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Monk Fruit, The Totally Natural Low Calorie Sweetener.

Monk Fruit, The Totally Natural Low Calorie Sweetener.

Friday, January 27th 2012

Monk fruit is a versatile, all natural, fruit-based sweetening ingredient that can lower sugar and calories in foods and beverages, making a significant dent in America’s sugar intake. Monk fruit is available for food ingredient use in either juice or powdered concentrate forms.

Americans are consuming an average of 400 calories a day from sugar, well over the USDA guidelines.*  This means an average of 16% of their calories are coming from sugar alone, and the USDA recommends a total of 8% to 19% of calories to come from sugar and fat.   In addition, The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends** limiting the amount of added sugars you consume to no more than half of your daily discretionary calories allowance. For most American women, that’s no more than 100 calories per day, or about 6 teaspoons of sugar. For men, it’s 150 calories per day, or about 9 teaspoons.

Monk fruit is the only natural, fruit-based, low-calorie, sweetening ingredient available today, and is a great-tasting way to remove up to half of the sugar in foods and beverages.   By removing sugar, monk fruit allows for more room in the diet for nutrient-dense foods.

Monk fruit’s sweetness comes from a naturally occurring, non-nutritive, sweet antioxidant.   Monk fruit contains unique natural antioxidants called mogrosides, which have a delicious sweet taste, but are low-calorie.   Monk fruit powdered concentrate is up to 200 times sweeter than sugar. Pure mogroside V (the most abundant mogroside in monk fruit) is up to 400 times sweeter than sugar. The sweetness potency of mogrosides means only a little is used when replacing sugar. Monk fruit juice and powdered concentrate is labeled as zero-calorie or low-calories in accordance with the FDA rules on calorie labeling for sweetening ingredients.

Because only small amounts of monk fruit are used when sweetening foods and beverages monk fruit has a very low glycemic load and is a good option for diabetics.     

A simple, all-natural process is used to produce monk fruit juice:

  • Crush – The fruit is crushed to release its natural sweet juice
  • Infuse – The crushed fruit is infused with hot water to gently release the natural sweetness
  • Filter – The sweet infusion is filtered to clarify and stabilize the juice, leaving behind the naturally sweet mogrosides and a small amount of natural fruit sugar.
  • In making the powdered concentrate a further step is added to separate the fruit sugars from the mogrosides. The mogroside-containing liquid is then spray dried to a fine milky-white powder.
     

Monk fruit can be used as a stand-alone sweetener, a food ingredient, and as a component of sweetener blends that would include other nutritive or non-nutritive sweeteners.

We now have Monk Fruit Powder Available!

Monk fruit powdered concentrate received GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) affirmation by the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. in January 2010 for use in foods and beverages.  Monk fruit juice received GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) affirmation by the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. in January 2010 for use in foods and beverages in April 2001.  Monk fruit is also approved for use as a food and food ingredient in Japan, China, Singapore and Hong Kong and is widely used in South Korea and Malaysia.  Monk fruit is available for food ingredient use in either juice or powdered concentrate forms, and comprises a mixture of naturally occurring compounds found in the fruit.  Monk fruit is well suited for use in a wide range of beverages, cereals, dairy products, bars, and confectionary. It is extremely heat stable and 100% soluble in water.

As an expert, you know that “better for you” also needs to taste great. Monk fruit makes great-tasting foods and beverages better for you with naturally delicious low-calories sweetness from fruit.  Monk fruit is pure, delicious sweetness, with no bitter aftertaste.  Monk fruit provides natural sweetness that kids love.

Monk fruit has been consumed for hundreds of years.  Also known as luo han guo (luo han translates as “monk” and guo is Chinese for “fruit”), monk fruit is a protected fruit in China where it has been grown and consumed for centuries.  Monk fruit is a type of melon and has been grown for hundreds of years in orchards in Southeast Asia.  Unlike other non-nutritive sweeteners, monk fruit is a traditional food that has been consumed for hundreds of years in Asia and for more than a century in the U.S.. Monk fruit has been widely consumed as a decoction of the fresh or dried fruit, primarily in its native China but also in the U.S., where the dried fruit is imported and sold most frequently in Chinese food stores. Additionally, extracts of the fruit have also been the source of numerous beverages, sweeteners, and other products that are also widely used in China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, Europe, and the U.S.

A New Zealand company, BioVittoria, carefully manages the monk fruit supply chain from seedling cultivation to final processing.   Each year BioVittoria cultivates the GMO-free Sweet-Delicious™ seedlings, and then provides them to its network of growers. BioVittoria trains and supervises the farmers who plant and then nurture the vines until it’s time to handpick the fruit at each annual harvest.  The plants that are used to produce the monk fruit concentrate are carefully selected and managed. BioVittoria has selected its GMO-free Sweet-Delicious™ variety based on mogroside yield, resistance to drought and virus, and ease of cultivation.

World-class agricultural methods, sustainable farming practices and care for the environment are paramount along the entire path from seedling to processing. An experienced horticultural team provides on-site guidance at the orchards, then supervises the harvest and delivery of vine-ripened fruit to BioVittoria’s state-of-the-art processing facility nearby. It is “hands-on” at every stage. This level of control and supervision ensures the quality the fruit, while fulfilling the company’s mission to support sustainable agriculture and fair trade practices.

You can find monk fruit in food and beverage products now.  You may have already tasted its sweet goodness in Kashi cereals, Bare Naked granola and So Delicious coconut milks/ice cream bars.  Sometimes you will see it listed on the ingredient label with its Chinese name “luo han guo” or “luo han fruit” (luo han translates as “monk” and guo is Chinese for “fruit”).   BioVittoria has partnered with ingredient leader Tate & Lyle to distribute monk fruit concentrate.  A number of leading companies are planning launches of consumer food and beverage product containing the powdered concentrate.

Information kindly provided by monkfruit.org.

2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/DGAs2010-PolicyDocument.htm

August 2009 issue of Circulation, Journal of the American Heart Association, http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/reprint/CIRCULATIONAHA.109.192627

Footnote from Ideal Health:

This 100% natural sweetener is very new to New Zealand

The following products are all natural sweeteners or contain natural sweeteners:

Super Family C 2000
Collagen Amino Complex
Aloe Vera Juice
Stevia Sachets
Stevia Powder
Stevia Liquid Extract
Stevia Sweet Recipes
Stevia Tablets
Vitamin C 500mg Chewables
Vitamin C powder with Hesperidin

Related health information can be found here:

Candida
Diabetes
Yeast Infections

Related articles can be found here:

Gymnema Sylvestre - traditional herb to help control blood sugar
Stevita
Junk debunked
Winning the battle with candida & chronic fatigue syndrome

If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.

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