Monk fruit vs stevia

Monk fruit vs stevia DEFAULT

We all know that sugar is bad for you, but are you doing yourself any favors when you reach for an alternative sweetener? Some people swear by stevia but that has its own downfalls. Then there's Monk Fruit, which has recently gained traction as an "all-natural" alternative – but does this fruit's nutritional profile live up to the hype? Here's everything you need to know about the sweetener wars: Cane sugar versus Stevia versus Monk Fruit, before you sweeten that ice tea again.

First, how much sugar (or sweetener) should you have in a day? As little as possible is the real guideline. But the American Heart Association states that men should be limiting themselves to no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams) each day, while women should stop at 6 teaspoons (25 grams) per day. Keep in mind that includes all sources. And many of the leading sources of added sugar include beverages (canned soda, fruit drinks, and sweetened coffee drinks), as well as sweet treats like cookies, candy, snacks, and all other sweets.

With many American adults looking to have less sugar in their diet, there are several alternatives to calorie-dense white sugar. Artificial sweeteners are FDA approved, but the conflicting research on our health may make people avoid them. Sugar alcohols are another option but could cause digestive issues if too much is consumed. There are also plant-based options, with stevia and monk fruit being two of the most common.

Stevia vs. Monk fruit: Which is Better for You? An RD's Take

If you’re wondering what the differences are between stevia and monk fruit, there are distinct reasons you might want to choose one over the other.

Monk Fruit Has Powerful Antioxidants

This round fruit, also known as lo han guo or Swingle fruit, is native to southern China and has been used as medicine to treat colds, flu, and digestive conditions for many centuries. Now, it is also utilized as a sweetener for foods and beverages. In order to create monk fruit sweeteners, the seeds and skin of the fruit are removed and the juice is collected.

Unlike cane sugar, monk fruit sweetener contains zero calories per serving and is 150 to 200 times sweeter. Many claim that there is a slight aftertaste, but it’s not as bitter as some other sweeteners. Monk fruit can also be an ideal substitute for sugar in baked goods due to its ability to remain stable at high temperatures. The only difference you may notice is the structure and texture of the foods you’re baking so try it out first before serving a big important cake or dinner party creation.

Monk fruit contains compounds called mogrosides, which give it its sweet taste but are also powerful antioxidants that are shown to reduce inflammation and even inhibit cancer growth in lab animals, in preliminary studies. This molecule isn’t absorbed in our gastrointestinal tract, which is why it winds up not contributing any calories to your dish. A 2020 study found that mogrosides' antioxidant properties reduce inflammatory markers and reduce oxidative stress, while another study in 2017 showed it has an ability to halt the proliferation of tumor cells, specifically pancreatic cancer growth, although researchers warn this needs more study. Yet another study published in Nutrients in 2016 found that mogrosides may prevent colon and laryngeal (voice box) cancer by inhibiting cancer-specific cells and having an anticancer effect on tumors in mice. Further human research needs to be conducted.

Pros and Cons of monk fruit

Some pros of monk fruit include:

  • Zero calories, carbs, and sugar
  • No evidence of harmful side effects
  • Can be purchased as a granule, powder, and liquid
  • May potentially benefit health
  • Little to no bitter aftertaste

Monk fruit comes with some cons as well, however. First, some manufacturers may combine monk fruit extract with sugar or other sweeteners which wind up offsetting its potential health benefits. It can also be a bit more costly than other sweeteners since it is difficult to grow and expensive to export.

Stevia Has Zero Calories but Has an Aftertaste

Instead of fruit, stevia comes from the Stevia rebaudiana plant, which is found in certain parts of South America. Stevia leaves contain eight different glycosides (which are basically molecules of sugar) that are isolated and purified to create the sweetener. Out of all eight, there are two that are more plentiful and commonly used and researched. They include stevioside and rebaudioside A (reb A).

