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Is Monk Fruit Healthy Or Just A Fad?

Is Monk Fruit Healthy Or Just A Fad?

  • October 30, 2021
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Sugar is almost inevitable in our modern society, but it has a huge impact on our health. That is why many are looking for sugar alternatives. However, many calorie-free and artificial sweeteners are no better than sugar itself.

Monk fruit extract is an alternative sweetener. It’s low in calories and can be a great choice for those who avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners (in moderation, of course).

What is monk fruit?

Monk fruit (Siraitia grosvenorii), also known as Luo Han Guo fruit, is native to Southeast Asia – mainly Thailand and southern China.

This small Asian orange fruit with a sweet flesh got its name because it was cultivated mainly by Buddhist monks as early as the 13th century AD

Currently, China only produces monk fruit extract. The export of the whole fruit has been banned since 2004. For this reason, and the fact that monk fruits disintegrate too quickly to be stored, Americans are unlikely to taste them fresh.

Is Monk Fruit Extract Safe?

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes monk fruit extract as Generally Safe (GRAS). There was no research that indicated any concerns.

However, research is still in its infancy. Asians have used monk fruit for centuries, but monk fruit extract is relatively new. We are not yet aware of any long-term side effects.

In small amounts, this sweetener is probably fine. Even so, I would be wary of using it to replace sugar in the amount that many Americans would.

Instead, use it as a tool to cut down on total sugar consumption along with allulose and stevia. If you are struggling with a sweet tooth, check out these seven ways to stop sugar cravings.

Is Monk Fruit Healthy?

Our taste buds love monk fruit extract because it’s 250 times sweeter than sugar. Our waists love it because it’s low in calories, carbohydrates, and sugar.

Compounds, including antioxidants such as Mogroside V, produce a sweet taste with no sugar. Mogrosides metabolize differently than simple sugars and do not take them up during digestion.

Monk fruit extract is a concentrated natural sweetener that contains these compounds. It can be very low in calories or completely free of calories (depending on how it is processed and what it is combined with.)

No wonder so many people enjoy this healthy alternative sweetener.

Health Benefits of Monk Fruit

A low-calorie natural sweetener isn’t the only benefit of monk fruit extract. Studies are starting to find many other reasons to use it.

Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory

Research shows inflammation causes many diseases today. Diseases include diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Monk fruits contain compounds that act as antioxidants, fight inflammation, and possibly protect against these diseases. This makes sense because many fruits and vegetables are good sources of antioxidants.

But monk fruits have unique antioxidants that other fruits don’t (the mogrosides mentioned above). A study published in the Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research found that the mogrosides in monk fruit may help reduce the oxidative stress associated with diabetes.

Supports healthy weight and weight loss

It seems obvious that a calorie-free sweetener could help with weight problems, but that’s not always the case. For example, artificial sweeteners increase blood sugar levels and can also increase weight gain.

However, monk fruit extract can help keep weight in check. When obese mice were fed monk fruit mogrosides, they had weight loss as control mice. Researchers believe this is due to improved fat metabolism and antioxidant defenses.

Protects against diabetes

There is a lot of research showing that monk fruit can help keep blood sugar levels healthy. This is because it is a low glycemic sweetener.

In traditional Chinese medicine, monk fruit has been used to treat diabetes for centuries. Modern science supports this use.

A study in the British Journal of Medicine found that monk fruit extract may help reduce symptoms and the pathological response of people with diabetes. Rats had an improved insulin response and reduced blood sugar levels. It even helped support kidney function!

In addition, some research suggests that monk fruit mogrosides may help improve immune function in people with diabetes. A Chinese study published in 2006 found that in mice consuming mogrosides protects against diabetes-induced immune dysfunction.

Can protect against cancer

Cancer is a disease that is strongly linked to oxidative stress. Since monk fruit is a good source of antioxidants that help reduce oxidative stress, it makes sense that monk fruit extract can also help fight cancer.

In addition, research also supports this theory:

  • A study in Life Sciences claims that monk fruits have a protein that has anti-cancer properties.
  • A study in mice with cancer found that monk fruit extract inhibited the growth of cancer cells (colorectal and throat). It also slowed tumor growth.
  • A study on two breast cancer cell lines found a compound found in monk fruit to have anti-cancer properties. This compound inhibited breast cancer cells by increasing cell turnover.

While we need more research, these results are very promising.

Read this post to learn more about the link between sugar and cancer.


According to a study published in the Journal of Asian Natural Product Research, this sweetener is also antimicrobial. Hence, it can be beneficial for those suffering from bacterial or yeast overgrowth in the intestines. It’s definitely better than regular table sugar.

How does monk fruit extract taste?

It can taste differently depending on how the extract is processed. As a general rule, the more processed it is, the sweeter and bland it will be.

