Monk fruit is a small, round , green fruit that is becoming more and more popular in the US. It is showing up in foods like granola and even cocktails. Questions have come up as to whether the monk fruit is a safe and healthy alternative to sugar. It is a melon that contains a compound called mogroside which is extremely sweet. Monk fruit got its name from Buddhist monks who cultivated the fruit to help with healing ailments such as sunstroke, coughing, and constipation.
BioVittoria, a food company in New Zealand, has created a process to extract the mogroside from the monk fruit. It is 300 times sweeter than sugar in its pure form. People are always searching for alternatives to sugar and sweeteners as neither are overly healthy for you. To extract the juice, the fruit is crushed, mixed with hot water, filtered, and then spray dried. This ends up forming a powder that has zero calories and is called Fruit Sweetness.
Research done in 2009, in China, found that mogroside may be good for diabetes. It has a low glycemic index and also helps to stimulate insulin production. There is also preliminary evidence that the monk fruit shows anti-cancer and antioxidant activities. There is still a lot of research that needs to be done on this fruit but what is known about it is good, so far.
In 2010 the FDA gave Fruit Sweetness GRAS status which means Generally Recognized as Safe. They did testing on it as a sweetener. It is still important to know however that since the complete effects on your health are not entirely known, limiting the amount of monk fruit that you eat may be a good idea.