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Monk fruit sweeteners have been a profound game-changer in the zero-calorie sweeteners market as they are enormously versatile and highly nutritious. Although tread with caution! Monk fruit is far sweeter than regular table sugar, so reading the package label is imperative.
While most monk fruit sweetener brands are perfectly suited to diabetics since they do not have a glycaemic effect, some monk fruit sweetener brands designed for baking purposes contain additives like maltodextrin that should be consumed in moderation to avoid potentially harmful blood sugar spikes.
The best monk fruit sweeteners are adaptable and predominantly blended with erythritol to emulate the taste and texture of authentic sugar. Perfect for sweetening beverages, sauces, candies, and baked goods. Leading brands include Lakanto, Monk Fruit In The Raw, Splenda, SweetLeaf, and Whole Earth.
With so many competing monk fruit sweeteners on the market, it is often difficult to find a brand that will satiate your sweet tooth and meet your lifestyle needs. To complicate matters even further, you might be able to use your monk fruit sweetener for a delicious cup of coffee, but not your breakfast pancakes.
So, I have decided to share my tried and tested list of the five best monk fruit sweeteners that will transform your sweet treats into guilt-free, nutritious delights.
- How Are Monk Fruit Sweeteners Produced?
- What Are The Best Monk Fruit Sweeteners On The Market?
The Profound Health Benefits Of Monk Fruit Sweeteners
- What Are The Core Health Benefits Of Monk Fruit Sweeteners?
- Why Are Monk Fruit Sweeteners Globally Classified As Safe?
- Monk Fruit Sweeteners For Toddlers & Older Children
- Monk Fruit Sweetener Consumption During A Pregnancy
- Is Munk Fruit Consumption Beneficial For Type 2 Diabetics?
- Monk Fruit Sweeteners And Weight Loss Management
- Will Monk Fruit Sweeteners Increase My Appetite?
- Does Monk Fruit Improve Gut Health?
- Monk Fruit Sweeteners Usage Tips & Tricks
- What Is The Best Monk Fruit Sweetener?
How Are Monk Fruit Sweeteners Produced?
Monk fruit (Siraitia grosvenorii) which is commonly known as a single fruit, or “lo han guo,” is a small-sized green fruit native to Southeast Asia in China that has been cultivated by Buddhists monks (hence the name) since the 13th century.
While monk fruit is widely enjoyed as a sweetener by health-conscious consumers today, it has been used in Eastern medicine as an herbal tea to treat colds in indigestion for centuries.
Monk fruit is not palatable in its raw, natural state and tends to have a short shelf-life; therefore, it must be processed.
The production process includes removing the hard monk fruit skin and seeds, following which it is crushed and filtered and separated into powdered and liquid sweeteners.
The extract is then blended with a sugar alcohol called erythritol (dextrose) or other ingredients to create a product that resembles sugar’s unique taste and texture.
Monk fruit sweeteners are incredibly popular. They are calory, fat, sodium, and carbohydrate-free and classified as a “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) sweetener by the FDA.
Like other zero-calorie sweeteners, e.g., stevia or sucralose, monk fruit is classed as a sugar substitute or a nonnutritive sweetener which is used as an intense sweetener for beverages, candies, and desserts.
What Are The Best Monk Fruit Sweeteners On The Market?
If you are looking for well-researched monk fruit sweeteners, look no further! Here are our top five best monk fruit sweeteners that have received rave reviews.
Just remember that monk fruit is a lot sweeter than other sugar substitutes, so rather use it sparingly if you don’t like overly sweet things.
If you are planning to use monk fruit sweeteners for baking, choose a versatile product or one specifically designed for that purpose.
Our top choice for the best monk fruit sweetener is Lakanto, as it’s an “all-rounder” that can be used as a sugar substitute for anything ranging from coffee, cookies, desserts to cakes.
Lekanto sources their GMO-free monk fruit directly from farms in the remote mountainous terrain of Guilin in China, where the fruit is cultivated in accordance with ancient farming techniques without the use of pesticides.
Lakanto has a vast array of products, including brown and powdered sugar options that are excellent sugar substitutes for vegans, including people who follow keto, paleo, low-sugar diets, or weight-loss programs.
