Monk fruit sweetener is recognized as a profound way to sweeten both foods and beverages without the detrimental effects of traditional refined sugar and even many sugar substitutes. After extraction, monk fruit compounds are about 200-300 times sweeter than cane sugar — but with zero calories and no harmful effect on blood sugar! Monk fruit sweetener is now easy to find in both grocery stores and online. And one of the best benefits of monk fruit is that it provides a sweet taste to food and beverages without calories.
America’s Obsession with “Sweet”
Sugar has become the “white drug” in America. In fact, America’s obsession and over-consumption of refined sugar contribute significantly to the increasing obesity rates among both adults and children. The over-consumption of sugar is associated with many health issues and particularly some cancers such as breast, prostate, uterine, colorectal, and pancreatic.
Consuming too much sugar is also connected to heart disease and, of course, diabetes.
It’s interesting to note that one hundred years ago, the average American consumed only two pounds of sugar a year. Americans consumed around 123 pounds of sugar per year in 1970. According to the FDA, the average American consumes between 130-200 pounds of sugar yearly, which equates to about 1/2 pound of sugar daily!
What Is Monk Fruit?
Monk fruit (Momordica grosvenori) also called luo han guo is a member of the Cucurbitaceae (gourd) plant family. It is a small, round, greenish-brown fruit named after the Luo Han monks who discovered it around the 13th century and harvested it from the Guzngxi and Guangdong Mountains in China. A ban placed on monk fruit, as well as its genetic material by the Chinese government stopped the fruit from being allowed to leave the country.
Monk fruit is touted as the “longevity fruit” because it contains high antioxidant levels and provides anti-inflammatory effects. History tells us that monk fruit was used as a medicine for coughs, treatment for constipation, and as a remedy for clearing fevers from the body.
Currently, experts consider sweet extracts of natural plants, such as stevia and monk fruit, to be acceptable alternatives to sugar. Monk fruit extract is presently found in powdered form, and liquid extract drops.
Let’s begin our discussion about the main health benefits of monk fruit.
What are the Main Health Benefits of Monk Fruit?
1. Antioxidant and Fights Free Radicals
One of the essential benefits of monk fruit is its ability to fight free radicals. Mogrosides are the compounds that give monk fruit its sweetness. Mogrosides are potent antioxidants that reduce blood vessel leakiness (permeability), stop histamine release from mast cells, and prevent inflammatory damage. Since oxidative stress can play a part in many diseases, selecting high-antioxidant foods becomes valuable in lessening free radical damage in the body. Mogrosides protect the mitochondria and DNA from oxidative damage.
Monk fruit is a healing herb in Chinese medicine used since its discovery to treat all kinds of health concerns. Since the people who farm it live so long, it is also thought to be the secret to longevity. Unlike other fruits, monk fruit’s sweetness comes from antioxidants* called mogrosides.
2. Can Help Lower Obesity and Diabetes Risk
The International Journal of Obesity published a 2017 study stating, “Substituting sweeteners with non-nutritive sweeteners (NNS) may aid in glycaemic control and bodyweight management.” The Non-nutritive sweeteners included aspartame, monk fruit, and stevia. These sweeteners were found to contribute substantially less to total daily energy intake, postprandial glucose, and insulin release compared with sucrose-sweetened beverages.
Monk fruit may help to improve insulin response. It does not have a negative effect on blood sugar levels as natural sugars do. Monk fruit can provide the sweet flavor most people crave, without the adverse side effects.
Research shows that using monk fruit sweeteners can help people who already suffer from obesity and diabetes from furthering their condition. Monk fruit sweetener is extracted from non-GMO fruit, unlike refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup.
3. Anti-Inflammatory Effects
The ancient Chinese made a tea made from boiled monk fruit to cool the body from illness such as fever and heat stroke. It was also used as a natural health remedy to soothe sore throats. The mogrosides in monk fruit, which has natural anti-inflammatory effects, seemingly allow these health remedies to work.
4. May Help Fight Cancer Development
Some evidence suggests that the seeds and extract harvested from monk fruit contain anti-carcinogenic properties. Monk fruit extract also displays the ability to stop skin and breast tumor growth as well as providing proteins having anticancer abilities.
