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The Question
Tue Oct 29 12:42:16 EDT 2013

I would like more info on sweeteners made from Monk Fruit.
Asked By: lajowatson  

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Expert Answers (1)
2014-03-19 15:20:52.0

Dear lajowatson,

Monk fruit is the newest "natural" sweetener to hit the scene. It received GRAS (generally regarded as safe) status from the FDA in 2009 and is now being used in products such as Nectresse from Splenda, which is a blend of monk fruit extract and other ingredients.

Like stevia, monk fruit extract delivers zero-calorie, super-concentrated sweetness and comes from a plant. Monk fruit has been used in Asia for thousands of years and, like most plant foods, contains health-promoting compounds such as antioxidants. Whether or not any health benefits remain when the fruit is processed into the extracts, powders and liquids sold on U.S. grocery store shelves remains to be seen.

Bottom line advice: Be wary of processed sweeteners,; agave syrup looked like a great alternative to sugar when it first hit the scene, too. Also, sweet, zero-calorie drinks may backfire and cause hunger cravings. Try to train your palate away from intense sweetness by choosing whole fruit and occasional dark chocolate as your sweet treats.

Accreditations: Senior Editor, Food and Nutrition
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