What Is Monk Fruit Sugar?

What Is Monk Fruit Sugar?

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I admit it! I love sugar! And anything sweet. But as I am also on a keto diet, and a lot of my normal fruit intake is limited, I have found monk fruit sugar as a beautiful sugar-free alternative.

Buddhist monks first discovered Monk fruit in China in the 13th century. Though it has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries, it has only been the last while that they have figured out how to extract the sweet sugar properties from the monk fruit so it could be used as a sugar substitute.

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Why I Love Monk Fruit Sugar!

I love sugar, and anything I make, I do not want it to taste sugar-free or have a bad aftertaste. That is why I love monk fruit sugar and have used monk fruit sugar in a lot of my recipes. If you are like me and trying to cut out sugar, monk fruit sugar is like a gift from the gods. Or, as some Chinese say – the fruit of the immortals.

Monk fruit sugar is from a small green round melon fruit grown on a vine in China and Thailand. The scientific name is siraitia grosvenorii.

Monk Fruit is also used for medicine in Vietnam, so I asked someone to get me some to see it personally. Below is a photo of a dried monk fruit. The inner part is the sweet part; the Chinese and Vietnamese will often boil this if they are sick. I had them boil it for me, and it did not taste bad. It tasted a lot like hot sugar water.

A Bit Of Monk Fruit History

Knowing a bit about anything you put into your mouth is always good. Monk Fruit has a fascinating history.

Monk Fruit And the Buddhist Monks

The monk fruit is first known to appear in Chinese records during the 13th century when some Chinese monks discovered this sweet fruit in the Guilin mountains of Guangxi Province, China. As the monk fruit is quite challenging to grow, it never made it into the mainstream of Chinese medicine, but it can still be found in many parts of China and Vietnam today.

These 13th-century Chinese monks understood this monk fruit was something special. it was able to sweeten their food while, at the same time, it was said to have special healing properties. Traditional Chinese medicine uses monk fruit for a cough and sore throat. My Chinese staff told me that today they boil the monk fruit to make soup or hot drinks if they are getting a sore throat or cold.

The monk fruit was also thought to be an aid to help with longevity and long life. This is why it also has the names of the immortals’ fruit. 

Many call monk fruit the immortals’ fruit because some believe it gives them longevity. In the part of China where the monk fruit is grown and used, many residents in the locality live to be over 100 years old.

These 13th Chinese monks and the people in this area gave the monk fruit its name. In Vietnam, the fruit is called “quả la hán,” which means Buddhist fruit or longevity fruit.

National Geographics And Monk Fruit

Dr. George Weidman Groff was a professor at Lingnan University in Guangdong. China in the early 1930s. He was up in Guilin Province in China to do an agricultural survey when he came across the monk fruit or, as the Chinese call it “luo han guo” (罗汉果), which translates means monk fruit. Dr. Groff had been looking for this monk fruit for quite some time as he had heard about this mysterious, sweet fruit.

In 1937 the National Geographic Society gave a grant to Dr. George Weidman Groff, to go into the heartland of Guangxi Province, China, to find this mysterious monk fruit. He obtained some photographs of the fruit and returned some samples to the National Geographic Society in the United States.

Bringing Monk Fruit Sugar To Market

Even though monk fruit has been part of Chinese medicine for thousands of years, the sugary commercial version is relatively new to the market. This is because the actual monk fruit had some interfering flavors that rendered the monk fruit completely useless to be used as a sweetener or sugar alternative.

The Japanese started to look at how they could extract sugar from the fruit. In 1995, Procter and Gamble patented a process to get rid of these interfering flavors so the sugars from the fruit could be extracted and used.

It was not until much later that the monk fruit could be grown commercially and processed into the monk fruit sugar that we have today. One reason is that the fruit is challenging to grow and does not grow much in the wild. The fruit is hard to harvest as it grows mainly on the hillsides and has particular temperature requirements.

