Quit Sugar With PURE Monk Fruit

Monk fruit is a nutritive sugar substitute used in Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine

As a naturopath with nearly 40 years of practice experience, I highly recommend pure monk fruit because of its positive interaction with the community of microorganisms that live in your gut (your microbiome).

Your gut microbiome significantly influences your health, mental well-being, and immune function.

Disruptions to your gut flora (gut microorganisms, gut microbiota) are associated with harmful health outcomes and disease.

That’s why I also highly recommend we quit consuming sugar and synthetic sweeteners.

WHY WE NEED TO QUIT SUGAR

To restore balance and function, I work with my clients to change their diets – particularly sugar consumption.

Clients who don’t think they consume a lot of sugar are shocked at the amount of hidden (added) sugar in their daily food intake.

When you start looking at food labels, you begin to realise what is actually going into your body.

Most of us eat much more sugar than is recommended for a healthy diet.

Consumption of hidden sugar includes all sugars added in processing or preparing foods and beverages (especially soft drinks).

Excessive sugar consumption contributes to gut bacteria imbalance (dysbiosis) • leaky gut • metabolic syndrome • inflammation and joint pain • obesity • fatty liver disease • diabetes • gout • heart disease • tooth decay • high levels of uric acid in your blood • depression and mood disorders • cell ageing • neuroinflammation (brain and nerves) • dementia • cognitive decline • and cancers.

It’s worth watching the following videos about why getting rid of added sugar in your diet is one of the best things you can do for your health.

When you learn what your body needs to be healthy and what poisons it, making healthier choices becomes much easier. And that’s when change and healing can take place.

How Sugar Is Making Us Sick

Sugar &  Inflammation

Sugar & Obesity 

Sugar & Cancer

SUGAR SUBSTITUTES

Sugar substitutes have grown to meet a worldwide epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and lifestyle diseases related to unhealthy diets and inactivity.

A sugar substitute is a food additive that provides sweetness like sugar but contains little food energy (calories).

Sugar substitutes include artificial (synthetic) sweeteners and plant-based sugar alcohols.

The growing question for many practitioners and researchers is – are sugar substitutes a safer alternative for human health?

ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS?

Artificial sweeteners include saccharin (Sweet‘n’Low), acesulfame, aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet), neotame, and sucralose (Splenda).

Synthetic sweeteners are chemically synthesised and non-nutritive (contain zero or little carbohydrates, calories, or nutrition).

Concerns have been raised that some artificial sweeteners could actually be increasing the obesity epidemic.

Side effects from artificial sweeteners can range from digestive symptoms, bloating, changes in gut bacteria (dysbiosis), metabolic syndrome, glucose intolerance, weight gain, and increased risks of several cancers.

A collage of sugar substitutes used to replace sugar in response the a global epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and lifestyle diseases.

SUGAR ALCOHOLS?

Sugar alcohols (polyols) include sorbitol, mannitol, erythritol, xylitol, maltitol, lactitol, and isomalt.

Polyols are low-calorie carbohydrates with a sweet taste. They occur naturally in certain fruits and can be manufactured into ‘sugar-like’ products.

BUT are sugar alcohol sweeteners really a healthy alternative?

Polyols are considered safe if they are consumed in ‘moderation’. But they can have unpleasant side effects including indigestion, colic, flatulence, bloating, and diarrhoea.

Some sugar alcohol sweeteners are also not recommended if you suffer from gut inflammation • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) • leaky gut • ulcerative colitis • or for those with underlying cardiac risk factors (see erythritol cardiac risk study).

I’ve included research references at the end so you can investigate the growing concerns regarding sugar, artificial sweeteners, and sugar alcohols.

YES TO MONK FRUIT

So where does that leave us with sweeteners?

In terms of nutrition and promoting a healthy gut microbiome – organic dates, pure raw honey, unsulphured black strap molasses, and pure maple syrup are healthier alternatives than processed sugar or some sugar substitutes.

However, where health conditions require a sugar-free diet, I recommend pure monk fruit (Momordica grosvernor) because it is a nutritive, zero glycaemic index sweetener that is better tolerated by those with gut conditions.

A collage of monk fruit images used to replace sugar consumption.

MONK FRUIT BENEFITS

Monk fruit (Lo Han Kuo) has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).

