Monk Fruit Sweetener For Diabetics
byFebruary 21, 2022, 9:47 am95 Views
Monk Fruit Sweetener for Diabetics and weight loss seems superior to most artificial sweeteners.
Because of the fact that it is derived from nature and despite being 250 times sweeter than sugar, it has zero calories.
Compared to a teaspoon of sugar that has about 15 to 20 calories, monk fruit sweetener has Zero Calories.
The Downsides Of Monk Fruit
Along with its many benefits, monk fruit has a few drawbacks.
Dont go running to your local Trader Joes hoping to load up on fresh monk fruit. Its almost impossible to find unless you visit a region where its grown. Even then, its rarely eaten fresh since it ferments and grows rancid quickly after its harvested. Dried monk fruit may be used to prepare tea and herbal remedies, but its also hard to find. Some Asian markets carry imported dried monk fruit.
Monk fruit is challenging to grow, harvest, and dry. Its also expensive to import and process. This makes monk fruit sweetener more pricey than other nonnutritive sweeteners. Its also why there are fewer monk fruit sweetener options on your local supermarket shelves.
In addition, some people are turned off by the aftertaste of monk fruit. Still, taste is relative. Many find the taste pleasant and less bitter than other sweeteners, especially artificial ones such as saccharin and aspartame.
Sugar Substitutes That Are Not Blood Sugar Friendly
Lets start with honey because, lets face it, its sugar in liquid form .
Its delicious, but a 2015 study in the Journal of Nutrition found that when subjects were given honey, cane sugar, or high-fructose corn syrup, they saw no notable difference in blood sugar increase.
The only benefit of honey over regular table sugar from a blood sugar perspective is that honey is slightly sweeter so you can use a little bit less of it and achieve the same sweetness. But that still doesnt make it a good option for people with diabetes!
I think that the corporate marketing machine has been very clever when declaring agave nectar is a health food, for as Dr. Jonny Bowden points out..Its basically high-fructose corn syrup masquerading as healthy food.
Agave nectar may have a lower glycemic index than sugar or honey, but its still up to 90 percent liquid fructose.
At the end of the day, sugar is sugar. Honey or agave nectar may be slightly better for you than pure white sugar from an overall nutrition perspective, but dont get tricked into thinking that they are blood sugar-friendly alternatives.
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Monk Fruit Sweetener: Good Or Bad
As people increasingly avoid sugar, alternative sweeteners have become more popular.
One popular sweetener is monk fruit sweetener, also called monk fruit extract.
Monk fruit sweetener has been around for decades but has recently grown in popularity since its become more readily available.
Its natural, contains zero calories and is 100250 times sweeter than sugar. It is also thought to have antioxidant properties.
This article tells you everything you need to know about monk fruit sweetener.
Are Monk Fruit And Stevia Safe For People With Diabetes
Monk fruit and stevia are both low-glycemic sweeteners and should have little or no effect on a persons blood sugar levels.
However, it is important to check the labels of products that contain these sweeteners. Other ingredients may contain sugars or carbohydrates.
Monk fruit and stevia have very similar properties. For many, the choice between them simply comes down to personal preference. A person may want to try both and see which they prefer.
When choosing between monk fruit and stevia, considerations may include:
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What Is Monk Fruit Extract
Monk fruit is a small melon that naturally grows in Asian regions like southern China and northern Thailand. The extract from this fruit is very sweet and its been used in Chinese households for thousands of years.
Monk fruit also has a role in traditional Chinese medicine for soothing sore throats and relieving the common cold.
Chinese immigration brought monk fruit to the U.S. in the 1940s and its popularity as a low calorie sweetener has spread across the world from there. It is now readily available in health food stores and supermarkets in many countrieshow convenient!
Fresh monk fruit can spoil very quickly so you will only see it on a grocery store shelf in the form of monk fruit extract, which has been processed. You can find it in both a liquid and a powered form.
What Is A Monk Fruit
The humble monk fruit is a small type of melon from Southern China and Northern Thailand. This small fruit is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family .
Their native name is Luo Han Guo. The name is derived from the fact that the first records of this fruit being eaten were by monks in the thirteenth century.
They are particularly infamous for not just their sweet taste but also their sulfuric taste. This sulfuric taste is the reason why the fruits have to be crushed to remove the juice in order to extract the substance to make sweeteners.
It is very hard to cultivate and grow and is therefore very difficult to buy fresh unless you are in a region where they are being grown. They go off very quickly once they have been picked and start to ferment.
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What Is Monk Fruit Sweetener
Monk fruit sweetener is extracted from monk fruit.
The monk fruit is also known as luo han guo or Buddha fruit. Its a small, round fruit grown in Southeast Asia.