The Lakanto Baking Sweetener tastes like sugar and has a similar texture. Due to its unique blend of chicory root inulin, cellulose gum, erythritol, tapioca fiber, you can simply substitute a recipe’s sugar quantities with Lakanto (cup-for-cup).
It’s also suited to people with diabetes who need to control their blood sugar levels as Lakanto products do not have any adverse glycemic effects once consumed.
But the best part is they now also offer guilt-free monk fruit-sweetened chocolate bars — what’s not to love!
This product distinguishes itself from other brands as its key ingredient is monk fruit, and it does not contain any molasses, natural flavorings, or table sugar.
Monk Fruit In The Raw offers convenient sweetener packets, including Bakers Bags that are keto-certified as they are blended with erythritol to thin out monk fruit’s overwhelming sweetness.
The packet sweeteners equate to approximately 2 Tsp sugar, while the Bakers Bag contents may be used on a one-for-one ratio (or cup for cup).
The Monk Fruit In The Raw baking product contains maltodextrin, which is used to reduce monk fruit’s overpowering sweetness to produce a vegan-friendly, gluten-free baking sugar substitute.
It’s important to note that any food-related additive may create sudden intolerances or allergies, and maltodextrin is no exception. It may result in cramping, rashes, or numerous other allergic reactions in extreme cases.
Maltodextrin consumption might also be problematic for people who suffer from insulin resistance or diabetes as its glycemic index (GI) is far higher than nutritive (table) sugar brands.
Consequently, people with diabetes should limit their intake of baked goods with maltodextrin as it may cause a dramatic increase in their blood sugar levels.
Splenda is predominantly recommended by healthcare practitioners treating patients with dietary-related ailments like diabetes.
It is an ideal sugar substitute for consumers who want a versatile natural sweetener blended with erythritol certified as a non-GMO product.
The Splenda monk fruit brand can be used to sweeten your beverages, oatmeal, and bake divine keto-friendly sweet treats that are great for your waistline.
It’s great for baking-enthusiasts, as you can simply substitute a recipe’s sugar quantities with Splenda — without suffering from the associated guilt of traditional sugar-laden indulgences.
This innovative monk fruit sweetener brand was awarded the editor’s pick award as the best new product in 2020 for a good reason.
SweetLeaf granulated sugars are available in various conveniently sized packages, so nothing will go to waste, and like all the other brands, it may be used to substitute sugar on a one-for-one basis.
However, what sets them apart from other monk fruit brands is that they offer flavored concentrated monk fruit sweeteners in liquid form in squeezable bottles to flavor anything ranging from your morning coffee to decadent candies.
The liquid monk fruit flavors include Strawberry-Guava and Old-Fashioned Lemonade to deliciously transform water, including French Vanilla and Caramel Macchiato to elevate your favorite morning brew.
The Whole Earth Monk Fruit Sweetener is also blended with erythritol. It is known as a fantastic sugar substitute, without any bitter or unpalatable aftertastes that other sweeteners tend to have.
While it is a little sweeter and more expensive than other Whole Earth products, most of the product reviews have been favorable.
The product is also available in various conveniently sized packages ranging from small packs and liquids to jars and large pouches that are also perfectly suited to baking or anything else you need to sweeten.
The Profound Health Benefits Of Monk Fruit Sweeteners
Monk fruit is a wholesome sweetener that offers a plethora of health benefits that you might find surprising – no wonder it has been used since the 13th century to cure all manner of ills.
So, let’s have a look at its nutritional benefits and why it has been categorized as a safe foodstuff by leading scientific bodies across the globe.
What Are The Core Health Benefits Of Monk Fruit Sweeteners?
Apart from monk fruit’s numerous benefits, including managing blood glucose levels and combatting obesity, it also offers powerful health benefits.
Monk fruit derives its intense sweet flavor from a compound called mogrosides which consists of a combination of mogrol and glucose (glycosides).
These mogrosides do not infiltrate the upper region of the gastrointestinal tract; however, when they enter the colon, gut microbial uses the glucose particles as a source of energy that is not calorific (unlike table sugar).
Mogrosides contain antioxidants which, according to the 2013 “Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research” study, may reduce the imbalance between free radicals and the body’s antioxidants.
Monk fruit is also suspected of containing anti-inflammatory properties which combat inflammatory diseases like Rheumatoid arthritis.
