Monk Fruit Sweetener: A Diabetic’s Saving Grace?

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When you have diabetes, all your favorite stuff in your diet has been eliminated from your menu, especially cakes, cookies, pies, and ice cream… how frustrating! So what is a diabetic to do when that sweet tooth is craving some sugar?

Of all the sweeteners on the market today, plain white sugar is the most commonly used, but it has a bad reputation. However, many replacement sweeteners are just as bad, if not worse, than plain white sugar. A report from claims that even one artificially-sweetened beverage per day could significantly increase the risk for health problems.

Now comes Monk Fruit. This small fruit, rarely seen in the wild anymore, grows on a vine much like melons, and it’s native to Thailand and southern China. The sweetness comes from a compound called mogroside. It’s claimed that mogrosides actually lower blood sugar levels in the body. When picked, Monk Fruit begins to ferment rapidly, developing some very unpleasant flavors. Rapid drying salvages the fruit and gets rid of most of the unpleasant flavors, but not all. This has restricted its use. Some people only employ it as a possible treatment of colds, sore throats, and lung congestion, usually in a tea infusion.


Photo: Facebook/Lakanto

Because of the extreme sweetness, in 1965 researchers at Proctor and Gamble developed a process to remove the undesired flavors and produce a puree that could be used in food processing. Since then, other companies have followed suit, developing extracts from Monk Fruit.

This unbelievable substitute for sugar won’t raise blood sugar levels. In the pure and powdered form, it contains no calories, and there aren’t any known negative side effects. According to Keri Glassman, M.S., R.D.N., its glycemic index is measured at zero. However, remember that even though you can use a sugar substitute, consuming anything sweet can add to a craving for sugars.


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