It’s important to note that other sweeteners are known to increase the risk of cancer, while monk fruit sweetener seemingly can reduce the risk of cancer.
5. May Help Fight Infections & Kidney Failure
Bacterial infections are usually treated with blatantly overused antibiotics. When natural antimicrobial agents are used, there is a better chance to not only fight off infections but also slow the escalation of antibiotic resistance.
When we use sugar and artificial sweeteners, we are feeding unfriendly and pathogenic bacteria in our gut, such as Candida albicans. The sugar in monk fruit promotes a healthy microbiome by providing friendly bacteria such as L. casei, B. bifidum, L. salivarius, and L. acidophilus.
Monk fruit studies show the ability to stop certain bacteria from proliferating — mainly oral bacteria that can cause tooth decay and periodontal disease. These studies also show the fruit’s capacity to fight some forms of candida symptoms and overgrowth, such as oral thrush, which can have a detrimental effect on other body systems.
6. Battles Fatigue
One study proved that monk fruit extracts were successful in decreasing fatigue in exercising mice. This study was able to reproduce results, proving that mice given the monk fruit extract had extended exercise times. This particular study also shows evidence as to why monk fruit is historically referred to as the “longevity fruit.”
7. Great for Diabetic and Low-Glycemic Food Plans
Monk fruit was used for centuries as a remedy for diabetes by the Chinese. Aside from being proven to bring down blood glucose levels in the body, animal studies indicate targeted antioxidant abilities toward pancreatic cells which provide better insulin secretion. The antidiabetic abilities of monk fruit are linked to its high levels of mogrosides. Better insulin secretion is an essential part of improving the health of those with diabetes. Monk fruit has even been shown, in animal studies, to have the ability to reduce kidney damage and other diabetes-related health issues.
As a low glycemic index sweetener, monk fruit is a way for those with diabetes to be able to enjoy a sweet taste without the concern of it worsening their diabetes. Because of this, monk fruit is an excellent choice for those following the ketogenic diet or other low-carb diets.
8. Natural Antihistamine Ability
When used often, monk fruit extract shows the capacity to fight allergic reactions. In one study using mice, monk fruit was given often to mice who presented with nasal rubbing and scratching due to histamines. The study indicated that “the monk fruit extract (luo han kuo) extract and glycoside inhibited the histamine release” in the mice.
Monk Fruit – A Better Way to Sweeten Your Life
Monk fruit is a healthy way to sweeten your life. By consuming monk fruit instead of refined sugar, you can help protect yourself from many diseases and health concerns that are linked to the over-consumption of sugar, such as:
- Metabolic Syndrome
- Heart Disease
- Cognitive Functioning
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Side Effects of Monk Fruit
Since there haven’t been many reported side effects or unfavorable reactions with monk fruit, most consider it safe. Based on available research, monk fruit seems to be fine for adults, children, and pregnant/nursing women to consume. Unlike most other sweeteners, it’s not likely to cause issues such as diarrhea or bloating when consumed in moderate amounts.
Monk fruit was approved for use by the FDA as a sugar substitute in 2010 and is considered GRAS – “generally safe for consumption.” However, since the FDA approval is considered relatively recent, there are no long-term studies available to test monk fruit side effects over time. This means that it’s best to exercise care when consuming it in large amounts.
Monk Fruit Cranberry Sauce Recipe
The classic, holiday staple, without any refined sugar! With the perfect touch of citrus and spice for flavoring, this will be a family favorite for years to come.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Thoroughly wash cranberries and place them in a 9×13 baking dish. Add purified water, cloves, cinnamon stick, and orange zest and sprinkle with Classic Monkfruit Sweetener.
- Bake 1 hour.
- Remove from oven, remove the cinnamon stick, and allow it to cool.
- If you like it with a little texture, mash berries; if you prefer it smooth, process it in blender or food processor until desired consistency is reached.
- Serve with turkey, turkey sandwiches, or on top of ice cream or cobbler or eat it by the spoonful.
This can be made and refrigerated up to a week in advance or frozen for up to three months.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Oasis Advanced Wellness/OAWHealth does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Oasis Advanced Wellness/OAWHealth are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician of choice.