Why Are Monk Fruit Sweeteners Globally Classified As Safe?
The FDA’s decision to classify monk fruit sweeteners, including erythritol as “Generally Recognized As Safe” (GRAS) substances, was based on empirical evidence from food safety experts.
The European Food Safety Authority did not have sufficient data concerning monk fruit to classify it as safe in 2019. However, food safety authorities in New Zealand, Canada, Japan, and China have given monk fruit sweetener packets, in small quantities, “the green light.”
The Food Safety Authority in New Zealand classified monk fruit sweeteners as safe based on human clinical trial data that proved that consuming monk fruit extracts had no adverse side effects on people who took part in the trial.
While it is true that monk fruit is classified as safe by food safety authorities in 60 nations, it’s important to note that the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) amounts have not been ascertained for several credible reasons.
Although the ADI monk fruit amounts are vague, the adage of “everything in moderation” rings true.
Monk Fruit Sweeteners For Toddlers & Older Children
Although there have been no monk fruit clinical food safety trials with children, it had no ill effects on animal and adult test subjects.
The overriding advantage of monk fruit sweeteners for children is that in comparison with table sugar, it does not result in tooth decay or increased obesity which is a growing concern in the western world.
There has been a significant trend towards reducing sugar consumption, which is underscored by US research data proving that adults and children are increasingly consuming low-calorie sweetened beverages and foodstuffs.
While the American Heart Association (AHA) concurs that low-calorie sweetened beverages are beneficial for children with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, they advise against it for healthy children who do not suffer from obesity.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), 2020-2025 policy also advises against the consumption of low-calorie sweetened beverages for children under the age of two years old.
Though it must be said that the DGA policy was not concerned with pediatric obesity or diabetes, it was meant to prevent a predilection for excessively sweet foodstuffs in a young child’s formative years.
Monk Fruit Sweetener Consumption During A Pregnancy
While there is no clinical data to support the safe consumption of monk fruit sweeteners concerning pregnant or lactating mothers, there is a vast amount of research with animal test subjects that have proven its safety.
It is essential to note that in the clinical trial, animal test subjects were exposed to vast quantities of monk fruit over an extended period, without any adverse side effects for the mothers or their offspring.
Therefore, consuming monk fruit sweeteners as part of a balanced, nutritious diet is beneficial for expectant mothers and infants.
Is Munk Fruit Consumption Beneficial For Type 2 Diabetics?
There is no doubt that consuming monk fruit sweeteners in moderation can be enormously beneficial for people with diabetes who normally consume vast quantities of sugar-laden candies and beverages.
Although there is currently no published Type 2 diabetes research concerning monk fruit consumption, some research studies have found a link between consuming low-calorie sweeteners and potentially developing Type 2 diabetes.
It is important to stress that monk fruit consumption was not linked to the studies mentioned above concerning the risk of developing diabetes.
On a positive note — researchers conducted clinical trials on healthy young adults (without diabetes) in 2017. They found that their pre-and post-insulin and blood glucose levels did not differ when they consumed either monk fruit, aspartame, or stevia sweeteners.
This research is underpinned by the American Diabetes Association Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes guidelines, which state that nonnutritive sweeteners are beneficial in moderation to restrict a person’s calorie intake.
Similarly, the Diabetes Canada and the UK associations have also endorsed sweeteners in moderation for people with diabetes.
Monk Fruit Sweeteners And Weight Loss Management
There are currently no published observational research data (with human test subjects) concerning the link between weight management and the consumption of monk fruit sweeteners.
However, it is important to note that researchers surveyed over 400 National Weight Control Registry (NWCT) associates who have lost over 30 pounds and maintained their weight for over a year.
Fifty percent of the surveyed NWCT associates consumed beverages with low-calorie sweeteners, and 78% stated that it significantly aided them in maintaining their new weight.
While certain observational research studies have discovered a link between people who consume low-calorie sweeteners and weight gain, it’s imperative to note that there might be many credible reasons for that.
This weight gain linked to the consumption of low-calorie sweeteners could have numerous causes which have nothing to do with the sweeteners.
For example, overweight individuals might switch to beverages with low-calorie sweeteners without addressing other potential reasons for their weight gain.
