Monk fruit, or luo han guo, is a subtropical melon that originated in the mountains of Southern China. Monk fruit juice is twenty times sweeter than regular fruit juice, and 150-250 times sweeter than table sugar.
This sweetness is caused by the naturally occurring antioxidants found in the fruit, called mogrosides. Monk fruit sweeteners have become increasingly popular in recent years as more and more individuals are choosing to eat less sugar.
Legend has it that this fruit got its name from the Buddhist monks who first cultivated it almost eight centuries ago.
Monk fruit sweetener is extracted from the fruit. The skin and seeds are removed, and the remainder is crushed to collect the juice (the concentrate). After the juice is dried into a powder, it’s turned into various forms (granules, powders, and liquids) for consumption. Sometimes the monk fruit extract is “diluted” with other low-calorie sweeteners like inulin and erythritol to make the sweetness less intense.
Pure monk fruit extract is safe to consume and is FDA-approved. The FDA certified monk fruit sweetener as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) over a decade ago. This certification only goes to the most highly tested and approved ingredients.
Yes, monk fruit sweeteners are safe for children. Monk fruit sweetened foods are a great replacement for the rising amount of processed food containing high amounts of added sugar that contribute to childhood obesity, diabetes, and cavities. Currently, there is no recommended daily intake of monk fruit sweeteners for children.
If you’re looking to decrease your daily sugar intake, but want to avoid artificial sweeteners, monk fruit extract can be a great addition to your diet. Studies have not found any negative health effects from consuming monk fruit, nor have any side effects been reported. Monk fruit sweeteners are 100% naturally derived—no “fake stuff.”
Research on monk fruit sweeteners is relatively scarce compared to other, low-calorie sweeteners because monk fruit rose in popularity only recently. However, Asian cultures have used monk fruit extract for centuries for its medicinal properties, and continue to do so.
Curious about monk fruit? We use monk fruit sweetener to add a touch of sweetness to our Cacao + Sea Salt Sprouted Almonds from Daily Crunch Snacks. You can also purchase them wholesale, or in mini packs that are perfect as an on-the-go snack.
Looking for ways to spice up your meal prep game? Try these recipes for meal prep to eat healthy, nutritious make-head meals all week long.