Similar to monk fruit, stevia doesn’t contain any calories and is about 200 to 400 times sweeter than white sugar. Some opinions state that the aftertaste of stevia is unpleasant and bitter or metallic. Because of this, some manufacturers may add other sweeteners to stevia to offset the flavor, including agave, turbinado sugar, or sugar alcohols.

Stevia has been linked with various health benefits.

A 2020 review published in theInternational Journal of Clinical Research & Trials found beneficial data that shows stevia's ability to lower hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), hypertension (high blood pressure), and inflammation. A 2019 study in Nutrients also states that stevia could help individuals who are diabetic or looking to lose weight since replacing cane sugar with stevia lowers calories, blood sugar and keeps insulin from spiking. The study found that participants had lower appetite sensation, no further increased food intake, and low postprandial (after meal) blood sugar levels after receiving a preload of stevia (one gram).

Although steviol glycosides are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA, the whole stevia leaf and crude stevia extracts are not. This may turn people away from using stevia since it is more refined and processed than other natural sweeteners.

Those who are allergic to plants that come from the Asteraceae family should avoid stevia altogether. This includes daisies, ragweed, chrysanthemums, and sunflowers.

Pros and Cons of Stevia

Stevia has comparable pros to monk fruit, but a few more cons. The pros include:

  • Zero calories, carbs, and sugar
  • Can be purchased in many forms
  • Has potential health benefits

When it comes to the disadvantages of stevia, they include:

  • Potential gastrointestinal side effects, such as gas and bloating (if combined with sugar alcohols)
  • Could cause allergic reactions in some individuals
  • Higher cost
  • More processed
  • Mixed with other sweeteners
  • Unpleasant aftertaste

Bottom Line: Both stevia and monk fruit are natural alternativesto cane sugar or artificial sweeteners. Since neither is better or worse than the other, the only thing you have to consider when choosing between the two is which flavor you prefer.


Monk Fruit vs. Stevia: Which Sweetener Should You Use?

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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.

Fresh monk fruit doesn’t store well and isn’t appealing. Monk fruit is usually dried and used to make medicinal teas. Monk fruit sweeteners are made from the fruit’s extract. They may be blended with dextrose or other ingredients to balance sweetness.

Monk fruit extract 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 as “generally recognized as safe,” or GRAS.

What are the benefits of monk fruit?

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 , 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 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.

What are the disadvantages of monk fruit?

Other cons to monk fruit sweeteners include:

  • Some monk fruit sweeteners contain other sweeteners such as dextrose. Depending on how the ingredients are processed, this may make the end product less natural. This may also impact its nutritional profile.
  • Mogrosides may stimulate insulin secretion. This may not be helpful for people whose pancreas is already overworking to make insulin.
  • They haven’t been on the U.S. scene very long. They’re not as well studied in humans as other sweeteners.

What is stevia?

Stevia is 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. Commercial stevia sweeteners are made from a compound of the stevia plant, which is an herb from the Asteraceae family.

The use of stevia in foods is a bit confusing. The hasn’t approved whole leaf or crude stevia extracts as a food additive. Despite being used for centuries as a natural sweetener, the FDA considers them unsafe. They claim literature indicates stevia in its most natural form may affect blood sugar. It may also affect reproductive, renal, and cardiovascular systems.

On the other hand, the FDA has approved specific refined stevia products as GRAS. These products are made from Rebaudioside A (Reb A), a glycoside that gives stevia its sweetness. The FDA indicates products marketed as “Stevia” are not true stevia. Instead, they contain highly purified Reb A extract that’s GRAS.

Refined stevia Reb A sweeteners (called stevia in this article) have zero calories, zero fat, and zero carbs. Some contain other sweeteners such as agave or turbinado sugar.

What are the disadvantages of stevia?

Stevia has several other downsides, including:

  • It may cause allergic reaction. If you’re allergic to any plant from the Asteraceae family such as daisies, ragweed, chrysanthemums, and sunflowers, you shouldn’t use stevia.
  • It may be blended with higher-calorie or higher-glycemic sweeteners.
  • Most stevia products are highly refined.