To learn more about monk fruit and how it is processed into sugar, you can watch this very informative video by Lakanto.


8 Reasons Why We Love The Monk Fruit Sugar

Are you looking for a low-calorie, natural sweetener that tastes just like sugar? Then look no further than monk fruit sugar! Monk fruit is an amazing sweetener that has been gaining popularity recently due to its wide range of health benefits.

Not only does it contain zero calories and carbs, but it also contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. Even better, its sweetness comes from naturally occurring compounds that make monk fruit sugar perfect for anyone with dietary restrictions or those striving for a healthier lifestyle.

Read on to find out more about this fantastic sugar!

Here is the reason why we love the monk fruit sugar:

  • Zero Calories – Monk Fruit has zero calories. This is similar to other sugar substitutes like Stevia, but Monk Fruit is more like regular sugar.
  • Natural Sugar – Monk fruit is considered a natural sugar as the sugar is extracted from an ancient Chinese fruit called the monk fruit.
  • No bad aftertaste – Some sweeteners have an aftertaste to them. No matter what you do, you always know it is a sweetener, and things do not taste as good as real sugar. I find that monk fruit does not have a bad aftertaste.
  • Sweeter than sugar – Monk fruit is about 100 to 300 times sweeter than sugar, so I just need to use a bit of it. Even if the package says you can use it 1:1 as regular sugar, I still find the natural taste of it sweeter than regular white sugar.
  • Gluten-Free – Monk fruit is 100% gluten-free. And YES, it can be used on a Keto diet.
  • Vegan – Monk fruit is also 100% vegan.
  • Non-GMO – Lakanto’s monk sugar is not genetically modified, which makes it a great natural choice for a sugar substitute. Many of the other Monk Fruit Sugars you buy are the same.
  • Healthy sugar alternative – If anyone has ever eaten sugar-free candy as I have, then the bloating about an hour or so later. Gas and diarrhea will start; you know that not all sugar-free alternatives are equal, and some are just downright unhealthy. I have never had this problem with monk fruit, so I find it to be an excellent, healthy, sugar-free alternative.

Monk fruit obtains its sweetness not from its natural sugar but because of the natural antioxidants that monk fruit contains. 

Where To Buy Monk Fruit Sugar

There are many places you can buy monk fruit. Many grocery stores and online platforms now carry it. We like to buy it from Walmart.com, which offers a very good price. You can learn more about buying monk fruit sugar from Walmart.com by clicking here.

Other White Sugar Alternatives

f we do not use a sugar-like monk fruit sugar, here are two other sugars I also use:

  • Cane Sugar – Cane sugar is a sugar that is produced from sugarcane. It is still sugar but less refined and better for you than regular white sugar. I like to use cane sugar in my ice cream as it gives it an almost caramel taste. If you do not want to use monk fruit sugar, you can consider using sugarcane for the same proportions but know that cane sugar is still a sugar, and you can not have it on a keto diet.
  • Coconut Sugar – Coconut Sugar is another kind of sugar that is extracted from coconuts. Unlike white sugar, coconut sugar does contain some nutrients, so it is thought to be slightly better for you than white sugar.

Both cane and coconut sugars are better than regular white sugar for your health, but they also have calories, and they are not sugar-free. Whereas monk fruit sugar has zero calories.

I have found Monk Fruit sugar to be a better sugar alternative for me than Stevia. I have used Stevia a lot in the past, but I have found the taste of monk fruit sugar to be a better alternative to stevia.

Advice On Baking And Other Sweets With Monk Fruit Sugar

I have found that Monk Fruit has done very well in a Chocolate Mousse recipe. I hardly noticed any difference between my monk fruit sugar-free chocolate mousse recipe and the one I made with regular white sugar. When I served it for a dinner party, my guests also did not notice it and what was great about it was that it was a 100% Keto chocolate mousse.

