Health & Safety of Monk Fruit

I've been doing a lot of reading about the health benefits of Stevia lately. Let's switch tack and look into Monk Fruit.

Monk Fruit (Siraitia grosvenorii, also known as luohan guo) is named after the Buddhist monks who first cultivated the fruit nearly 800 years ago. This fruit is native to the mountainous regions of southern China, particularly Guangxi Province, where it is still primarily grown today.

The monks were reputed to have first used the fruit for medicinal purposes, and it's been a part of traditional Chinese medicine since then. The name "monk fruit" pays homage to these monks and their early cultivation and usage of the fruit.

Food & Safety Australia & New Zealand

Monk Fruit extract is approved and considered safe by Food & Safety Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ), citing that it has a history of safe consumption in China, Japan, Canada and the United States for many years and that no studies have yet demonstrated evidence of adverse effects in humans.

The FSANZ approval report from 2018 cites that available evidence shows monk fruit extract is not genotoxic even at the highest doses tested in animals. Given this evidence, studies in humans are relatively "unnecessary". 

Other Research

Let's look at a few more studies that can easily be found online.

Modulation of Gut Microbiota Composition and Short-Chain Fatty Acid Synthesis by Mogroside V in an In Vitro Incubation System - link to study

"Enhanced antioxidant abilities of the metabolites were found in the broth. The results suggested that MV, as a potential prebiotic, could benefit human health through its interaction with gut microbiota."

Effects of a synbiotic yogurt using monk fruit extract as sweetener on glucose regulation and gut microbiota in rats with type 2 diabetes mellitus - link to study

"Our results indicated that monk fruit extract may be a good alternative to sucrose for synbiotic yogurt products in people with type 2 diabetes to delay the progression of diabetes and associated complications."

We Need More Research

Even though human studies investigating the health effects of monk fruit sweeteners are limited, and monk fruit hasn’t been linked to any adverse side effects or health risks, it does seem that more studies on human consumption would be helpful.

I suspect that if Monk Fruit ever becomes a threat to Big Sugar and Big Food, research that make the benefits of Monk Fruit irrefutable will not only be helpful but vital to counter the Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) that seems to be commonly spread about natural sweeteners.

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Also Read 

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Health Benefits of Stevia