What is Monk Fruit Sweetener (Luo Han Guo)?
Monk fruit extract, also known as Luo Han Guo, comes from the fruit of the Siraitia grosvenorii plant. It’s a fruit-bearing vine belonging to the gourd family and native to southern China. Chinese monks recorded the first mention of the plant in the 13th century. Its name derives from the Chinese word Luóhàn, which is the short form of āluóhàn. It’s a transliteration of the word arhat from Indian Sanskrit. Early Buddhist monks that attained enlightenment were called arhat. It is also known as la han qua from the Vietnamese term for the fruit, la hán quả, meaning longevity fruit. Monk fruit also featured in traditional Chinese remedies for cough and sore throat.
Today, most people use monk fruit as a zero-calorie sugar substitute to sweeten foods and beverages. It has around 250 times the sweetness of sucrose and owes its sweet flavor to its mogroside content. Mogrosides are antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties. Monk fruit is also a natural bacteria killer.
Potential Monk Fruit Benefits
Monk Fruit Sweetener and Blood Sugar
Monk fruit extract is a popular sugar substitute as it doesn’t come with all the calories of sugar. It’s an excellent alternative to standard sugar for individuals monitoring their blood sugar. Monk fruit does not affect blood sugar levels and offers superior glycemic control, as the body metabolizes it differently than sugar.
Monk Fruit Extract and Weight Loss
Monk fruit extract may help individuals trying to lose weight. Substituting monk fruit for regular sugar dramatically reduces the calories and carbohydrates in many foods and beverages. Research also shows that individuals who use sugar substitutes like monk fruit also tend to ingest less fat, alcohol, and empty-calorie foods.
Monk Fruit Extract as an Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory
Monk fruit is rich in mogroside antioxidants that scavenge free radicals and prevent oxidative stress. Free radical damage is one of the leading causes of premature cell aging. Antioxidants are also essential to protect DNA against oxidative damage, which can worsen or cause chronic health problems. Consuming antioxidant-rich foods and beverages helps limit the damage. Traditional Chinese remedies used monk fruit as a “cooling” agent because it helped reduce systemic inflammation. These remedies most often targeted sore throats and joint pain. Modern research shows that monk fruit decreases pro-inflammatory gene expression while also promoting the expression of genes that reduce inflammation.
Potential Monk Fruit Side Effects
Monk fruit does not have any known side effects. It also has generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status from the FDA. Most notably, it does not cause the digestive issues that some may experience with other nonnutritive sweeteners.
What is The Best Sugar Substitute?
Monk fruit is one of many sugar substitutes available on the market. Which is best depends on the individual. Some may not like the taste of certain zero-calorie sweeteners. PureBulk carries numerous other options, including:
How to Use Monk Fruit Sweetener
Individuals often use monk fruit to sweeten their coffee, tea, or baked goods. A one-to-one substitution between monk fruit and sugar is likely too much. Monk fruit is much sweeter than regular sugar and often requires much less of it to achieve a similar flavor. A good starting point is to replace the sugar with one-third of the amount of monk fruit.