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What Is Monk Fruit Sweetener, and Is It Keto-Friendly?

If you're on a low-carb diet, you need a low-carb sweetener. That's where monk fruit comes in. With zero net carbs and zero calories, monk fruit benefits conditions such as diabetes.

SUMMARY

What is monk fruit good for? This natural sweetener and sugar replacement is low in calories and carbohydrates.  Studies show monk fruit benefits diabetes and supports healthy weight management. 

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Traditional sweeteners are often high in carbs, and this is bad news if you’re one of the many people who follow a low-carb diet. 

Fortunately, there are other options to consider. One of these options is monk fruit sweetener.

Monk fruit extract is one of the newest low-carb sweeteners to hit the market, and there are some good reasons for giving it a try. It’s a great choice if you want to reduce your sugar intake. Monk fruit benefits your health by supporting healthy weight management, and it has properties that can help ward off diabetes. 

What is monk fruit all about, and how can it support your wellness journey? And does a monk fruit sweetener belong in your pantry? Let’s take a closer look. 

In this article, we will: 

  • Discuss some basic facts regarding monk fruit sweetener
  • Explain how monk fruit sweetener is made
  • Discuss the reasons behind monk fruit’s sweetness and caloric content
  • Let you know whether monk fruit products are keto
  • Compare monk fruit sweeteners to stevia
  • List key ways in which monk fruit benefits your health

What is monk fruit?

Monk fruit is a small, round fruit that’s native to China and Thailand. Its botanical name is Siratia grosvenorii, and it’s also known as lo han guo, luo han guo, buddha fruit and Swingle fruit. 

In some Asian countries, it’s believed that monk fruit benefits wellness and healing. This fruit has been a staple in Eastern medicine for centuries. Over the years, it’s been used as a remedy for colds, and it’s also been used as a digestive aid. 

More recently, monk fruit has been used as an alternative sweetener and sugar substitute for foods and beverages. It’s available as a powder and as a liquid extract. It’s also sold in granule form. 

Compared to sugar, it takes only a small amount of monk fruit extract to sweeten a food or beverage — but you’d never know by looking at the serving size of some of the most popular monk fruit sweeteners on the market. Why is this so? Well, to make it easier to measure and pour this zero-calorie sweetener, it’s often blended with common food ingredients. That’s why a serving of monk fruit sweetener may be equal in size to a serving of regular sugar. 

What is monk fruit sweetener good for?

So, what is monk fruit sweetener good for? There are a couple of reasons why you might want to consider pure monk fruit sweetener as a sugar alternative:

  1. First of all, whether you choose monk fruit powder, granules or a liquid extract, this sweetener has zero calories. Because of that quality, monk fruit sweetener benefits those who are trying to manage their calorie intake. 
  2. Additionally, pure monk fruit powder, granules and the liquid version of this sweetener all have zero net carbs. That means pure monk fruit extract is an excellent sweetener if you’re on a low-carb eating plan
  3. Finally, unlike sugar, a monk fruit sweetener scores a zero on the glycemic index. That means it won’t raise your blood glucose levels. For this reason, monk fruit benefits those who are interested in keeping their blood sugar levels low. Since it has no effect on blood sugar, monk fruit extract is safe for diabetics. 

How is monk fruit sweetener made?

To create monk fruit sweetener, the seeds and skin of the fruit are removed. 

The fruit is then crushed to create monk fruit juice. At that point, the juice can be used to create a liquid sweetener. It can also be dried to create granules or monk fruit powder. 

How is monk fruit able to provide zero-calorie sweetness? 

Monk fruit contains natural sugar. Both fructose and glucose are found in this small Asian fruit. 

However, monk fruit doesn’t owe its sweet taste to fructose and glucose. Most of its sweetness comes from compounds called mogrosides. A mogroside is an antioxidant. It’s made up of a structure called a mogrol that’s attached to glucose units or glycosides. 

During processing, the mogrosides are separated from the rest of the monk fruit juice, and they ultimately serve as the basis for the sweetener. Since monk fruit sweetener is made with isolated mogrosides, it’s free of the fructose and glucose that are found in pure monk fruit juice. 

So, what is monk fruit able to deliver when it comes to sweetness? A monk fruit sweetener can be anywhere from 100-250 times sweeter than table sugar or granulated sugar. Its sweetness will depend on the concentration of mogrosides found in the extract. 

As we’ve mentioned, monk fruit sweeteners are calorie-free. How is monk fruit extract able to provide this sweetness with zero calories? The zero-calorie property of this natural sweetener has everything to do with the mogrosides it contains. Mogrosides aren’t absorbed in the upper gastrointestinal tract; as a result, they don’t deliver any calories to the body. Therefore, monk fruit benefits those seeking a low-calorie sugar alternative. 

Is monk fruit keto?

The keto diet limits the number of carbs you can consume. 

Is monk fruit keto-friendly? The answer is yes. Its low carb count makes a monk fruit sweetener compatible with a ketogenic diet. 

Keep in mind, though, that while pure monk fruit extract is keto-friendly, some monk fruit sweeteners may contain additives that raise the carb count and make them unsuitable for a keto diet. For this reason, it’s important to check the label if you’re looking for a keto-friendly monk fruit sweetener. 

Monk fruit vs. stevia

Monk fruit and stevia share certain similarities. Like monk fruit, stevia is low in calories and net carbs, and is much sweeter than table sugar. Stevia is also comparable to monk fruit in its ability to provide tremendous sweetness without raising blood sugar levels. 

A key difference between the two concerns taste. Monk fruit sweeteners have a somewhat fruity taste, while stevia tastes more like licorice. Whether you prefer one or the other will likely boil down to personal preference. 

Also, stevia causes minor side effects in some people. It’s been linked with conditions such as gas, nausea and bloating. Monk fruit doesn’t typically cause side effects.

Monk fruit benefits

What is monk fruit capable of doing for your health? Here are a few ways in which monk fruit benefits wellness:

Monk fruit benefit #1: Helps control blood sugar levels

High blood sugar has been linked with conditions such as diabetes. Sweeteners such as granulated sugar, maple syrup and honey can raise blood sugar levels. 

Unlike these sweeteners, monk fruit won’t cause blood sugar to spike. In fact, some research shows that monk fruit powder may ultimately work to reduce blood sugar levels. In a 2008 study involving diabetic mice, monk fruit extract was linked with a reduction of blood sugar levels and a reduction in oxidative stress. 

Monk fruit benefit #2: Supports healthy weight management

If you want to maintain a healthy weight, there has to be a proper balance between the calories you burn and the calories you consume. Low-calorie foods can help you stay on the right side of this equation. 

Monk fruit sweetener is low in calories. For this reason, monk fruit benefits weight management. Studies show that low-calorie sweeteners such as monk fruit powder can facilitate weight loss or weight maintenance. 

Monk fruit benefit #3: May reduce inflammation

Inflammation has been linked with chronic conditions such as heart disease. Monk fruit powder and liquid extract contain antioxidants called mogrosides that have anti-inflammatory properties. These antioxidants can help reduce the number of free radicals present in your body. Thanks to this anti-inflammatory property, monk fruit extract may be able to help curb damage to your DNA. 

Next steps

Now you have another sweetener to include in your keto or low-carb eating plan. What is monk fruit powder good for on your path toward improved wellness? Find out how monk fruit benefits your health by giving this sugar alternative a try. 

For easy access to delicious keto and low-carb meals, subscribe to Fresh N’ Lean. We deliver straight to your home or office. In addition to keto and low-carb options, our meal plans include choices for those on paleo, vegan and high-protein diets.