Are you looking for a natural sugar substitute that won’t add calories to your diet?
Monk fruit sweetener might be the answer you’re looking for. This natural sweetener is up to 250 times sweeter than sugar and contains zero calories, making it a popular choice for those who want to avoid sugar.
However, some monk fruit sweeteners are blended with erythritol, a type of sugar alcohol that can cause digestive discomfort for some people.
In this article, we’ll explore whether monk fruit is considered a sugar alcohol and what you need to know before adding it to your diet.
Is Monk Fruit Sugar Alcohol?
Monk fruit is not a sugar alcohol. It is a natural sweetener that comes from the monk fruit, also known as luo han guo, which is native to Southeast Asia. The sweet taste of monk fruit comes from mogrosides, which are compounds found in the fruit.
However, some monk fruit sweeteners are blended with erythritol, a type of sugar alcohol. Erythritol is commonly used as a sugar substitute because it has zero calories and does not affect blood sugar levels. It is also less likely to cause digestive discomfort compared to other sugar alcohols like sorbitol and mannitol.
When monk fruit extract is blended with erythritol, it helps to balance the sweetness of the monk fruit. Monk fruit extract is much sweeter than sugar, so blending it with erythritol makes it easier to use in recipes and as a tabletop sweetener.
What Is Monk Fruit Sweetener?
Monk fruit sweetener is a natural, no-calorie sweetener that is derived from the monk fruit, a small round fruit native to southern China. The sweetness of monk fruit comes from mogrosides, which are unique antioxidants found in the fruit. Mogrosides are extracted from the juice of the monk fruit and then processed into a concentrated powder to create monk fruit sweetener.
Unlike other sweeteners, monk fruit sweetener does not contain fructose or glucose, making it a healthier alternative to sugar. It is also 100-250 times sweeter than sugar, which means that only small amounts are needed to achieve the same level of sweetness. Monk fruit sweetener can be used in a wide range of foods and beverages, including soft drinks, dairy products, desserts, candies, and condiments. It is also stable at high temperatures, making it suitable for use in baked goods.
Some brands of monk fruit sweetener may be blended with erythritol, a type of sugar alcohol. This helps to balance the sweetness of the monk fruit and make it easier to use in recipes and as a tabletop sweetener. However, it is important to note that pure monk fruit sweetener does not contain any sugar alcohols and is a completely natural alternative to sugar.
How Is Monk Fruit Sweetener Made?
Monk fruit sweetener is made through a multi-step process that involves preparing the fruit, extracting its juice, and then isolating the sweet mogrosides from the juice. To start, the fruit is typically skinned and seeded before being crushed to release its juice. The juice is then mixed with hot water and filtered to remove any impurities.
Next, the extraction process begins, where the sweet mogrosides are drawn out and either turned into a liquid or dried into a powder. The liquid form is used to create monk fruit syrup, while the powder form is sold as monk fruit sugar.
After extraction, some brands of monk fruit sweetener may blend the mixture with other ingredients like erythritol and dextrose. This helps to balance out the intense sweetness of the monk fruit extract and make it look and feel more like regular table sugar.
To make monk fruit sweetener, no chemicals or artificial additives are used. Instead, it is a natural process that involves only the fruit and water. Because it is so much sweeter than sugar, only a tiny amount of monk fruit sweetener is needed to achieve the same level of sweetness as sugar.
The Benefits Of Monk Fruit Sweetener
Monk fruit sweetener is a natural, zero-calorie sweetener that provides a number of potential health benefits. One of the most impressive benefits of monk fruit sweetener is its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The mogrosides found in monk fruit extract have been shown to reduce oxidative stress caused by free radicals in the body, which can lead to serious health problems like asthma, diabetes, and heart disease.
In addition to its antioxidant properties, monk fruit sweetener has also been shown to have potential benefits for cholesterol, blood glucose levels, and diabetes. The mogrosides in monk fruit extract have been shown to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and mogroside V, the most prevalent mogroside in monk fruit, has been found to stimulate insulin production. This is particularly important for people with type 2 diabetes, as one of the primary causes of this condition is a lack of sufficient insulin.