I have also used it to make some cheesecake with an almond flour crust. The cheesecake turned out very well. Good enough that I could make it again and serve it to dinner guests.

When I used monk fruit sugar with my ice cream recipe and my ice cream was very good but it froze rock solid. So it is lovely to use as long as you understand the ice cream and monk fruit sugar.

I tried to make my Swedish Grandmother’s brownies with monk fruit sugar, and I would have to say that I failed, so I am still working on that recipe.

So even though monk fruit sugar advertises on the package that it can be used just like sugar, it does not always react the same as regular white sugar in your recipes. You cannot always take it over as a 1:1 serving as they advertise. First of all, it is sweeter than regular sugar, and second, it does not always react the same as real sugar will when you are making a recipe.

We’ve discovered that monk fruit sugar is highly effective in a variety of recipes, mainly when used as a sweetener in beverages like smoothies or to enhance drinks such as limeade or lemonade.

The results have been impressive every time we’ve utilized monk fruit sugar in this manner. It’s almost indistinguishable from regular sugar in taste. One of the standout qualities of monk fruit is its ability to serve as an excellent sugar substitute while retaining a fantastic flavor.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor a monk fruit sugar expert. Ask your doctor or health care provider if you are unsure about using monk fruit as a sugar substitute or in your food.

We feel like monk fruit is a wonderful alternative to sugar. It has the natural sweetness of sugar; at least when I use it, I do not miss it. If you are on a keto diet or looking at how to cut sugar out of your diet, monk fruit is a sugar alternative you should consider.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is monk fruit sugar?

Monk fruit sugar, also known as monk fruit extract or monk fruit sweetener, is a natural sweetener derived from the monk fruit, scientifically known as Siraitia grosvenorii.

How is monk fruit sugar extracted?

Monk fruit sugar is extracted from the monk fruit by crushing the fruit and collecting the juice. The juice is then processed to remove the water and other impurities, leaving behind a concentrated sweetener.

Is monk fruit sugar natural?

Yes, monk fruit sugar is considered a natural sweetener as it is derived from the fruit itself and does not undergo extensive chemical processing.

Is monk fruit sugar calorie-free?

Monk fruit sugar is very low in calories and is often considered calorie-free since the small amount required to sweeten food or beverages contributes negligible calories.

Is monk fruit sugar safe for consumption?

Yes, monk fruit sugar is generally recognized as safe for consumption by regulatory authorities such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

Can monk fruit sugar be used by people with diabetes?

Monk fruit sugar has a minimal impact on blood sugar levels and can be a suitable alternative for people with diabetes. However, it is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional for individual dietary advice.

Does monk fruit sugar have any health benefits?

Monk fruit sugar is known for its intense sweetness without contributing calories or carbohydrates. It does not raise blood sugar levels and can be a useful option for reducing sugar intake and managing weight.

Can monk fruit sugar be used in cooking and baking?

Yes, monk fruit sugar can be used in cooking and baking as a substitute for traditional sugar. It can be used in recipes in a 1:1 ratio, but adjustments to other ingredients may be needed due to differences in texture and volume.

What Is The Philosophy of Vietnamese Cuisine?

Vietnamese food uses the five elements of philosophy: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. These 5 elements touch our senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. They also take into account the color and flavor combinations of Vietnamese food.

You can find out more about the philosophy of Vietnamese cuisine by reading our blog The Philosophy of Vietnamese Cuisine, by clicking here.

Why is Thai Food So Spicy?

Thai food is spicy as it is a combination of a few kinds of cuisines as Indian, Chinese, and Portuguese. The Indians brought curry to Thailand. The Chinese taught the Thais how to cook using a wok, and the Portuguese traded many fruits and vegetables, including red chili.

You can read more by reading our blog on Why is Thai Food So Spicy? A Bit of History by clicking here.

Anita L Hummel
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One response to “What Is Monk Fruit Sugar?”

  1. 20betpt Avatar

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