetener?

Monk Fruit is 300 times sweeter than sugar but is it safe to consume?

Monk fruit is a sweet fruit that grows on vines. It is native to Thailand and China. This fruit naturally has some astringent and sulfur flavors and so is often not eaten fresh but rather requires drying and processing to extract the sweetener.

The sugars extracted from this fruit are popular because of how sweet the extract is. It is 300 times sweeter than sugar and is significantly lower in calories than the same amount of sugar would be to produce the same amount of sweetness. There are only 2 calories in each teaspoon of the sweetener. Monk fruit has been popular as a low-calorie beverage sweetener in China for years and has just started to show up in beverages and foods in the U.S. However, in Europe Monk Fruit has still not been approved for consumption. Monk Fruit is also very popular in Chinese medicine.

Health Benefits

Monk fruit may also have antioxidant factors that could prevent the development of free radicals and potentially even cancer. A research article in the November 2007 International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition, found that there were antioxidant activities happening with the natural sweeteners found in the fruit. The mogrosides found in Monk Fruit were inhibiting DNA damage and scavenging for free radicals.

Free radicals are3otect the cells from damage caused by free radicals.

Further research is needed to determine if increased utilization of Monk Fruit in the diet as a replacement for sugar could support weight loss, weight maintenance, or the prevention of some diseases like obesity, diabetes, and cancer.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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