Monk Fruit

5 Health Benifits of monk fruit

Monk fruit (Siraitia grosvenorii) is a small melon shaped fruit, lime green or yellow brownish in color, native to China. It was named monk fruit because it was first cultivated by the Buddhist monks about 800 years ago. It is one fruit with exceptional medical and culinary value that has served the Chinese people for centuries, and it has gained worldwide popularity in recent decades (1).

Monk Fruit

Monk fruit is well noted for its exceptional natural sweetness. It is said to be about 200 times sweeter than sugar, and yet has zero calories. As such it makes a great substitute for sugar, the reason why monk fruit is a very popular sweetener nowadays (2, 3).

This extreme sweetness of monk fruit is because of the presence of natural sugar molecules called mogrosides. These mogrosides are also potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, thus bestowing on monk fruit its numerous health benefits (4).

Benefits of monk fruit

  1. Does not increase blood sugar levels. Mogrosides, enhance the rate of blood glucose uptake and do not cause spikes in blood sugar levels, improving glycemic control.

Mogroside V inhibits intestinal maltase enzyme, drastically suppressing the increase of blood sugar level caused by maltose (5).

Mogroside V has also been demonstrated to stimulate the secretion of insulin in the beta cells of the pancreas. Therefore, monk fruit can be an alternative to table sugar for diabetics (6).

  1. Can help you lose weight. Monk fruit has zero calories, and contains no carbohydrates, or fats either. As such it does not make you gain weight when you consume them. Substituting monk fruit sugar for table sugar is therefore an effective method of losing weight by cutting out carbohydrate and calorie intake (2)

Besides, mogrosides in monk fruit have been reported to inhibit pancreatic lipase activity. Lipase is an enzyme secreted in the pancreas, stomach, and mouth, that breakdown fats to facilitate digestion and absorption in the body. The pancreas is the main organ that secretes lipase which is released to the duodenum where fat digestion is optimal. Inhibiting pancreatic lipase activity will result in less fat broken down, digested, absorbed, and stored, consequently less weight gain (7, 8).

  1. Can protect against cardiovascular diseases. Mogrosides are potent antioxidants, sequestering free radicals that cause oxidative stress and consequently cell death. Mogrosides prevents cholesterol oxidation, which build up to form plaques, that can accumulate in blood vessels and arteries in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and heart attack (9).

  2. Protects against cancer. Mogroside V shows anti-tumor activity such as promoting apoptosis, a process of programmed cell death, that eliminates cells that have been damaged beyond repairs that can cause cancer if not destroyed. It also protects the pancreas against cancer by inhibiting angiogenesis (creation of new blood vessels) and reducing vascular density of pancreatic tumor cells which suppresses both their growth and survival (10, 11).

  3. Protects against inflammation. Monk fruit has been used for centuries in Chinese traditional medicine a remedy for sore throat and to reduce phlegm. This is because mogrosides present in monk fruits have anti-inflammation properties, and as such reduce inflammation (12).

Monk fruit has been given the Generally Recognized as Safe approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), eliminating any concerns with its use in any food or drink (13). Moreover, the fact that its taste is about 200 times more than sugar, only a small quantity is needed to add sweetness to any food and drink restricting how much can be consumed by default.

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REFERENCES

  1. What is Monk Fruit’s History? (2020, November 16). Retrieved March 28, 2022, from Monk Fruit website: https://monkfruit.org/what-is-monk-fruit-2/

  2. FoodData central. (n.d.). Retrieved March 28, 2022, from Usda.gov website: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1103941/nutrients

  3. Monk fruit health benefits for professionals. (2020, November 16). Retrieved March 28, 2022, from Monk Fruit website: https://monkfruit.org/for-health-professionals/

  4. Itkin, M., Davidovich-Rikanati, R., Cohen, S., Portnoy, V., Doron-Faigenboim, A., Oren, E., … Schaffer, A. (2016). The biosynthetic pathway of the nonsugar, high-intensity sweetener mogroside V from Siraitia grosvenorii. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(47), E7619–E7628. doi:10.1073/pnas.1604828113

  5. Suzuki, Y. A., Murata, Y., Inui, H., Sugiura, M., & Nakano, Y. (2005). Triterpene glycosides of Siraitia grosvenori inhibit rat intestinal maltase and suppress the rise in blood glucose level after a single oral administration of maltose in rats. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 53(8), 2941–2946. doi:10.1021/jf0478105

  6. Zhou, Y., Zheng, Y., Ebersole, J., & Huang, C.-F. (2009). Insulin secretion stimulating effects of mogroside V and fruit extract of luo han kuo (Siraitia grosvenori Swingle) fruit extract. Yao Xue Xue Bao [Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica], 44(11), 1252–1257.

  7. Zhu, G., Fang, Q., Zhu, F., Huang, D., & Yang, C. (2021). Structure and function of pancreatic lipase-related protein 2 and its relationship with pathological states. Frontiers in Genetics, 12, 693538. doi:10.3389/fgene.2021.693538

  8. San, B. S., Chen, Y. P., Wang, Y. B., Tang, S. W., Pan, F. Y., Li, Z., & Sung, C. K. (2012). Anti-obesity effects of Mogrosides extracted from the fruits of Siraitia grosvenorii (Cucurbitaceae). African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 6, 1492–1501.

  9. Qin, X., Xiaojian, S., Ronggan, L., Yuxian, W., Zhunian, T., Shouji, G., & Heimbach, J. (2006). Subchronic 90-day oral (Gavage) toxicity study of a Luo Han Guo mogroside extract in dogs. Food and Chemical Toxicology: An International Journal Published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association, 44(12), 2106–2109. doi:10.1016/j.fct.2006.07.023

  10. What to know about monk fruit sugar. (n.d.). Retrieved March 28, 2022, from WebMD website: https://www.webmd.com/diet/what-to-know-about-monk-fruit-sugar

  11. Konoshima, T., & Takasaki, M. (2002). Cancer-chemopreventive effects of natural sweeteners and related compounds. Pure and Applied Chemistry, 74(7), 1309–1316. doi:10.1351/pac200274071309

  12. Monk fruit (Siraitia grosvenorii) - health aspects and food applications. Retrieved March 29, 2022, from Researchgate.net website: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/339106844_Monk_fruit_Siraitia_grosvenorii_-_health_aspects_and_food_applications

  13. Center for Food Safety, & Applied Nutrition. (2020, February 20). Additional information about high-intensity sweeteners. Retrieved March 29, 2022, from U.S. Food and Drug Administration website: https://www.fda.gov/food/food-additives-petitions/additional-information-about-high-intensity-sweeteners-permitted-use-food-united-states

 

 

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