What is MONK FRUIT? Monk fruit is a small, green gourd that resembles a melon. It’s grown in Southeast Asia. The fruit was first used by Buddhist monks in the 13th century, hence the fruit’s unusual name. Monk fruit sweeteners are made from the fruit’s extract，which is 150 to 200 times sweeter than sugar. The extract contains zero calories, zero carbohydrates, zero sodium, and zero fat. This makes it a popular sweetener alternative for manufacturers who make low-calorie products and for the consumers who eat them. In the United States, sweeteners made from monk fruit are classified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as “generally recognized as safe,” or GRAS. BENEFITS OF MONK FRUIT -Sweeteners made with monk fruit don’t impact blood sugar levels. -With zero calories, monk fruit sweeteners are a good option for people watching their weight. -Unlike some artificial sweeteners, there’s no evidence to date showing that monk fruit has negative side effects. There are several other pros to monk fruit sweeteners: They’re available in liquid, granule, and powder forms. They’re safe for children, pregnant women, and breast-feeding women. According to a 2009 study, monk fruit gets its sweetness from antioxidant mogrosides. The study found monk fruit extract has the potential to be a low-glycemic natural sweetener. A 2013 study concluded mogrosides may help reduce oxidative stress. Oxidative stress may lead to disease. Although it’s unclear how specific monk fruit sweeteners come into play, the study shows monk fruit’s potential.