The other day we talked about Stevia, the “hot” new sugar alternative…several years ago.
Well, Stevia, take a back seat – there’s a new darling sugar alternative in town.
Over the last year or two, Monk Fruit Sweetener has started to emerge. Long used in China, monk fruit sweetener is actually known as luo han guo and has started to emerge in many foods and as a stand alone product. We’ve seen it in some protein powders, chocolate milk, ice creams and Greek yogurt.
It’s also sold as a stand alone product – both as Monk Fruit in the Raw and under the brand name, Nectresse. I have also seen it in health food stores and supplement stores under its other name “Luo Han Guo.”
Same thing (almost) – Nectresse is blended with erythritol (a sugar alcohol) and molasses and Monk Fruit in the Raw is blended with a bit of dextrose (sugar).
Like Stevia, the small fruit that is native to China would be eating it in it’s “natural” state. It then becomes concentrated through a variety of processes and manufacturing until it’s used in foods.
Is Monk Fruit Sweetener Safe?
From all we’ve seen, monk fruit sweetener is safe and to our knowledge, there are no negative side effects that have shown up in the research world.
The other benefit is that it’s void of that same bitter aftertaste that stevia is known for.
Monk fruit sweetener is about 200-300 times sweeter than sugar. The other major benefit is that you should be able to use it as a substitute for traditional sugar in equal ratio. In other words, if a recipe calls for 1/2 cup of sugar, you can substitute 1/2 cup of Monk Fruit sweetener.
We admittedly have not personally tried this, so are speaking from what we’ve heard from others. Try it out and let us know. We’ll do the same.
Do Sugar Alternatives Trigger Cravings?
This is certainly a concern and a lot of research is underway looking at some of the more common artificial sweeteners to determine if they trigger cravings. Just like sugar should be limited, so should sugar alternatives.
None of them offer any worthwhile nutrition …
… so be cautious about overusing any of them, regardless of the color of the packet or how “natural” they’re said to be.
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