Let’s be honest guys, no amount of willpower can make a person completely cut down on sugar. We all have a soft spot when it comes to sweet things. What’s more, it’s not even a good idea to eliminate sugar from your diet entirely. In fact, natural sugar is actually good for you and you should consume some amount of it on a daily basis. Actually, it’s the highly-processed sugar that’s bad for our health, so replacing it with natural sugar alternatives is a good idea. And one of the simplest and safest ways to substitute artificial sugar in your drinks, cookies and other foods is with the amazing monk fruit sugar sweetener.
What is Monk Fruit?
Monk fruit sugar substitute has been around for decades, however, it was just recently that it became so popular among people. Also known as luo han guo or ‘Buddha fruit‘, monk fruit is a small and round fruit, grown in Southeast Asia. The monk fruit sweetener is created by removing the seeds and the skin of the fruit, after which they are crushed in order to obtain the juice. Once done, the juice is dried into a concentrated powder that can be used as a sugar alternative.
While it contains lots of natural sugars like glucose and fructose, it is the antioxidants called mogrosides that give monk fruit powder its intense sweetness. Compared to traditional sugar, monk fruit sugar is 100-250 times sweeter. Yum! And best of all, it has zero calories. This way, you can treat your sweet tooth without having to worry about gaining weight.
Benefits of Monk Fruit
It’s Good for Weight Loss
Since it contains no calories, it is recommended to use a monk fruit sugar substitute to aid your weight loss. In fact, a lot of people suggest that switching to this alternative can help reduce the total calorie intake. However, you should not expect any miracles as it is believed that using zero or low-calorie sweeteners can only result in a modest weight loss of less than 1kg. For losing a significant amount of weight and having incredible results, you will need to eat clean and exercise on a regular basis.
It Has Antioxidant Effects
As I’ve mentioned, monk fruit sweetener contains mogrosides which in addition to boosting sweetness also have amazing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. As a result, using this sweetener can help inhibit certain harmful molecules and thus prevent damage to your DNA.
It Has Anti-Cancer Properties
Research on animals suggests that monk fruit extract inhibits cancer cell growth. Some studies made on mice have proved that this sweetener inhibits the effects on skin tumours in mice. Additionally, the mogrosides also have the power to suppress the growth of leukemia cells.
It Has Anti-Diabetes Properties
Since this sweetener contains zero calories, it goes without saying that it won’t raise blood sugar levels. This makes it a safe option for those of you who have diabetes. In other words, monk fruit has a glycemic index GI of zero, causing no spike in the blood sugar levels. On the other hand, artificial sugar has a high GI score of 68 and causes a rapid spike in blood sugar which is not safe even for perfectly healthy people.
Additionally, some studies made on mice suggest that this sweetener might even help reduce blood sugar levels. What’s more, mice which were given monk sweetener have shown lower oxidative stress and a beneficial increase in good cholesterol (HDL) levels. However, you should keep in mind that these benefits can be obtained by consuming 100% pure monk fruit sweetener, not the blended kind.
Is It Safe?
This fruit and the natural sweetener derived from it have been used for centuries. And today, there are no registered side effects of its consumption by humans.
Who Can Benefit from It?
While it’s highly beneficial for people with diabetes and those who are on a weight loss journey, the truth is that this natural sweetener can be consumed by anyone. Whether you’re a vegan, paleo, Keto diet follower or simply a general health-conscious consumer, consider giving this sweetener a try.
How to Substitute Monk Fruit for Sugar?
- When used as a coffee or tea sweetener, you can add a small sprinkle of monk fruit sweetener instead of a spoonful of honey or sugar.
- When in need of a sweet oatmeal or yoghurt breakfast, you can add a sprinkle of this sweetener in it. If not sure whether this will be enough, it’s recommended to taste it before adding more.
- When used as a baking sugar substitute, you will need less of this natural sweetener than you do regular sugar. For instance, 1 cup of sugar is equal to 1tsp of this natural sweetener.
- When craving for soda but wanting to stay healthy, you can always add a small spoonful of this sweetener into a glass of carbonated water. This would be enough to satisfy your sweet soda cravings.
- And when it’s smoothie time, you can always add a pinch of sweetness by sprinkling a little bit of monk fruit sweetener. Make sure you add it together with the fruit, yoghurt and ice and blend it well before drinking it.