Monk fruit extract is the new kid on the block and has taken over in popularity. You can find it as a standalone sweetener, added into food and drinks or as a component of natural sweetener blends.

 We all know consuming too much sugar has been linked to many adverse health outcomes. Considering statistics Canada show sugar consumption is on the rise, majority of us would do well with reducing our sugar intake. Many assume artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame and acesulfame potassium are the answer. Although they contain fewer calories, they don’t necessarily help with weight loss and could contribute to allergic symptoms such as hives. That’s why natural sugar alternatives and natural sugar alcohols are the better choice. They’re derived from raw materials and offer many benefits to health with low or no impact on blood sugar levels. The newest member to enter the natural sweetener scene is Monk Fruit.


What is Monk Fruit?

Monk fruit is a sweetener extracted from the monk fruit, a small green fruit that looks like a melon. Also known as monk fruit extract, luo han guo or “Buddha fruit,” monk fruit is grown in Southeast Asia. Interestingly, monk fruit was first used by Buddhist monks in the 13th century, which is how monk fruit got its name; however, it’s only gained its mainstream popularity over the last 5 years or so. Some emerging research could suggest that due to monk fruit extracts antioxidant properties, it may inhibit unhealthy cell growth.


How is Monk Fruit Extract Made?

Monk fruit extract is made by removing the seeds and skin of monk fruit. The seeds and skin are then crushed and the juice is dried into a powder. The resulting powder contains some natural sugars like fructose and glucose. However, monk fruit’s sweetness comes from another unique antioxidant compound called mogrosides.


How Does Monk Fruit Taste?

Like stevia, monk fruit extract is up to 200 times sweeter than sugar; therefore, less is more. It contains no calories, carbohydrates, sodium, or fat and does not have a bitter aftertaste. This makes it a popular alternative for manufacturers who make low-calorie products and for the consumers who eat them. Sometimes, monk fruit is combined with other natural sweeteners like erythritol to balance the sweetness and more closely resemble table sugar.


Is Monk Fruit Healthy?

As mentioned above, the sweetener in monk fruit comes from its antioxidant properties, mogroside, which offers anti-inflammatory benefits. Unlike sugar and alternative sweeteners, monk fruit doesn’t cause inflammation in the body which is beneficial to healthy cell growth and gut health. While monk fruit is also beneficial to blood sugar levels, it’s also been shown to have benefits for the health of the kidney’s, heart, healthy weight and may even be shown to support immune health. Another bonus of monk fruit is that it’s complimentary to a keto diet.


Monk Fruit and Blood Sugar

The glycemic index (GI) assigns a value to foods and beverages based on their impact on blood glucose levels. Generally, goods low on the glycemic index will release glucose more slowly and steadily while foods higher on the glycemic index will release glucose quickly. Low GI foods are good for those with blood sugar issues and high GI foods are better suited to help provide energy recovery post-exercise. Sweeteners made with monk fruit have a low GI and don’t impact blood sugar levels. With zero calories, monk fruit sweeteners are also a good option for people watching their weight. Unlike some artificial sweeteners, there’s no evidence to date showing that monk fruit has negative side effects and for those who follow intermittent fasting, Monk fruit is not known to break a fast.


How to Use Monk Fruit

Monk fruit extract is now used as a standalone sweetener, in food and drinks, as a flavour enhancer, and a component of sweetener blends. Because monk fruit extract can be 250 times sweeter than table sugar, many manufacturers mix it with other natural sweeteners like inulin or erythritol to reduce the intensity of its sweetness. You can use monk fruit in baking because it is heat-stable or in homemade nut milks, lemonade or iced tea mixtures. However, the amount you use will depend on whether there are other added sweeteners in your monk fruit blend. Because monk fruit is so sweet, you will need to use much less monk fruit than sugar.


Shopping For Monk Fruit

Eco Ideas Monk Fruit sweetener comes in a variety of organic options. Available in a powdered format which is finer than granules and dissolves easily, a golden granule format which makes a great substitute for brown sugar at a 1:1 ratio, and lastly an organic classic granule format which is a good substitute for powdered sugar. All of Eco Ideas Monk Fruit products are naturally sourced and contain zero additives.



"The information in this article is intended for educational and informational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your practitioner prior to taking herbs or nutritional supplements".