When trying to kick sugar out of your diet and find a replacement, it is important to know what your options are. Two of the most common sugar alternatives are stevia and monk fruit. Some people strongly prefer one over the other, but luckily, SweetLeaf® has plenty of products using both alternatives! We put together a list of stevia and monk fruit facts, so you can learn a little more and decide which one is best for your needs.
What is Stevia?
More than 1,500 years ago, the Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni plant was discovered by the native Guarani people. The plant grew in clumps along the edges of the rainforests of Paraguay. In the beginning, the natives used the leaves for medicinal benefits, to freshen their breath, and to sweeten and mellow the strong taste of herbal yerba maté tea.
For reference, stevia leaves are 30 times sweeter than sugar. Stevia leaves can be eaten fresh or dried, crumbled, and sprinkled onto foods like a spice or seasoning. Stevia leaves may also be steeped in water to make a delicious stevia tea.
Stevia Fast Facts
- Stevia has no calories
- It is a good choice for weight loss
- Stevia leaves are highly nutritious and contain more than 100 vital nutrients
- Stevia does not raise blood sugar levels, so it’s a good alternative for those with diabetes
- It is available in many forms including granular, drops and baking blends
- Stevia leaves are 30 times sweeter than sugar
- A small amount of stevia is needed to achieve the sweetness of sugar
- Stevia safety is well established
- Stevia can play a large role in a well balanced diet
What is Monk Fruit?
Dating back more than 800 years, enlightened Buddhist monks in Southeast Asia discovered the sweetening power of this very unusual, native fruit. The name monk fruit stuck, and today this intense, natural sweetener is considered 300 times sweeter than sugar. Yet, monk fruit extract is zero calories, zero sugar, and even has a zero-glycemic-response index so it will not increase blood sugar levels.
Monk fruit sweeteners are created by removing the seeds and skin of the fruit, crushing the fruit, and collecting the juice. These sweeteners are permitted for use in foods and beverages by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. For those who do not enjoy the taste of stevia, monk fruit may be a better sugar alternative.
Did you know?
- Monk fruit does not impact blood sugar levels
- Monk fruit has zero calories, so it’s good for people watching their weight
- There is no evidence of negative side effects from monk fruit
- Monk fruit is safe for children, pregnant women and breast-feeding women
- It is available as liquid and granular
- Monk fruit is 300 times sweeter than sugar
- It is a relatively new sugar replacement option
- Monk fruit sweeteners can be used in beverages and foods like soft drinks, juices, desserts, candies and more
- A very small amount of monk fruit is needed to achieve the sweetness of sugar
How to Choose
After learning more about each sugar replacement, it is time to make a decision for what is best for you. Do you like the taste of stevia or monk fruit better? Are you diabetic? Which option is more affordable? Are you planning on just sweetening beverages, or will you be baking with it?
Monk fruit and stevia are both versatile, and less is more when it comes to both sweeteners. Both are heat stable and can be used for baking. However, monk fruit is much sweeter than stevia, so it is important to know how much to use when substituting.
With both stevia and monk fruit products, SweetLeaf® has tasty options for whichever sugar replacement you prefer. To see our entire family of products, visit our website.
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