Here at Well Wisdom, we recently decided to change the sweetener in our Vital Whey protein powders from stevia to monk fruit. You may be wondering, what is monk fruit? It is not a common household name in the world of sweeteners just yet.

Monk fruit sweetener is a relatively new sugar substitute on the market, so you may not be familiar with all the monk fruit benefits. To help you learn about this new healthy sweetener, we are going to provide you with a breakdown of why we felt monk fruit was a better option for our products. Who wins in the battle for health between monk fruit sweetener vs stevia and why did we switch?

 

What is Monk Fruit?

Monk fruit is a small, green melon-like fruit that is native to Southeast Asia. It is commonly used by Buddhist monks, which is why it is called a “monk fruit”. The monk fruit isn’t commonly eaten on its own. It spoils quickly and is hard to keep fresh. Therefore, it is usually dried and made into tea.

A calorie-free sweetener can be made from monk fruit. This sweetener is the latest non-nutritive sweetener to come to market. Since it is natural and not highly processed, many believe that it might be a healthier option than other sweeteners. Monk fruit sweetener is not associated with a spike in blood sugar, so it is likely safe for people with diabetes. It will also benefit those trying to lose weight, since it does not provide any calories.

The sweetness in monk fruit comes from an antioxidant called mogrosides. Emerging research is suggesting that mogrosides may help lower oxidative stress, insulin levels and inflammation. If this is the case, monk fruit may help lower the risk of chronic disease. More and more research continue to be done to categorize the full list of health benefits mogrosides can provide.

Monk fruit can be used just like you would use sugar. It can be added to beverages or used in baking. Just be sure to read the label, as it is sweeter than sugar, and you likely need to use less for the same sweetness.

 

What is Stevia?

Stevia is a natural sweetener extracted from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant, native to South America. The sweetness in the extract comes from compounds in the plant called steviol glycosides. Common stevia extracts are rebaudioside A or stevioside.

Stevia extracts are approved by the FDA and are considered “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS).  But the FDA does not allow the import of raw stevia due to potential safety concerns for the heart, lungs and reproductive systems. Raw stevia is used widely in other countries.

One side effect of using stevia extracts is that the sweetener has a notable aftertaste. While this is mild for most, it can be off-putting to those with more sensitive taste palates.

Stevia extracts are safe for people with diabetes as they do not contain any carbohydrates or sugar. Stevia will not raise blood sugar. It is also a zero calorie sweetener, which means it might be beneficial for weight loss and helping people cut back on calorie intake.

Just like monk fruit, stevia can be used just like sugar. You can add it to beverages or it can be used in baking, just be sure to watch the quantity

 

Monk Fruit Sweetener vs Stevia

Monk Fruit

 

  • Natural sugar substitute made from plants.
  • Contains zero calories, protein, carbs or fat.
  • 150-200 times sweeter than table sugar
  • “Generally recognized as safe” as an approved food additive by the FDA
  • Available in many different forms: liquid, granulated or powders- which makes it versatile in food products.
  • Does not significantly impact blood sugar and can be used by people with diabetes.
  • People with allergies to gourds, such as pumpkin or melons, may also be allergic to monk fruit.
  • Has a fruity taste that some people notice at first. Can taste odd at first if used to other sugar alternatives.

Stevia

 

  • Natural sugar substitute made from plants
  • Contains zero calories, protein, carbs or fat.
  • 200-400 times sweeter than table sugar
  • “Generally recognized as safe” as an approved food additive by the FDA
  • Available in many different forms: liquid, granulated or powders- which makes it versatile in food products.
  • Does not significantly impact blood sugar and can be used by people with diabetes.
  • People with allergies to the Asteraceae plant family, which includes daisies and sunflowers, need to avoid stevia.
  • Can cause digestive distress in some people.
  • Some find the taste of stevia bitter or metallic.
  • Only stevia extracts are available in the US.

What is Better Stevia or Monk Fruit?

 

Both stevia and monk fruit are good choices for a natural zero calorie sugar substitute. But there are a few reasons why we decided to switch to monk fruit in our products over stevia.

First, since raw, unprocessed stevia is not allowed in the US, the only stevia on the market is processed. Although it is a natural sweetener and still a great choice when it come to sugar substitutes, when we learned about monk fruit we liked that it was in its purest most unprocessed form, just like our Vital Whey protein.

Also, we have been able to source our monk fruit from a producer focused on sustainable farming practices. Creating products that are also good for the environment is one of our commitments as a company. Furthermore, since commercial monk fruit farming is relatively new when compared to stevia, there is a smaller supply chain which reduces the carbon footprint involved.

So, if you are wondering monk fruit sweetener vs stevia? We went with monk fruit and we know you’ll be able to taste and feel why.

 

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