How to choose the right sweetener for you

When choosing a sweetener, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you just need it to sweeten your morning coffee or tea, or do you plan to bake with it?
  • Are you diabetic or concerned about side effects?
  • Does it bother you if your sweetener is not 100 percent pure?
  • Do you like the taste?
  • Can you afford it?

Monk fruit and stevia are versatile. Both can be substituted for sugar in beverages, smoothies, sauces, and dressings. Keep in mind, less is more when it comes to these sweeteners. Start with the least amount and add more to taste.

Monk fruit and stevia may be used for baking because both are heat stable. How much you use depends on the blend and if it contains other sweeteners. In most cases, you’ll need much less monk fruit or stevia than white sugar. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before using, or you may end up with something inedible.

Check out: 19 desserts you won’t believe are actually healthy »

The Takeaway

Monk fruit and stevia are nonnutritive sweeteners. This means they have little-to-no calories or nutrients. Both are marketed as natural alternatives to sugar. This is true to a point. Monk fruit is typically not as refined as stevia, but may contain other ingredients. The stevia you buy in the grocery store is vastly different from the stevia you grow in your backyard. Even so, stevia and monk fruit sweeteners are more natural choices than artificial sweeteners containing aspartame, saccharine, and other synthetic ingredients.

If you’re diabetic or trying to lose weight, read monk fruit or stevia product labels carefully to see if higher-calorie and higher-glycemic sweeteners were added.

In the end, it all comes down to taste. If you don’t like the taste of monk fruit or stevia, their pros and cons don’t matter. If possible, try them both to see which you prefer.

Keep reading: Are natural sweeteners actually healthier than sugar? »

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What are monk fruit and stevia?

We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

Monk fruit and stevia both come from plants. People use products made from the extracts to sweeten foods and drinks. These products contain very few calories, if any.

In this article, we describe what monk fruit and stevia are, the pros and cons of using each, and how to choose between them.

We also discuss whether these sweeteners are safe for people with diabetes and look at some alternatives.

Monk fruit

Monk fruit is also called luo han guo or swingle. It looks like a small gourd, and it grows on a vine.

Monk fruit is native to regions of Southeast Asia, including some parts of Thailand and China. Buddhist monks in the 13th century were the first to cultivate the fruit, which is the reason for its name.

Fresh monk fruit spoils rather quickly. Traditionally, people used dried monk fruit in herbal medicines.

Today, monk fruit is most popular as a natural sweetener. The fruit’s extract contains substances called mogrosides, which are intensely sweet.

According to the International Food Information Council Foundation, monk fruit is around 150–200 times sweeter than sugar. Some manufacturers mix the extract with different sugars to balance out the intensity.

A variety of monk fruit sweeteners are available to purchase online.

Monk fruit pros

A monk fruit sweetener has several benefits when compared with sugar:

  • Zero calories. Monk fruit extract contains no calories, which is helpful for people on diets that restrict a person’s caloric intake.
  • Zero carbohydrates. The extract also contains no carbohydrates, which may make it ideal for people on low-carb or keto diets.
  • Zero sugar. There is no sugar in pure monk fruit extract, which means that consuming it will not affect blood sugar levels.
  • No harmful side effects. The considers monk fruit sweeteners to be generally regarded as safe. There appears to be no evidence that monk fruit sweeteners cause harmful side effects.
  • Available in multiple forms. Monk fruit sweeteners are marketed as granules, powders, and liquids. Some products may be easy to carry and use throughout the day.

Monk fruit sweeteners may also have some health benefits:

  • Antioxidants. Some in animals suggest that mogrosides extracted from monk fruit may have potent antioxidant properties. Further research is needed to understand the effects in humans. Also, it is unclear if eating the processed sweetener has the same benefits as eating the fruit.
  • Diabetes. in animals also suggests that mogrosides play a role in controlling blood sugar levels. Results of another indicate that mogroside extracts may help prevent diabetic complications. However, researchers have yet to investigate these effects in humans.

