Monk fruit and stevia are the latest buzz-worthy candidates for your morning cup of coffee or tea. Both have pros and cons, but is one better for you?
Monk fruit is a small, green gourd that resembles a melon. It’s grown in Southeast Asia. The fruit was first used by Buddhist monks in the 13th century, hence the fruit’s unusual name.
Fresh monk fruit doesn’t store well and isn’t appealing. Monk fruit is usually dried and used to make medicinal teas. Monk fruit sweeteners are made from the fruit’s extract. They may be blended with dextrose or other ingredients to balance sweetness.
Monk fruit extract is 150 to 200 times
sweeter than sugar. The extract contains zero calories, zero carbohydrates, zero sodium, and zero fat. This makes it a popular sweetener alternative for manufacturers who make low-calorie products and for the consumers who eat them.
In the United States, sweeteners made from monk fruit are classified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as “generally recognized as safe,” or GRAS.