I wrote an article a while back about how BAD sugar is for your health. To recap, sugar sends signals to store fat everywhere. Especially around the liver, which causes fatty liver disease, which is a leading cause of death in the States behind heart disease, which sugar also causes!!
Another reason sugar spiking your insulin, and increasing insulin resistance, is bad? Well, your brain needs to know HOW to use glucose properly to use it for energy…but if you have too much of it, your brain gets confused and can’t produce the energy. Obviously, that’s an awful thing, and puts the brain straight on a course for Alzheimer’s.
So sugar is bad. No question about it, and I don’t think anybody was questioning it…
But Melissa, you say. I stay away from sugar and instead have artificial sweeteners!
Well, the science is torn on how bad Splenda etc. is.
Aspartame has been linked to cancer, but other studies have since questioned these risks. I wrote an article on this too!
But both a study on mice, and another study on humans, showed that consuming artificial sweeteners messes with the microbes in your body (such as the body’s natural bacteria). The scientists concluded that the sweeteners still messed with people’s blood glucose, and metabolism…Just with a different “method” than regular sugar.
This study asked 7 people to down 10 sweetener packets a day (ugh, I hope they got paid well!!), and 4 out of the 7 people became pre-diabetic, within 3 days.
Really! I’m not joking!
Again, this is because the sweetener messes with good gut bacteria.
There are other studies that didn’t come to the same conclusion, but I think the results here are pretty hard to dispute!
So now for the main event: monk fruit!
It may be a dull dusty color…but this stuff is both sweet and superfood-esque!!
It’s a melon from southern China, actually, named for the monks who grew it 100s of years ago. You’ll probably buy it in powdered form, and that’s an extract from the dried fruit.
According to Healthline, while most artificial sweeteners are “controversial,” monk fruit in the raw has no side effects from tests!! That doesn’t mean we know FOR SURE it’s better than, say, stevia, a different naturally-sourced artificial sweetener. Just that the signs point to yes! (The studies I mentioned above did not test monk fruit.)
It’s sweet from natural “mogroside” molecules that don’t increase blood sugars. And that’s not all…there’s a reason it was also used as an ancient Chinese medicine! The mogrosides also have anti-inflammatory abilities, and basically all disease has its root in inflammation.
All you have to do is add it to your drink!
OK, SO if monk fruit is so great, why is cola made with stevia instead?
Well, the same reason that companies would use (for example) “artificial flavors” instead of fresh fruit…Because of the high cost…And because not everyone likes the taste.
The fruit costs about twice as much as stevia, and some people don’t like the taste of monk fruit as well. But it’s also new to the Western diet…which I think is really important to consider. Lots of foods take time to get used to, especially natural foods not loaded with additives and fake flavors. 😉
Think of it like getting used to the taste of dark chocolate…which you should also be consuming!