Is Monk Fruit Sweetener Good For Health?
A lot of people are turning down sugar these days and this has brought natural alternative sweeteners into the limelight. A popular sweetener is monk fruit sweetener called monk fruit extract.
This sweetener has been around for decades but only recently it has become popular. It has zero calories and best part is that it is 100 to 250 times sweeter than sugar. It also has antioxidant properties.
Is it really a good idea? Let us look at the evidence.
Monk fruit sweetener – what is it?
The monk fruit sweetener or extract is extracted from the monk fruit. The monk fruit is also called the ‘Buddha fruit’. The fruit is round in shape and is grown in Southeast Asia.
It has been in use in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries but the FDA approved it as a sweetener only in 2010.
The fruit has natural sugars in it, mainly glucose and fructose but they are not the chief compounds that are responsible for its sweetness. The intense sweetness of monk fruit extract is due to antioxidants called mogrosides. While processing, mogrosides get separated from the juice of monk fruit and thus the sweetener doesn’t have glucose or fructose.
Weight management and monk fruit sweetener
Monk fruit sweetener is said to be useful if you want to lose weight. As it is contains zero calories it helps reduce the total intake of calories. However, there are no studies to look at the effects of monk fruit on weight. The studies on other kinds of low calorie sweeteners suggest that there may be a little reduction in body weight.
Health benefits of monk fruit sweetener
A type of mogroside called mogroside V is the main part of the monk fruit sweetener. 30% of the product is made of it and it is responsible for the sweetness of the sweetener. It is known to have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The health benefits offered by it are:
Antioxidant effects and anti-inflammatory effects
Being antioxidant in nature the mogroside extracts fight the damage caused by free radicals in the body. It has anti-inflammatory properties that offer health benefits such as prevention of cancer and reduction of complications in diabetes.
Animal studies show that the extract of monk fruit inhibits the growth of cancer cells. However, things are still unclear about it.
As monk fruit sweetener has 0 calories and carbs in it, it does not raise the levels of blood sugar. Thus, it is great for those having diabetes. Studies in diabetic mice say that monk fruit extract helps in lowering the levels of blood sugar. When those mice were fed with the extract, they displayed lower oxidative stress, reduced levels of blood sugar and an increase in the good cholesterol levels.
There is a need of more research
Even though mogroside extracts from monk fruit have a lot of health benefits, there is a need for more research. Till date the studies have been conducted on supplements of monk fruit extract that are more concentrated than what you would consume as a sweetener. So, it isn’t clear what dosage people need to consume in order to enjoy the health benefits.
Is it safe to consume monk fruit sweetener?
There aren’t enough studies to support the fact that monk fruit sweetener is safe. But this doesn’t mean that the sweetener is harmful. Monk fruit has been used as a food for 100s o years and no negative side effect of it has been reported. So, it is safe.
The bottom line
In spite of the fact that more research is needed, monk fruit sweetener is said to be safe and healthy. It is natural and calorie free and has health benefits to offer.
Hope you liked reading this post on Monk Fruit Sweetener!
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