If you would like to lose weight, it’s imperative to remember that substituting sugary treats with monk fruit sweeteners should only be a small component of your overall weight loss strategy.
It should be accompanied by lifestyle changes that include healthy eating, coupled with exercising.
Will Monk Fruit Sweeteners Increase My Appetite?
Delicious food that is enjoyable to consume and potentially high in calories triggers pleasurable or reward areas in the brain, which has led to the conclusion that if that response is not contained, it will lead to weight gain through overeating.
While low-calorie sweeteners like monk fruit may activate the same pleasurable pathways in the brain, they do not contain any calories.
There have also been several contradictory research findings with animal tests subjects concerning the link between low-calory sweeteners and an increased appetite. However, there is currently no robust scientific data to link low-calorie sweeteners with an increased appetite.
The results from a lesser-known 2017 clinical trial on 30 young adults proved that there was no causal link between their consumption of beverages that contained monk fruit sweeteners and an increased appetite.
Does Monk Fruit Improve Gut Health?
Gut microbiome research is still at “the starting blocks”; however, scientists have noted that our intestinal tract microbes play a significant role in our overall health.
With so many microbiome variations across populations, researchers have found it enormously difficult to distinguish between a healthy and an unhealthy gut microbiome. While it is a daunting task, they have noted that a person’s diet affects their gut microbiomes.
The great news is that there is no published data that proves that monk fruit (in its purest form) is harmful to your overall gut health, and there are some that would argue that it is beneficial.
Scientific papers ranging from 2019-2020 have all concluded that consuming moderate amounts of low-calorie sweeteners has a limited overall impact on gut microbiota.
However, it’s important to note that certain monk fruit baking brands contain maltodextrin which is a highly controversial monk fruit additive.
While human trials have not been conducted on how maltodextrin impacts our overall gut health, clinical trials with mice have noted an increase in harmful gut bacteria, which could lead to inflammatory bowel-related illnesses like gastroenteritis, or in severe cases, Crohn’s disease.
Monk Fruit Sweeteners Usage Tips & Tricks
Monk fruit sweeteners are predominantly available in either a granulated, powdered, or liquid form. While it might appear that you can simply use all monk fruit sweeteners on a one-to-one basis, that is not always the case, and you could end up with a mini kitchen disaster.
Baking with monk fruit sweeteners is a whole new ball game — no wonder it could be misconstrued with a scientific experiment!
Nutritive sugar in traditional recipes plays a vital part in the baking process as it bonds with liquids, creates a unique texture, and aids with moisture retention.
Table sugar also separates water from starches and proteins to create a robust structure and a satisfying crunch for cookies, brownies, and cakes.
On the flip side — monk fruit sweeteners are great if you know how to use them and are open to having a little fun experimenting with them at home.
So, here’s a quick user guide to path your way to decadent delights:
Granulated Monk Fruit Sweeteners
While granulated monk fruit sugar or baking bags are specifically designed for baking and may be used on a 1:1 basis to replace sugar (or coconut sugar), the end result might be a tad too sweet.
Although, as with normal sugar, it would be prudent to initially use less than the suggested amount and gradually increase your monk fruit sweetener quantity until you find “the sweet spot” (excuse the pun!).
Powdered Monk Fruit Sweeteners
Powdered monk fruit sweeteners are perfect if you want to create silky glazes, including delicious buttercream frosting, or for any other recipe that requires powdered sugar.
Liquid Monk Fruit Sweeteners
Try a liquid monk fruit brand like SweetLeaf’s delicious French Vanilla or Caramel Macchiato flavors if you need to sweeten a hot beverage. Alternatively, use them to create decadent vegan desserts and morish mousses.
Above all else — remember to read the sweetener package label in conjunction with your recipe and have fun creating sweet indulgences that are, in essence, good for you!
What Is The Best Monk Fruit Sweetener?
Monk fruit sweeteners have not been on the market for long compared to established low-calorie sweeteners that have been scrutinized in clinical trials. Therefore, its true impact on chronic illnesses like diabetes and obesity requires an in-depth scientific review.
Although it must be said that monk fruit has been used for centuries in Asia for medicinal purposes, without any harmful side effects, and it’s only a matter of time before it receives the scientific kudos it so richly deserves.