As a plant food medicine, monk fruit is used in TCM to treat lung congestion • inflammation • gut, kidney, and heart health • constipation • scrofula • insomnia • depression • to promote longevity • and as a natural sweetener.

Lo Han Kuo is also used externally in TCM to treat psoriasis, carbuncles, and boils.

Monk fruit is prebiotic. It feeds and promotes the growth of beneficial gut microorganisms.

Naturopaths use monk fruit to aid digestion and weight management • relieve sore throats, coughing, bronchitis, and cold symptoms • reduce phlegm and swollen lymph glands • promote gut health • and support immune function.

Monk fruit medicinal herb actions include antioxidant • anti-fatigue • anti-inflammatory • antimicrobial • anti-diabetic • antihistamine • anti-hyperglycaemic, and anti-cancer properties.

BUYING MONK FRUIT

When you are buying monk fruit, make sure to check the product label.

Some monk fruit sweetening products have a small percentage of monk fruit combined with erythritol.

Don’t be fooled by packaging. Only buy pure monk fruit powder or liquid.

USING MONK FRUIT

A good thing about pure monk fruit is it doesn’t have that weird aftertaste that some sugar substitutes give you.

However, you will need to experiment with the amount of monk fruit you use in cooking and drinks.

Pure monk fruit is high in unique antioxidants called mogrosides that are 100–250 times sweeter than regular sugar.

My advice is to use it sparingly.

It is best to add a little bit at a time.

Thankfully Nourished Monk Fruit Liquid Concentrate

MONK FRUIT LIQUID

We stock Thankfully Nourished monk fruit concentrate liquid at the clinic because it is pure with nothing added. 

Thankfully Nourished Monk Fruit Liquid is non-GMO and super concentrated, with 330 serves per bottle.

Suggested Liquid Use:

You’ll need to play with the number of drops you use to sweeten food and drinks. 

Start low and taste as you go.

• Use between 2-6 drops for drinks.

• 15-30 drops are recommended for baked goods.

Refrigeration will also extend shelf life by 12 months but is not essential.

MONK FRUIT POWDER

If you enjoy baking, you may prefer to use organic monk fruit powder.

I recommend that you shop around because some brands charge a fortune for pure monk fruit powder, or they combine other sugar substitutes and call it monk fruit. Check the labels.

You can buy pure monk fruit powder in bulk for a better price and share it between family and friends.

If you bulk buy, store your monk fruit powder in dark glass jars with a food-grade silica sachet to keep it dry. And keep your jars in a cool place.

We highly recommend Australian bulk food supplier The Herbal Connection for pure monk fruit powder. The smallest amount you can buy online is 250 grams, but the quality and savings are worthwhile.

The Herbal Connection monk fruit powder is additive free, organic, and naturally brown in colour.

Suggested Powder Use:

A little monk fruit goes a long way, and conversion rates for baking with pure monk fruit powder will vary depending on the level of mogrosides (sweetness). 

You will need to experiment and add a little powder at a time. 

As a rough guide for using monk fruit powder:

• A third of a cup of sugar = ¼ to 1 teaspoon of pure monk fruit powder.

• A half cup of sugar = ⅓ to 1½ teaspoons of pure monk fruit powder.

• One cup of sugar = ⅔ to 3 teaspoons of pure monk fruit powder.

Start low and taste as you go.

You can download a How To Use Monk Fruit info sheet here to print and keep as a handy reference for experimenting with pure monk fruit.

Pure, organic monk fruit powder.

HEALTH & HEALING

No matter the state of your health, nutrition (the chemistry in food necessary for your body to function effectively) is essential for healing and restoring balance.

Monk fruit helps you reduce sugar consumption and restore your gut microbiome.

I always tell my clients that the human body is designed to be healthy when you give it what it needs to be healthy.

Do all you can to reduce your consumption of added sugar in your diet.

A healthy gut is essential for gaining and maintaining health.

Learn all you can about improving your gut health.

Get involved with what you allow to go into your body every time you eat and drink.

Look at food labels when you are grocery shopping.

Eat mostly ‘whole’ (unprocessed) foods and fresh food – particularly vegetables.

Because a healthy diet (what you consume all of the time) makes a huge difference in your health outcomes.

You reap what you eat!

All the very best,
Lisa Rieniets ND.

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