Monk fruit cons

For the following reasons, a person may think twice before using monk fruit sweeteners to replace sugar:

  • Availability and cost. Monk fruit is difficult to grow and costly to export, which means that it is not as widely available as other sweeteners, and it can be expensive.
  • Taste. Monk fruit sweeteners taste different from regular table sugar, and some find the taste unusual or unpleasant. The sweeteners can also leave an aftertaste.
  • Other ingredients. Some manufacturers balance the taste of monk fruit by mixing it with other sugars, such as maltodextrin or dextrose. This can change the sweetener’s nutritional profile and make it unsafe or undesirable for some people.


Stevia is a sweetener extracted from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant, which is native to some parts of South America.

The leaves contain substances knowns as steviol glycosides, which are sweeter than table sugar.

People have used whole leaves or crude extracts from the plant as a sweetener for many centuries. Despite this, the have not approved the use of raw stevia, due to safety concerns.

However, the FDA do consider high-purity extracts of steviol glycosides to be generally regarded as safe.

This means that, in the U.S., stevia sweeteners usually consist of highly purified extracts of the steviol glycosides rebaudioside A or stevioside. They may contain a mixture of both.

A variety of stevia sweeteners are available to purchase online.

Stevia pros

When compared with table sugar, stevia has similar advantages to monk fruit, including:

  • zero calories
  • zero carbohydrates
  • zero sugars
  • availability in many forms

Stevia cons

Some potential disadvantages to using stevia sweeteners include:

  • Side effects. Stevia can cause gastrointestinal side effects in some people, including gas, nausea, and bloating.
  • Allergic reactions. Some people have allergic reactions to steviol glycosides that are not extremely pure. Stevia is part of the Asteraceae plant family, which includes daisies, sunflowers, and chrysanthemums. Anyone with allergies to these plants or others in the family should avoid stevia products.
  • Availability and cost. Like monk fruit, stevia is generally more expensive and less widely available than sugar and some other sweeteners.
  • Taste. Some people find that stevia products have an unpleasant aftertaste, which may be bitter or metallic.
  • Other ingredients. As with monk fruit, manufacturers sometimes mix stevia with other sweeteners to balance out the taste. This can change the nutritional profile of the product and make it unsafe or undesirable for some people.
  • Refined. The FDA only permits the use of highly purified stevia products in the US. People looking for a truly natural alternative to sugar may find this unsatisfactory.

Are monk fruit and stevia safe for people with diabetes?

Monk fruit and stevia are both low-glycemic sweeteners and should have little or no effect on a person’s blood sugar levels.

However, it is important to check the labels of products that contain these sweeteners. Other ingredients may contain sugars or carbohydrates.

Choosing between monk fruit and stevia

Monk fruit and stevia have very similar properties. For many, the choice between them simply comes down to personal preference. A person may want to try both and see which they prefer.

When choosing between monk fruit and stevia, considerations may include:

  • cost
  • availability
  • taste
  • added ingredients, such as other sugars or sweeteners
  • side effects

People with allergies to other plants in the Asteraceae family should avoid stevia.

Anyone who experiences gastrointestinal side effects from stevia may prefer monk fruit sweeteners.

Also, it is important to consider the use. One sweetener may work better in tea and coffee, while the other may be better for cooking and baking.

Alternatives to monk fruit and stevia

There are a variety of alternative sweeteners.

The FDA have approved six high-intensity sweeteners for food:

  • saccharin
  • sucralose
  • neotame
  • aspartame
  • advantame
  • acesulfame potassium, which is also known as Ace-K

However, these may negatively affect blood sugar management, gut health, and cardiovascular health. More research is needed.

