Table of contents:
Nowadays, since diabetes 2 affects millions of people, we try to avoid the use of sugar and find healthy alternatives. Sugar substitutes for diabetics find application in the ketogenic diet and in cake recipes. Lately, we have been alternating with the monk fruit sweetener which is becoming more and more popular, but if we can trust it, we have to look for evidence to dispel doubts. Our article tries to do that …
Monk's Fruit Sweetener: Since When Has It Been Popular?
Although it has been around for decades, its popularity gained momentum by the time it became readily available. Of natural origin, monk fruit sweetener contains no calories and is 100 to 250 times sweeter than sugar. It is also believed to have antioxidant properties. This substitute product is extracted from the monk's fruit which represents a green ball, known as “luo han guo” or “Buddha fruit”. Its cultivation is widespread in Southeast Asia. Although traditional Chinese medicine has been using it for a long time, the Food and Drug Agency only approved it ten years ago, in 2010.
How do you get monk fruit sweetener?
The manufacturing is done by removing the seeds and skin from the fruit and crushing it to collect the juice which is then dried into a concentrated powder. Monk fruit contains natural sugars, mainly fructose and glucose.
However, unlike most fruits, the natural sugars in monk fruit are not responsible for its sweetness which in turn is due to unique antioxidants called mogrosides. During processing, mogrosides are separated from the freshly squeezed juice. Therefore, monk fruit sweetener does not contain fructose or glucose.
Effect on weight
Assuming that monk fruit sweetener is calorie-free, it has high hopes for weight loss. If so, sporadic research has yielded only modest results even which many people claim to have reduced their total calorie intake. Although it has been reported that replacing regular calorie sweeteners with low-calorie versions can result in modest weight loss of less than a kilo, it is relatively new on the market and no studies have evaluated its effects in this area..
One review found that people who consumed sweeteners and low-calorie drinks also tended to consume less added fat, sugar, alcohol, and other sources of empty calories.
In another study, people who used stevia or aspartame rather than sucrose ate fewer calories without reporting any difference in hunger levels. Many manufacturers mix a monk fruit sweetener with other natural products, such as inulin or erythritol, to reduce the intensity of the sweetness.
Monk fruit extract is now used as a standalone sweetener, ingredient in food and drink, flavor enhancer, and component of sweetener blends.
If you've embraced the idea of healthy eating but didn't deprive yourself of the sweet taste, try our homemade Nice cream-style ice cream recipes to include on the Christmas menu.
Other potential health benefits
You think you are one step away from sugar addiction, but you don't know what happens to the body when you take the sweetest thing off your menu altogether. This is why, while looking for alternatives, you come across the monks fruit sweetener. What are the potential health benefits?
A specific type of mogroside called mogroside V is the main component of monk fruit extract. It includes more than 30% of the product being responsible for its softness and having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
By inhibiting certain harmful molecules, mogroside extracts can prevent damage to your DNA. Laboratory research suggests the possibility of preventing the growth of cancerous and leukemic cells. Strong inhibitory effects were noted on skin tumors in mice.
Since monk fruit sweetener does not contain calories or carbohydrates, it will not increase blood sugar levels. Therefore, it may be a good option for people with diabetes to lower blood sugar naturally without medication.
When blood sugar levels were observed in mice with diabetes, the finding was that the animals experienced lower oxidative stress and lower blood sugar levels, as well as an increase in good HDL cholesterol. Certainly, part of these benefits can be explained by the ability of mogrosides to stimulate insulin secretion in insulin cells.
However, since this extract is often mixed with other sweeteners, you should carefully review product labels before making a purchase. Studies to date use high doses of monk fruit extract which is much more concentrated than what you are likely to experience with a sweetener. So, it is unclear what dosage you would need to experience any of the health benefits mentioned above.
The disadvantages of monk fruit
In addition to its many advantages, monk fruit has some disadvantages.
First, it is not at hand. It's not even available at your local grocer. Second, even if you find it in the Asian region where it is grown, the monk fruit will not be in a fresh state. It is rarely eaten fresh because it ferments and rancids quickly after harvest. Dried fruits can be used to prepare tea and herbal remedies.