Preliminary studies have also suggested that mogroside V may be able to inhibit the growth of pancreatic cancer cells. Monk fruit’s antioxidant properties have also been studied for possible cancer-fighting effects.
Another benefit of monk fruit sweetener is that it reduces calories. Because it is metabolized differently than regular sugar, using monk fruit sweetener can help lower your caloric intake. Additionally, it doesn’t cause cavities since there’s no actual sugar inside monk fruit sugar.
Finally, monk fruit sweetener is known for having little to no aftertaste compared to other sugar substitutes. It’s also anti-inflammatory and can help fight cancer. Because it’s 150-200 times sweeter than sugar, you only need a small amount to get the desired taste, making it last longer than sugar.
Is Monk Fruit Sweetener A Sugar Alcohol?
Monk fruit sweetener itself is not a sugar alcohol. It is a natural sweetener that is extracted from the monk fruit. However, some brands of monk fruit sweetener may contain erythritol, which is a type of sugar alcohol. Erythritol is often blended with monk fruit extract to balance the sweetness and make it easier to use in recipes and as a tabletop sweetener.
It’s important to note that erythritol is not the same as sugar. It is a type of carbohydrate that is found naturally in some fruits and fermented foods. Erythritol has zero calories and does not affect blood sugar levels, making it a popular choice for people on low-carb or diabetic diets.
While some people may experience digestive discomfort when consuming other types of sugar alcohols like sorbitol and mannitol, erythritol is generally well-tolerated and less likely to cause these issues. However, it’s worth noting that some people may still experience digestive discomfort when consuming large amounts of erythritol.
Understanding Erythritol And Its Effects
Erythritol is a type of sugar alcohol that is commonly used as a sugar substitute. It has zero calories and does not affect blood sugar levels, making it a popular choice for people with diabetes or those trying to reduce their sugar intake. Erythritol is found naturally in some foods, such as grapes, peaches, pears, watermelon, and mushrooms. It is also made when things like wine, beer, and cheese ferment.
While erythritol is generally considered safe, a recent study has linked it to an increased risk of blood clotting, stroke, heart attack, and death. The study found that people with existing risk factors for heart disease, such as diabetes, were twice as likely to experience a heart attack or stroke if they had the highest levels of erythritol in their blood. The study also revealed that erythritol appeared to be causing blood platelets to clot more readily, which can lead to serious health problems.
Despite these findings, the World Health Organization (WHO) approved erythritol in 1999, and the FDA did the same in 2001. It is also OK for people with diabetes because it has no effect on glucose or insulin levels. However, it is important to note that foods that contain erythritol may still contain carbohydrates, calories, and fat, so it’s important to check the label.
In general, most people can handle 1 gram of erythritol for every kilogram of body weight daily. Excess consumption of erythritol can lead to bloating and an upset stomach. Some sugar alcohols can cause gas and cramping or work like a laxative when they reach your colon. However, erythritol is generally mostly absorbed before it gets to your colon and is excreted unchanged in your urine. Excess gas and a laxative effect are possible but are generally less severe than other sugar alcohols.
Potential Side Effects Of Monk Fruit Sweetener
Monk fruit sweetener is generally considered safe and does not have any reported side effects. However, some people may experience allergic reactions to monk fruit or erythritol. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include rashes, breathing issues, irregular heartbeat, dizziness, swollen tongue, abdominal pain, and wheezing.
Additionally, some monk fruit sweeteners may be blended with other additives like sugar alcohols or maltodextrin. These additives can cause digestive discomfort such as bloating, nausea, and gas. It is important to check the label of monk fruit sweeteners to see if they contain any additional ingredients that may cause side effects.
While monk fruit sweetener is a safe alternative to sugar, it is still important to consume it in moderation. Just because it is considered safe by the FDA does not mean that it should be consumed in large amounts. It is always best to focus on consuming whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that provide essential nutrients for good health.