The Newest Sugar Commodity: Monk Fruit

Sweet, no calories, and all natural… everything you have ever wanted, right?

Monk Fruit claims to do all of the above, but can it be trusted?

Monk fruit is an ancient Chinese fruit also known as luo han guo.  The Chinese population has been known to use this to build ones immune system, fight sugar cravings, treat obesity, and as a alternative sweetener for diabetics. It originates from a plant, and claims to be all-natural while resembling a lemon in size.   It is reported to be 300 times sweeter than actual sugar, so it can easily be used in small portions.  Monk fruit may be foreign to you, but there are Monk Fruit containing sweeteners currently in your local grocery store. Nectresse, made by the popular makers of Splenda, is found in an orange packet, and it comes from Monk fruit.  According to the Netresse website,  the product is made of erythritol (a sugar alcohol), sugar and molasses.  As you all know sugar and molasses do in fact contain calories, so a larger amount of Nectresse can contain high caloric worth.  Other examples of sweeteners made from monk fruit are: fruit sweetness, Go Luo, and Purefruit.  Some recipes containing Monk Fruit include beverages, granola, pancakes, apple pie filling, salad dressings, etc.

Sounds good, right???

Maybe, but DON’T be fooled by the word “natural”. This sweetener has been processed to appear as a  powder and liquid just like any other artificial sweetener. This sugar, just as any other, should be used in moderation and with caution.

Take away message: Just because something says it is all-natural does not mean that it is not processed. Always look at the ingredients!!

By: Morgan Martin

For more information on a healthy lifestyle contact:

Andrea W. Kendrick, RDN, LDN

Registered Dietitian & Sports RD

865. 474. 0211


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