This fruit has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine, but the Food and Drug Administration didnt approve its use as a sweetener until 2010.
The sweetener is created by removing the seeds and skin of the fruit and crushing it to collect the juice, which is then dried into a concentrated powder.
Monk fruit contains natural sugars, mainly fructose and glucose.
However, unlike in most fruits, the natural sugars in monk fruit arent responsible for its sweetness. Instead, it gets its intense sweetness from unique antioxidants called mogrosides.
During processing, mogrosides are separated from the fresh-pressed juice. Therefore, monk fruit sweetener does not contain fructose or glucose.
Because this extract may be 100250 times sweeter than table sugar, many manufacturers mix monk fruit sweetener with other natural products, such as inulin or erythritol, to reduce the intensity of the sweetness.
Monk fruit extract is now used as a standalone sweetener, an ingredient in food and drinks, a flavor enhancer, and a component of sweetener blends .
Monk fruit sweetener is a natural, zero-calorie sweetener. It is high in unique antioxidants called mogrosides, which make it 100250 times sweeter than regular sugar.
Artificial Sweeteners May Also Contribute To Weight Gain
Obesity and being overweight is one of the top predictors for diabetes. While artificial sweeteners are FDA-approved , it doesnt mean theyre healthy.
Thats because artificial sweeteners:
- may lead to cravings, overeating and weight gain
- alter gut bacteria which is important for weight management
For people with diabetes looking to manage their weight or sugar intake, artificial sweeteners may not be a good substitute.
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Monk Fruit: Revered For Centuries
Monk fruit is a member of the gourd family, native to the Guangxi province in Southern China and remote areas of Thailand. Its known locally as luo han guo guo means fruit and luo han refers to the group of Buddhist monks believed to have used the fruit for medicinal purposes as early as the 13th century. Today, the fruit is also called lo han guo or lo han kuo.
Those monks were among the few practitioners known to have harvested and used luo han guo to treat medical issues like coughs, sore throats and congestion. They also used it for its purported ability to enhance longevity, calling it the immortals fruit.
Monk fruit only grows naturally in a very small geographic region. So even though the fruit has been cultivated in the Guangxi region for centuries, its not described in most texts describing the practice of ancient Chinese medicine. But in the areas where it grows naturally, it has been revered for nearly 1,000 years. It only became better-known, and more popular throughout China, in recent centuries.
The fruit itself is green and round. It grows on vines which are now called siraitia grosvenorii, which is clearly not a Chinese name. The vines were named after the president of the National Geographic Society during the 1930s, Gilbert Grosvesnor, who approved funding for an expedition to Southeast Asia to discover the monk fruit.
Everything You Need To Know About Monk Fruit Sweetener
This is an evidence based article
This article has been written by experts and fact-checked by experts, including licensed nutritionists, dietitians or medical professionals. The information in the article is based on scientific studies and research.
It is designed to be honest, unbiased and objective, and opinions from both sides of an argument are presented wherever there is disagreement.
The scientific references in this article are clickable links to peer-reviewed research material on the subject being discussed.
Everything you need to know? OK, lets see what weve got.
- Monk fruit sweetener is incredibly sweet.
- Its all-natural.
- Its safe, even for diabetics.
- Its calorie-free with no carbohydrates.
- It appears to have a number of health benefits.
- Its somewhat expensive, but worth it.
- It has a slight aftertaste, but it can be covered up if necessary.
- It doesnt cause stomach problems like some other sweeteners.
- Did we mention its incredibly sweet?
Oh you want to know more than that about monk fruit sweetener?
We thought you might. Lets get to it.
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So What Are The Best Sweeteners For People With Diabetes
In general, there is no reason not to choose one of the natural sweeteners that dont affect blood sugar Stevia, monk fruit, or allulose. They are all great for people with diabetes and you can choose whichever one you think tastes the best. For baking, Stevia in the Raw is my preferred sweetener as it retains its taste and acts the most like sugar when heated.
Artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols are not terrible, but they do potentially have side effects, the most common of which is digestive issues. I, therefore, see no reason to use them when natural and safe alternatives are available.
Sugar substitutes such as honey and agave nectar are essentially identical to normal sugar when it comes to blood sugar impact. I do keep both sugar and honey in the house for the rare occasions where I want to bake something really decadent , but I try to use it as little as possible.
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Natural & Artificial Sweeteners That Wont Affect Blood Sugar
None of the natural and artificial sweeteners I list below will affect your blood sugar in their raw form, but you have to make sure that the manufacturer hasnt added anything else to the product such as fillers or flavors.
