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Do Monk Fruit Sweeteners Break a Fast? Full Pros, Cons, by Doctors

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What is Monk Fruit Sweetener | Will Monk Fruit Break Your Intermittent Fast | Benefits of Monk Fruit Sweeteners | Drawbacks of Monk Fruit Sweeteners | Alternatives to Monk Fruit

Sugar-based food items have become a big part of modern-day diets. Fast foods like soft drinks, ice cream, flavored coffee, etc., are laden with sugar, which can dramatically increase your total calorie intake. This, combined with a sedentary lifestyle, can cause ailments like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other metabolic health complications. Let’s find out the answer to – Do Monk Fruit Sweeteners Break a Fast?

Fasting diet plans like intermittent fasting, alternate-day fasting, and calorie restriction have been proven to counter obesity and other ailments. Many health professionals from across the globe suggest such diets to people struggling with uncontrolled weight gain. However, it can be confusing for you to determine what can and cannot be consumed while intermittent fasting, especially when it comes to sugar substitutes.

Do Monk Fruit Sweeteners Break a Fast?

In the case of monk fruit-based sweeteners, it is already established that they have a GI index of zero, meaning consuming them does not cause an insulin spike. Hence, monk fruit-based sweeteners will not break your intermittent fast.

Zero-calorie sweeteners like Aspartame, erythritol, Xylitol, and Monk Fruit taste like regular table sugar without the added calories. However, choosing among these low-calorie sweeteners can be difficult, as they have several positive and negative effects.

Among these, Monk Fruit is unique as it is a natural zero-calorie sugar substitute derived from the gourd family. This article will provide an in-depth analysis of Monk Fruit as a non-nutritive sweetener. It will answer questions such as, what is monk fruit sweetener, and will monk fruit break your fast? Alternatively, we will look at the health benefits and negative impact of monk fruit sweeteners.

What is Monk Fruit Sweetener?

Monk Fruit, or Siraitia grosvenorii, originates from Southeast Asia and is an herbaceous perennial vine of the gourd family, Cucurbitaceae. It is believed that in China, ancient Buddhist monks were the first to cultivate and use the fruit, hence the name monk fruit. In modern times, monk fruit extract is considered a natural sweetener that contains zero calories and provides certain health benefits. 

A nutritive breakdown of monk fruit sweetener powder:

  • Calories: 0
  • Carbohydrate: 0.8 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Sugar: 0 grams
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams

The sweetness of monk fruit is mostly provided by mogroside, a natural plant-based antioxidant.

To better understand zero-calorie sweeteners, you need to know about the Glycemic Index (GI) concept. Simply put, it is the value assigned to different food items based on how quickly they cause blood sugar to spike. Food Items with a low glycemic index are considered to be better than those with a higher glycemic index. A 2015 international scientific consensus believes that low glycemic index food items could prevent diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. 

The total glycemic index (GI) of monk fruit is zero, meaning consuming monk fruit will not trigger an insulin response in your body. Similarly, monk fruit extract is also 250 times sweeter than regular sugar, meaning very little monk fruit sweetener is needed to flavor food items. These factors make monk fruit suitable for people looking for a low-calorie sweetener. 

Do Monk Fruit Sweeteners Break Intermittent Fasting?

Benefits of Monk Fruit Sweeteners

Now that you know, monk fruit will not affect your insulin levels and is safe to consume while fasting. Let us look at some of the health benefits related to monk fruit.

Aids in Weight Loss 

Some of you who are new to intermittent fasting often tend to struggle during the fasting window. This is when many of you turn to low-calorie drinks like tea, black coffee, and even lemon water. With monk fruit sweeteners, you can make refreshing zero-calorie drinks to help you get through the fasting period without breaking the fast.

Some of you who are calorie-conscious but have a sweet tooth often have to skip desserts to regulate your daily calorie intake. With monk fruit sweeteners, you can enjoy your favorite desserts, morning coffee, etc., without the extra calories.