Third, because it is difficult to grow, harvest and dry, the fruit is expensive to import and process. Therefore, monk fruit sweetener is estimated to be more expensive than other non-nutritive sweeteners. This is also the reason why there are fewer monk fruit sweeteners on the shelves of your local supermarkets.
Fourth, the aftertaste of the fruit is disheartening as many find it pleasant, others characterize it bitter compared to artificial sweeteners like saccharin and aspartame.
Allergies to monk fruit
Even rare, allergies to monk fruit do exist. Since it's part of the Curcurbit family which includes pumpkins, squash, cucumbers and melons, the risk of allergy is higher if you are allergic to other gourds. Signs of an allergic reaction may include:
- hives or rash
- difficulty breathing and wheezing
- rapid or weak pulse
- swollen tongue
- stomach pain or vomiting
How do I use monk fruit sweetener?
Of course, you can use monk fruit sweeteners to sweeten almost anything, including: coffee, hot tea, homemade iced tea or lemonade, dressings, sauces, winter smoothies, icings, yogurt, oatmeal, or other grains. hot.
Take advantage of our recipe suggestions with monk fruit sweetener
Since monk fruit sweeteners are heat stable, they are safe to use in baked goods. Some brands use dextrose to reduce the sweetness. These mixtures can be replaced with sugar, cup for cup in recipes. You may have to experiment to see if you need more or less to satisfy your taste buds. Here are a few recipes to get you started.
Pumpkin pie: a real tasty and warming treat
For this pleasure of the taste buds, you need the following ingredients:
- 750 g pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into small pieces
- 350 g shortcrust pastry
- 140 g of sweetener Luo Han Guo
- Regular flour, for sprinkling
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon of fresh nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 25g melted butter
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 175 ml milk
- Put the pumpkin in a saucepan. Add water and bring to a boil, simmer for 15 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 180 ° C. On a floured flat surface, roll out the dough. Use it to line a loose bottom pie pan. Leave to cool in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Take out of the oven and let cool.
- Increase the oven temperature to 220 ° C. Take the cooled pumpkin and pass it in a bowl. In another bowl, combine the sweetener, nutmeg, salt and half the cinnamon. Then mix with the melted butter, beaten eggs and milk.
- Then add the pumpkin and mix well. Pour the mixture into the baked pastry pie. Cook for 10 minutes before reducing the heat to 180 ° C. Bake an additional 35 to 40 minutes or until filling looks like set.
- Take out of the oven and let cool. Sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon. Serve with a spoonful of cream or as desired.
Ten Minute Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins
This recipe is for six non-allergic people because it contains eggs. The other ingredients are:
- 70 g of coconut flour ⠀
- 30 g almond flour ⠀
- ¼ tsp. of luo han guo ⠀
- 1 ½ tablespoon of natural whey ⠀
- ¼ teaspoon of baking powder ⠀
- 2 eggs, beaten ⠀
- 110 g melted butter or coconut oil ⠀
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract ⠀
- 100 ml of milk of your choice
The steps one by one
- First preheat the fan oven to 180˚C.
- Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
- Combine the wet ingredients and slowly add them to the dry ones.
- Pour a teaspoon of the mixture into each muffin tin.
- Place in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Monk Fruit Sweetener Coconut Pie
With few ingredients, this pie will spoil your palate.
- 85 g of coconut flour
- 4 tablespoons of luo han guo sweetener
- 1 pinch of Himalayan salt
- ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 100g coconut oil
- 2 large organic eggs, beaten
A few more ingredients of very precise quantity for the filling:
- 2 large organic eggs
- 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
- 270 ml whole coconut milk
- 55 g of melted coconut oil
- ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 80 g of desiccated coconut
- 20g all-natural whey
- 6 tablespoons of lou han guo
How to prepare this delicious and absolutely healthy pie?
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Grease a mold about 23 cm in diameter with parchment paper.
- For the base, combine all the ingredients in a bowl except for the eggs. Gently add the beaten eggs separately and stir until a pasty consistency is obtained.
- Pour the base mixture into the mold and spread, covering the bottom and sides well. Then put in the oven to bake for 12 to 15 minutes until a golden surface. After, let cool.
- For the garnish, put all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Spread the mixture on the cold base.
- Place in the oven and bake for about 40 to 45 minutes. If the pie gets a little dark, cover with foil.
- Take out of the oven and let cool before serving.