This New (And Natural) Sweetener Could Actually Be Healthy For You
We have to admit that all of the health news surrounding sugar and how destructive it is to our bodies is pretty disheartening. After all, knowing that it’s causing all sorts of inflammation doesn’t negate the existence of our sweet tooth, right? And most sugar alternatives rack up their own lists of health warnings (we see you, Splenda) so it just feels like a losing battle.
But now, there is a natural sugar substitute available in most food stores today that seems to have zero drawbacks when it comes to nutrition and taste. It sounds too good to be true, yet it isn’t, and we have the cute little monk fruit to thank for this sweet, sweet miracle.
Monk fruit grows naturally in Southeast Asia, predominantly in China and Thailand. When the fruit is ripe, farmers remove the seeds and the skin, crush the fruit to collect as much of the juice as possible and dry the juice so that it can then be transformed into a powder. The result is a concentrated sugar alternative that is 150 to 200 times sweeter than our standard sugarcane derivative. However, after adjusting proportions, it tastes just like sugar — no bitter aftertaste like the sweetener pulled from stevia leaves. Oh, and it has zero calories.
The FDA approved of the commercialization of evaporated monk fruit juice back in 2009 — and without any health warnings. It doesn’t spike your blood sugar, it’s packed with antioxidants and it’s safe for everyone (including people with diabetes).
In fact, the primary antioxidants called mogrosides are what give the fruit its powerful sweetness (as opposed to fructose or glucose). Manufacturers go so far as to separate the mogrosides from any fructose and glucose so the end result is a viable option for even the keto dieters out there who typically can’t enjoy any form of sugar.
While researchers are still adding to the pool of health data surrounding the monk fruit, so far we know that the sweetener can help decrease inflammation, fight fatigue, combat allergies, fight infections and even prevent cancer.
Now, most brands on your grocery store shelves will blend monk fruit with things like dextrose (which is a corn sugar) or erythritol mainly because monk fruit in its pure form can be so saccharine sweet — even too sweet for us. So just make sure you read labels if you have a corn allergy or know that you have difficulty digesting sugar alcohols. Otherwise, the blended recipes won’t hurt you one bit.
We don’t know about you, but we think that stevia in our kitchen cabinets now has some serious competition.