On the Complete History and Evolution of the Monk Fruit

Juliet D'cruz

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Did you know that the average American consumes more than 126 grams of sugar every day? This is more than twice the average intake of most other countries. Having a sweet tooth is very normal, but it can have some dramatic health repercussions in addition to causing weight gain.

Luckily, nature has evolved the perfect solution to the sweet tooth problem: the monk fruit. Monk fruit is a small, round, brown fruit that’s native to China. It’s also one of the best organic sweeteners that can satisfy your sweet tooth without all the sugar.

To learn more about monk fruit and how to use it to revolutionize your diet, read on!

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Origins of the Monk Fruit

Monk fruit is actually a member of the gourd family. It’s also a relative of the melons. The fruit has a round, brown, and brittle shell with small hairs.

Monk fruit is commonly grown in southern China and Thailand in small family farms. The name comes from the 13th-century Buddhist monks who originally grew the fruit. The first monks who cultivated the monk fruit lived and meditated in Guilin, China.

The Guilin mountains are known for their fairytale look. The mountains are tall and thin, reaching up out of the mist like fingers. The monk fruit flourished in these conditions, and the monks thought this unique environment is part of what gave the fruit its healing powers.

After discovering monk fruit, the monks developed simple farms for the fruit so they could keep using it. Then they named it Luo Han Guo, which translates to monk fruit. Some legends say that the monk fruit got its name because it is round like the belly of the Buddha himself.

Traditionally, monk fruit was dried and steeped into a tea. Then it could be used for illness treatment for everything from congestion to inflammation. In addition, it was dried, crushed, and used as a sweetener for diabetics and weight loss.

It used to be called “The Longevity Fruit,” and although its medicinal properties were well understood it was difficult to grow and obtain. Monk fruit is usually grown by hand on vines in mountainous areas, so until recently getting a large amount of the fruit was almost impossible.

The Monk Fruit Goes Global

The monk fruit remained a secret for a long time and only reached England in 1938, about 700 years after its discovery. There it was used in medicinal “cooling drinks” which counteracted the effects of hot weather, fever, and inflammation.

Shortly after that, monk fruit reached America in Chinese shops. Soon, botanists discovered the fruit in the shops and set to work on it, discovering its ability to be used as an organic sweetener.

Sweeter than Sugar

Monk fruit is twenty times sweeter than any other fruit juice! This is due to the high levels of antioxidants and a substance called mogroside in the fruit. These substances have a sweet flavor but very few calories.

Mogrosides are not absorbed in the GI tract, so they don’t contribute to your calorie count. In your colon, the glucose splits from the molecules to be used as an energy source before excretion. In short, mogrosides provide sweetness without the negative side effects of sugar.

This discovery has brought the delicious fruit into the spotlight as a great alternative sweetener. Processed monk fruit sweetener is several hundreds of times sweeter than normal sugar.

Monk fruit sweetener has next to no calories, and you need to use very little, so it’s a great option for diabetics and dieters alike.

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Safety and Health Factors

Unlike a processed artificial sweetener which can have some negative effects on health when consumed in excess, the monk fruit is recognized as safe by the FDA. It’s recognized as safe for adults, children, and pregnant and breastfeeding women.

In addition, because it is so sweet, most people end up consuming very little monk fruit. This means it’s very difficult to reach or surpass the acceptable daily intake.

Replacing sugar with monk fruit sweeteners can have many benefits when trying to achieve optimal health. Not only will it make it easier for you to cut your sugar consumption and take control of your sweet tooth, but it can help lower insulin levels.

Monk fruit on its own doesn’t cause weight loss. However, by reducing your sugar and calorie intake, your weight loss will get a lot easier. Monk fruit sweeteners are carb-free, which makes them a great option for keto and low-carb diets.

In addition, they can help stabilize your blood sugar, allowing you to avoid insulin spikes. For this reason, monk fruit sweeteners are very good for both type 1 and type 2 diabetics. Some diabetics who go low-carb with monk fruit can reduce or even eliminate their medication.

However, always check in with your primary care doctor before dramatically changing your carb intake. Reducing sugar levels can cause hypoglycemia. Your doctor can provide you with the appropriate guidance for incorporating monk fruit into your diet.

Experience the Sweetness of Monk Fruit for Yourself

Monk fruit has been recognized in traditional medicine as a natural healing substance for hundreds of years. Western countries are finally catching up, and recognizing the monk fruit for all its miraculous benefits, so give it a try for yourself! As soon as you taste its natural sweetness, we’re sure you’ll become a convert.

If you enjoyed learning about the history and uses of monk fruit, you’ll love our other content. Check out our blog for more!