What's a Monk Fruit?
Soooooo, if you’re here, there’s a good chance you already know that sugar is in the top 3 for white crystalline things you probably shouldn’t be putting into your body, but alas! Food and drink companies are tenacious in their inclusion of the not-so-sweet stuff in their products (because duh, stuff with sugar is tasty and addictive, just ask any twelve-year-old that gained five pounds after a week with their bake-happy grandmother).
Sugar is bad for us, and you don’t need a Katie Couric-doc to know that. What most of us also know is that cutting down on cravings for grandma’s cookies, or that glistening cheese danish at your local patisserie, or that devil’s food cake your roommate just made because you told her you wanted to cut down on sugar and she’s kind of a dick, is a lot easier said than done.
And while it’s also fairly well-known that the easiest way to resist is to just quit eating the stuff entirely (and your cravings will adjust), most of us haven’t climbed to the Olympian heights that most sugar-free folks find themselves seated at. We like it sweet.
As you may have guessed by now, though, there is good news!
Alternative sweeteners have existed since the 19th century, and although a lot have been shown to cause more harm than good (see the headaches, migraines, weight gain, and heart disease caused by these very naughty boys), monk fruit can sub right in for sugar and actually BENEFIT you.
The fruit itself is a vine-growing member of the gourd family about the size of your fist, and it’s known as Luo Han Guo in it’s native Guangxi province (and particularly the foothills of the Guilin mountains). Since the 13th century, monk fruit has been grown in horizontal trellises in special gardens cleared in these mountain forests, cultivated by the Luo Han (the Chinese version of an Arhat, or one who’s attained nirvana, in Buddhism). I’ll let you guess where they got the name from.
For about as long, monk fruit has been used in a chrysanthemum tea as a curative for all sorts of ailments, but mostly those of the inflammatory variety, like fever, cough, sore throat, and general over-heating. Fun fact: the place where the most monk fruit has been harvested also has one of the highest concentration of centenarians on Earth (36 per 100,000 people, or about 5 times the international average) (1). While this has allowed Luo Han Guo to garner a reputation as THE “longevity fruit,” it seems more likely that it’s part of a larger dietary picture that’s plant-based, hella high in hemp seeds, and low in sugar, protein, and calories in general.
Luo Han Guo is 300-400 times sweeter than natural cane sugar, but what gives it that signature sweeter-than-your-g-ma flavor isn’t sugar, but powerful antioxidants called mogrosides (particularly mogroside-V). These antioxidants are great at fighting free radicals, and have been proven to significantly combat oxidative stress on the DNA level (2).
While artificial sweeteners like aspartame have been publicly decried as carcinogens, the miraculous monk fruit has actually been proven to time and again fight cancer, inhibiting tumor growth in the breast and on the skin (3,4). Additionally, these wondrous little guys have shown to have anti-bacterial effects (so you don’t have to turn to antibiotics), a penchant for getting you pumped (see it’s fatigue-fighting abilities), and as something of a natural antihistamine. Finally, the stuff has also been connected with better insulin secretion, reducing kidney-damage and other diabetes-related issues (5). Not to mention, it allows those unfortunately afflicted with diabetes to enjoy a sweet flavor without a worry about their condition.
To wrap up, Metabrew probably doesn’t have enough monkfruit in it to truly manifest these effects in a significant way, however, as is the case with all of our ingredients, monkfruit is included in lieu of another (perhaps more palatable sweetener) because it does have all these benefits, and no reported side effects. We’re 100% committed to exclusively beneficial ingredients like Camu Camu (an amazonian berry with more Vitamin C than anything on planet Earth), and MCT Oil (basically the best stuff in that paleo and keto-favorite coconut oil), ingredients that make you feel good now, and that you can feel good about later, so you don’t have to think twice about where you’re getting your energy throughout the day.
So, if you’re feeling like having a little fudge, but not fudging up your diet, turn to monkfruit, maybe some raw cacao, and start Living Meta!
The Plus Factor: And Why There's Monkfruit in Our Logo. Laurence, Emily. Well and Good.
Monkfruit: Nature's Best Sweetener? Axe, Josh. draxe.com
Momordica Grosvenori Sp. Nov.: The Source of Chinese Luo Han Kuo. Swingle, Walter T. Journal of the Arnold Arboretum, 1941.
1) Bama, China: Home to Some of the Oldest, Healthiest People in the World . Miller, Andrew. Sora News 24.
2) Antioxidant effect of mogrosides against oxidative stress induced by palmitic acid in mouse insulinoma NIT-1 cells. Multiple Authors. Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research.
4) Anticarcinogenic activity of natural sweeteners, cucurbitane glycosides, from Momordica grosvenori. Multiple Authors. Cancer Letters, July 3, 2003.
5) Antidiabetic effect of long-term supplementation with Siraitia grosvenori on the spontaneously diabetic Goto-Kakizaki rat. Multiple Authors. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, 2002.