With the exception of aspartame, none of the sweeteners can actually be broken down by the body, which is why they wont affect your blood sugar. Instead, theyll pass through your systems without being digested, so they provide no extra calories.
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Benefits Of Monk Fruit Sugar
Most sweeteners come with an aftertaste. Although taste is subjective to each person, monk fruit sugar has reportedly little to no aftertaste.
It comes with its own set of benefits as well. These include, but arenât limited to:
- It reduces calories. Because monk fruit sugar is metabolized differently than regular sugar, you can reduce your caloric intake by using it.
- It doesnât affect blood sugar. Monk fruit sugar doesnât affect your blood sugar levels and can improve your glycemic control.
- Itâs anti-inflammatory. The sweetener in monk fruit sugar, also known as mongrosides, has anti-inflammatory effects.
- It can help fight cancer. Mongrosides can help your body fight cancer.
- It doesnât cause cavities. Since thereâs no actual sugar inside monk fruit sugar, you donât need to worry about it causing cavities.
- You only need a little. Since itâs 150-200 times sweeter than sugar, you only need a pinch to get the desired taste, making it last longer than sugar.
Is Monk Fruit Safe
Monk fruit received the generally recognized as safe designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It also has no reported side effects.
But use monk fruit or any sweetener in moderate amounts. Just because its GRAS doesnt mean you should consume lots of it every day, notes Dr. Liberatore.
Monk fruit is a good option for lowering sugar intake, he says. But instead of consuming lots of zero-calorie sweeteners, focus on eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains. These foods have vitamins, minerals and other nutrients you need for good health.
And read the ingredients list on the label before buying monk fruit sweeteners. Many products combine other sweeteners with monk fruit extract even if the product is called pure monk fruit. Some contain erythritol, a sugar alcohol that can cause bloating or stomach upset in some people.
Monk fruit and diabetes
If you have diabetes, monk fruit could be a good option for you. Ask your doctor first, though. People with diabetes have bigger blood sugar spikes after eating sugar than people who dont have diabetes, explains Dr. Liberatore. So using a sugar substitute can help prevent these spikes.
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What Makes Monk Fruit So Sweet
In a word, mogrosides. These natural compounds are the primary active component found in monk fruit the glycosides attached to them make them several hundred times sweeter than sucrose, or ordinary table sugar. Mogroside V is the most prevalent form of the compound in monk fruit.
Heres whats so important about mogrosides, other than their natural sweetness. Once theyre ingested, they pass right through the gastrointestinal tract without being absorbed and that means they dont add calories to the diet. Mogrosides are only broken down in the colon, where the glucose is removed to be used as energy. So far, we only know this from studies done on animals, but researchers believe it works the same way in humans.
As a result, monk fruit extract is whats called a non-nutritive sweetener, containing zero calories and zero carbs . The benefits should be obvious, but lets discuss them a little more anyway.
Final Thoughts On Monk Fruit
Our Western diets drown us in sugar! While our kids may love our sugar-soaked society, its up to us to find a better way to nourish our bodies. Monk fruit extract is a great alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners. In fact, the only cereal my family eats is sweetened by monk fruit.
Having read through the science and studies, I feel that monk fruit extract is a safe and healthy choice for my family.
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Ann Shippy, who is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and a certified Functional Medicine physician with a thriving practice in Austin, Texas. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.
Do you use any sugar alternatives? Have you tried monk fruit extract? Let us know your thoughts below!
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What Does Monk Fruit Extract Taste Like
It can taste different depending on how processed the extract is. As a general rule, the more processed it is, the sweeter and blander it becomes.
Some describe this sweetener as having a mild, fruity taste. Some think it has a strong aftertaste, while others feel the aftertaste is less noticeable than that of Splenda or stevia. Of course, personal preferences vary widely.
Monk fruit doesnt cause the same digestive issues that some sugar alcohols can. This makes it a better choice for some people.
Saccharin The Oldest Artificial Sweetener
Saccharin, the sweetener sold in pink packets under the brand name Sweet ‘N Low, is calorie-free and is about 300 to 500 times sweeter than sugar, per the Sweet N Low website. It was the first artificial sweetener, with chemists discovering it as a derivative of coal tar by mistake in 1879, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.
If youve been using artificial sweeteners since the 1970s, you may remember a previous warning label that warned of saccharin increasing the risk for cancer. But rest assured it’s safe. The research that prompted the label was done on animals, and further studies by the National Toxicology Program of the National Institutes of Health concluded that saccharin shouldnt be on the list of potential carcinogens. Saccharin is currently FDA-approved.
A 132-lb individual would need to consume 45 tabletop packets of the artificial sweetener per day to reach the ADI of 15 mg of saccharin per kg of body weight per day, according to the FDA.
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