Sweetener – Stevia & Monk Fruit Sweeteners
In this series, we explore sweeteners. In this post, we cover the plant-derived calorie-free sweeteners stevia and monk fruit.
What is stevia sweetener?
Stevia sweetener is a calorie-free sweetener that is extracted from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni plant. This sweetener is extracted and purified before being sold commercially because the plant leaves and crude extract have not undergone safety assessments.
Stevia sweetener is approximately 300x as sweet as traditional table sugar, so less is needed when added to foods and beverages.
What is monk fruit sweetener?
Monk fruit sweeteners are derived from the small melon called luo han gu and are native to parts of southeast Asia. Like stevia, this is a calorie-free sweetener.
Monk fruit sweeteners are approximately 100-250x sweeter than traditional table sugar. This isn’t as sweet at stevia, but it still means less is used when added to foods and beverages.
Are they all-natural?
While these sweeteners are derived from naturally occurring plants and melons, they are often chemically processed, and can be added to other ingredients. This processing does not impact the health outcomes or the safety of the final product.
Are they healthy?
Using calorie-free stevia or monk fruit sweeteners instead of traditional sugar or other calorie-rich sweeteners can help improve health by reducing the number of calories consumed.
Additionally, these ingredients can help individuals with managing medical conditions such as diabetes because they generally do not contribute to blood sugar spikes.
Are there health benefits to using stevia and monk fruit rather than artificial sweeteners?
Unless you have an allergy that prevents you from using a product, stevia and monk fruit sweeteners are as safe to consume as artificial sweeteners and offer no additional health benefits.