What is Monk Fruit...and What Can It Do For Me?

This past July marked the seven year anniversary of the FDA's decision to approve the use of monk fruit in food and beverages.

You may or may not have noticed, but the fruit, whose juice is extracted and dried into a sweetener has slowly, quietly worked it's way into our lives. You can even find it in some local grocery stores, and of course you'll always be able to pick some up here at Well Within.

But, what is this magical substance, commonly known as lo han guo? And what makes it so special?

Let's take a look.

Monk fruit sweetener is derived from a small round fruit that is grown mostly in Southeast Asia. Residents of China, Japan and Singapore have been using it for centuries as a digestive aid, but it's only in the past 15-20 years that it has been used to sweeten foods and beverages.

How sweet is it, you ask?

Try around 150-300 times sweeter than sugar.

The real kicker, however, is that it contains ZERO calories per serving. Contrast that with sugar itself (16 calories per/tsp) and other sugar substitutes, such as agave (20 per/tsp), honey (20 per/tsp) and xylitol (10 per/tsp). 

Since it's a no-calorie sweetener, this makes it a perfect sweetener for diabetics, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and even children!

For more info on monk fruit, check out this helpful guide from the International Food Information Council Foundation.