Maintains Blood Sugar Levels

Some of you suffering from diabetes cannot consume any kind of natural sugar, as it can adversely affect your blood glucose levels. Sweeteners made with monk fruit extracts have been proven to have a total glycemic index (GI) of zero. This means that monk fruit-based sweeteners do not trigger blood sugar spikes, making them one of the better sugar alternatives for diabetic people.

Similarly, switching natural sugar with monk fruit sweeteners can also help with insulin sensitivity and lower insulin resistance, preventing type 2 diabetes.

Helps With Inflammation

Inflammation is the body’s natural response to infections and diseases. Increased levels of inflammation cause the release of free radicals, which can be responsible for several autoimmune diseases. 

Some studies suggest that the mogrosides, the antioxidants found in monk fruit, can help fight these free radicals and lower inflammation. However, it must be pointed out that most of these studies are preliminary and animal-based.

Since one of the benefits of intermittent fasting is inflammation reduction, if you suffer from high inflammation levels, you can include monk fruit in your intermittent fasting diet for faster results.

Do Monk Fruit Sweeteners Break Intermittent Fasting?

Drawbacks of Monk Fruit Sweeteners

Having looked at the benefits of monk fruit, it is also important to know about the drawbacks of monk fruit sweeteners.

Availability

Monk fruit is native to Southeast Asia, which makes it difficult for people in other parts of the world to readily access it. Alternatively, many cheap monk fruit sweeteners do not contain real monk fruit extracts and are often a combination of sugar alcohols and fillers. Most of the time, monk fruit sweeteners are available in specialty shops, which are difficult for people to find.  

Expensive

Due to its lack of availability, monk fruit is often expensive compared to other sugar substitutes. Many specialty stores import monk fruit from Asian countries, which can cause them to mark it up at a premium price. As a result, many of you might get priced out of trying Monk fruit sweeteners or even opt for cheaper adulterated products.

Taste

Monk fruit has a certain aftertaste that can turn off some of you who are unfamiliar with it. Alternatively, it also limits the use of monk fruit as a universal sweetener since it might ruin the taste of other food items.

Allergen

Being part of the gourd family, natural monk fruit sweeteners can cause an allergic response in some of you. We suggest you consider the allergic potential of monk fruit before trying it out as a natural sweetener.

Do Monk Fruit Sweeteners Break Intermittent Fasting?

Here are some other zero-calorie sweetener options that will not break the intermittent fast:

  • Stevia: Stevia is made from the leaves of the Stevia plant, which makes it a natural sweetener that will not break the intermittent fast. Stevia has been very popular as a table sweetener due to its easy availability and natural sweet taste. However, similar to monk fruit, Stevia also has a bitter aftertaste.
  • Erythritol: Erythritol is one of the most popular sugar alcohols available. Most commonly, it is used in commercial diet soda. Like monk fruit, Erythritol also has a glycemic index of zero, meaning it is a good option for fasting and fat loss. However, being a sugar alcohol, consuming large amounts of Erythritol can cause gut-related problems.
  • Xylitol: Xylitol is another popular sugar alcohol commonly used as a sweetener for chewing gum. Although the glycemic index for Xylitol is 30, experts believe consuming it will not break an intermittent fast. Some studies also point out that Xylitol prevents plaque buildup and improves oral health. One disadvantage of Xylitol is that it can cause gut health issues like bloating.

Final Thoughts – Do Monk Fruit Sweeteners Break Intermittent Fasting?

I love Monk Fruit Sweetener, I use it every day in my coffee. I like it more than Stevia, it has a better flavor, and data is showing it may be healthier than Stevia. So Monk fruit is an amazing option over most any sweetener!

Monk fruit sweeteners will not break your intermittent fast, but are these the best options available in the market? For starters, monk fruit sweeteners are hard to find and often cost more than the other available zero-calorie sweeteners. Additionally, monk fruit sweeteners have a distinctive aftertaste, which might annoy some of you.

So if you are ok with paying a premium for your monk fruit sweeteners and don’t mind the aftertaste, it can be a good natural sweetener choice. However, it is crucial to consider that sugar substitutes only mask sugar cravings. You should aim to lessen your sugar intake for better overall health.

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