Some describe this sweetener as having a mild, fruity taste. Some think it has a strong aftertaste, while others think the aftertaste is less noticeable than that of Splenda or Stevia. Of course, personal preferences are very different.

If you use too much it becomes bitter, but with a different flavor profile than stevia.

Monk fruits don’t cause the same digestive problems as some sugar alcohols (like xylitol or erythritol). This makes it a better choice for some people.

How to use monk fruit extract

Monk fruit extract comes in several forms, so always check the recipe you are using for the form you are using. Many labels only say “Monk fruit sweetness” on the front. You need to read the back for ingredients. Here are the three main forms:

Monk fruit extract powder

If you have digestive issues or an autoimmune disease, I highly recommend trying monk fruit extract powder in some of your AIP recipes. However, the main thing that you need to know is that all you need is a pinch of it. It’s so incredibly sweet that more than that ruins a dish.

Monk fruit white sugar substitute

If you are just starting to reduce the amount of sugar you consume and that of your family, you will stop using. love Monk fruit combined with erythritol. (I get it from Thrive Market.) Most recipes swap it out for white sugar at a 1: 1 ratio, which makes it easier to use.

However, erythritol comes from corn. So, if you have problems with corn or are on an elimination diet, this form may not be the best choice for you.

You can use this extract just like sugar (baking, cooking, etc.). Be sure to read the instructions for the correct amount.

Liquid monk fruit

Another way to use monk fruit is to use it in liquid form. This can work well in AIP recipes as well. I prefer to use it in teas, especially bitter ones like chasteberry. I turn it with stevia as I try not to consume something every day. (Rotation is the key to good health.)

You can find monk fruit extract at many health food stores as well as online. Many of the monk fruit sweeteners do not only contain monk fruit. Some contain additives and artificial sweeteners, so check the label.

Final thoughts on monk fruit

Our western diet drowns us in added sugar! While our children may love our sugar-soaked company, it is up to us to find a better way to feed our bodies. Monk fruit extract is a great alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners for your health. In fact the only one Grain that my family eats is sweetened by (you guessed it) monk fruit!

After reading the science and studies, I believe monk fruit extract is a safe and healthy choice for my family.

This article has been medically reviewed by Dr. Ann Shippywho is a Certified Internal Medicine Physician and a Certified Functional Medicine Physician with a thriving practice in Austin, Texas. As always, this is not a personal medical advice and we encourage you to speak to your doctor.

Do you use any sugar alternatives? Have you tried monk fruit extract? Let us know your thoughts below!

  1. Harvard Health Publishing. (nd). Inflammation: A Unifying Theory Of Disease.
  2. Xu, Q., Chen, S., Deng, L., Feng, L., Huang, L. and Yu, R. (2013). Antioxidant effects of mogrosides against palmitic acid-induced oxidative stress in mouse insulinoma NIT-1 cells. Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research, 46 (11), 949-955. doi: 10.1590 / 1414-431 × 20133163 Retrieved from
  3. Suzuki, YA, Tomoda, M., Murata, Y., Inui, H., Sugiura, M., & Nakano, Y. (2007). Antidiabetic effects of long-term supplementation with Siraitia grosvenori on the spontaneously diabetic Goto-Kakizaki rat. British Journal of Nutrition, 97 (4), 770-775. doi: 10.1017 / s0007114507381300 Retrieved from
  4. Effects of mogroside extract on cellular immune functions in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. (nd).
  5. Inflammation, oxidative stress and cancer. (2016). Free radical biology and medicine.
  6. Tsang, K. & Ng, T. (2001). Isolation and characterization of a new ribosome-inactivating protein, momorgrosvin, from seeds of the monk fruit Momordica grosvenorii. Life Sciences, 68 (7), 773-784.
  7. Liu, C., Dai, L., Liu, Y., Rong, L., Dou, D., Sun, Y. and Ma, L. (2016). Antiproliferative activity of triterpene glycoside nutrient from monk fruit in colon cancer and larynx cancer. Nutrients, 8 (6), 360.
  8. Lan, T., Wang, L., Xu, Q., Liu, W., Jin, H., Mao, W.,. . . Wang, X. (2013). Growth-inhibiting effect of cucurbitacin E on breast cancer cells.
  9. Zheng, Y., Liu, Z., Ebersole, J. & Huang, CB (2009). A new antibacterial compound made from Luo Han Kuo fruit extract (Siraitia grosvenori). Journal of Asian Natural Products Research, 11 (8), 761-765.
  10. Zhang, X., Song, Y., Ding, Y., Wang, W., Liao, L., Zhong, J.,. . . Xie, W. (2018). Effects of mogrosides on high fat diet-induced obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in mice. Molecules, 23 (8).

Thank You For Reading!


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