You’re most likely tremendous aware of Stevia, the favored sugar substitute derived from the Stevia plant. however what about monk fruit extract, one other calorie-free sweetener that’s develop into fashionable amongst health-conscious eaters over the previous couple of years?

In keeping with the FDA, monk fruit extract can style as much as 250 occasions sweeter than commonplace desk sugar—due to chemical compounds referred to as mogrosides, which give the fruit its attribute sweetness. However the place does monk fruit come from, and is that this sweetener really good for you? We reached out to a nutritionist for the details.

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Advantages of monk fruit extract

Monk fruit extract comes from monk fruit, or luo han guo, a melon-like fruit that grows on a vine and is native to elements of China and Thailand. “The sweetener is made by juicing the fruit and processing it into crystal kind,” explains Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, New York Metropolis–primarily based vitamin knowledgeable and writer of Consuming in Shade. (Monk fruit extract can be made into a liquid.)

With zero energy, the FDA-approved extract doesn’t increase blood sugar ranges like commonplace desk sugar does. That makes it an awesome different for diabetics, in line with Largeman-Roth.

Drawbacks of monk fruit extract

Monk fruit extract could also be thought of "pure," however that doesn’t imply it’s unprocessed or 100% pure. “Monk fruit is commonly mixed with different sweeteners, or with sugar and molasses,” notes Largeman-Roth. The issue? If it’s mixed with sugar, it’s not calorie-free.

But combining monk fruit extract with one other non-nutritive (in different phrases, zero-calorie) sweetener, like the favored sugar alcohol erythritol, isn’t preferrred both. “Erythritol may cause gastrointestinal points like fuel and diarrhea, particularly amongst individuals with IBS,” says Largeman-Roth.

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Analysis additionally means that sweetening meals and drinks can really intensify sugar cravings, not fulfill them. “My general philosophy on sweeteners is that Individuals are used to issues tasting extremely candy, so I warning towards overuse of synthetic and naturally derived however calorie-free sweeteners that may style a whole lot of occasions sweeter than sugar,” says Largeman-Roth.

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The place to purchase monk fruit extract

Monk fruit extract is out there in retail shops and on-line. For discounted Lakanto monkfruit sweetener, head to Thrive Market’s web site ($6; thrivemarket.com). Monk Fruit within the Uncooked is out there at Walmart ($7; walmart.com) and Amazon ($7; amazon.com).

The way to use monk fruit extract

Like different sweeteners, monk fruit extract will be added to meals or drinks to boost sweetness with out extra energy. Make sure to use it sparingly. “You possibly can add monk fruit extract to drinks, oatmeal, baked items, and different issues that you just’d wish to style sweeter,” says Largeman-Roth. “Simply keep in mind that you solely want to make use of a tiny quantity as a result of it tastes a lot sweeter than sugar.”

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