When it comes to sugar, we know that there’s little good that comes from putting it in our bodies and a whole lotta bad (putting it on your body is a whole other story). So what are the alternatives for those of us who like life a little sweeter?
I’ve tried stevia, and though it pairs well with certain flavours, its bitter aftertaste is cringeworthy. Luckily, I found an alternative to both sugar + stevia: monk fruit sugar! Monk fruit is a small, sweet melon native to SE Asia that gets its name from Buddhist monks who prized it for its sweetness + medicinal properties. Monk fruit’s sweetness comes from antioxidants called mogrosides that are 200x sweeter than sugar.
Monk fruit sugar pros
In addition to containing antioxidants, monk fruit extract contains zero carbs, zero calories is zero-glycemic and has no known negative side effects (it’s generally recognized as safe/GRAS by the FDA and has been used safely for centuries by Asians with no ill effects). And while studies show that monk fruit has antioxidant potential, further animal research indicates that it also has the potential to help control blood sugar. So there’s a huge potential upside to using monkfruit as a sweetener as it can help with weight loss, blood sugar control and reducing oxidative stress.
Monk fruit sugar cons
But there are some cons to consider with monk fruit: it can be expensive (454 grams cost me $7.50) and hard to find, and some brands have a fruity aftertaste. And watch out for manufacturers who try to cut the sweetness of monk fruit with high glycemic index sugars like dextrose or maltodextrin. Most monk fruit sugar is made from the fruit extract itself + at least 1 other type of sugar, so check for other ingredients before you buy. I like Krisda brand, as it has just 2 ingredients: monk fruit extract and erythritol (a natural sugar found in fruits + veggies). It tastes great, it’s GMO free and has no aftertaste, but those with GI issues like IBS may want to avoid erythritol as it can cause gas and bloating. Always talk with your doctor or registered dietitian to make the healthiest choices for you as an individual.
I’m excited about this natural sugar alternative. I’m looking forward to more human studies on monk fruit extract’s antioxidant and anti-diabetic potential. But for now, I’m just happy I’ve found a much healthier and better tasting way to indulge my sweet tooth.
Full disclosure: I’m in no way affiliated with Krisda and was not compensated in any form for my positive take on their product, I simply met a nice lady at the grocery store who told me how much she liked it and what a difference it made for her as a diabetic trying to make healthier choices.