For people interested in sweeteners that contain some sugar and calories, natural choices include:

  • fruit juice concentrate
  • maple syrup
  • honey
  • date paste
  • agave nectar
  • yacon syrup

Sugar alcohols are a type of carbohydrate. They are an alternative to sugar and contain fewer calories. Examples include:

  • sorbitol
  • xylitol
  • lactitol
  • mannitol
  • erythritol
  • maltitol

However, sugar alcohols can cause gastrointestinal side effects, such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea.


Monk fruit and stevia are non-nutritive sweeteners. This means that the products contain very few calories, if any. They both come from plants, and they have very similar properties.

Monk fruit and stevia sweeteners are generally safe for people with diabetes, but always check the labeling to ensure that the manufacturers have not added sugars or carbohydrates.

For many people, choosing between these two sweeteners will come down to cost, availability, and taste.

However, stevia can cause gastrointestinal side effects. Also, anyone with an allergy to plants from the Asteraceae family should avoid stevia.

Both monk fruit and stevia sweeteners are available to purchase online.

Dr.Berg Compares 4 Artificial Sweeteners – Monk Fruit, Stevia, Erythritol \u0026 Xylitol

Monk Fruit or Stevia: Which Natural Sweetener Should You Choose?

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With so many natural sweeteners out there it can be hard to know which one to choose. Two of the most popular options are monk fruit and stevia and you might be wondering, what’s the difference? Here are some key things to know when deciding which one to use. 

What is monk fruit?

Monk fruit (also known as Buddha fruit and luo han guo) is a small, round fruit native to Southeast Asia. Monk fruit is quite perishable so you can find it dried or in the form of a sweetener made by crushing the flesh and extracting it into a powder or a liquid. 

With zero calories and a low score on the glycemic index, it’s a popular sweetener among those following low-sugar or low-carbohydrate diets. Monk fruit actually gets its sweetness from compounds called mogrosides that have antioxidant activities.  This sweetener (also called monk fruit extract) comes in a variety of options including granulated, powdered and liquid. It’s 100 to 250 times sweeter than table sugar, so you’ll want to use it sparingly.

Liquid vs. granulated monk fruit

Liquid monk fruit sweeteners are made from concentrated monk fruit extract, sometimes mixed with water. Monk fruit liquid sweetener is best for adding to coffee, tea and smoothies. There are also some liquid sweeteners on the market that combine both stevia and monk fruit.

Some products combine monk fruit sweetener with other sweeteners such as inulin fiber, erythritol and dextrose. This can reduce the intensity of the sweetness, and also act as a bulking agent. Some granulated blends actually work as a one to one replacement for sugar, which is helpful when you’re looking to substitute it in baked goods.

What is stevia?

Stevia is considered a natural sweetener, derived from the stevia rebaudiana plant in South America. Like monk fruit, it is also considered sweeter than sugar (up to 400 times as sweet), with the sweetness coming from the leaves of the stevia plant. In addition to being a natural sweetener, stevia has similar advantages to monk fruit, including zero carbohydrates, zero calories and zero sugar, and is available in many forms.

Liquid vs granulated stevia

Stevia can be purchased in liquid, granulated and powdered form with liquid being most popular. Like monk fruit, the liquid is best for adding to coffee, tea and smoothies. The granulated or powdered varieties work well for baking.

The takeaway

Both monk fruit and stevia are natural sweeteners that don’t impact your blood sugar levels. 

From a digestion perspective, stevia may cause digestive upset such as bloating or nausea in certain people. On the other hand, if you have an allergy to any members of the gourd family of plants, then you might want to steer clear of monk fruit.

But for most people, the difference between the two comes down to taste. Stevia tends to have a slightly bitter aftertaste, while monk fruit may have slightly less flavor. Bottom line: Try them both and see which one you prefer.

Try our our Grain-Free Pistachio & Cranberry Scones using granulated monk fruit sweetener. And to give stevia a whirl, try this “Healthified” Snow Cone recipe.



Stevia monk fruit vs

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