Monk fruit and stevia are two popular sugar substitutes for people who want to live a healthier lifestyle. You might be asking what the difference is between monk fruit and stevia, which are both plant-based sweeteners often used to sweeten food and beverages. When picking which one to choose, keep these points in mind.
Monk fruit (also called Buddha fruit or luo han guo) is a tiny, round Southeast Asian fruit. Because monk fruit is perishable, you can buy it dried or as a sweetener prepared by crushing the flesh and extracting the juice into a powder or a liquid.
It’s a popular sweetener among folks on low-sugar or low-carbohydrate diets because it has no calories and a low glycemic index score. The sweetness of monk fruit comes from chemicals called mogrosides, which have antioxidant properties. This sweetener (also known as monk fruit extract) is available in granulated, powdered, and liquid forms. It is 100 to 250 times sweeter than table sugar.
Stevia is a natural sweetener obtained from the South American stevia rebaudiana plant. It, like monk fruit, is sweeter than sugar (up to 200 times sweeter), with the sweetness coming from the stevia plant’s leaves. Stevia, in addition to being a natural sweetener, has similar benefits to monk fruit, such as containing no carbohydrates, calories, or sugar, and is accessible in a variety of forms.
Comparative analysis of monk fruit and stevia
|Properties||Monk fruit extract||Stevia|
|Help in weight loss||Yes||Yes|
|Side effects||Hives or rash, rapid or weak pulse, dizziness, swollen tongue, stomach pain or vomiting, wheezing||Bloating, nausea, Low blood pressure and gas|
|Forms||Liquid, granules, and powder forms||Liquid, granules, and powder forms|
|After taste||Fruity after taste||Bitter aftertaste|
|Sweetness level||100 to 250 times sweeter than table sugar||200 to 300 times sweeter than table sugar|
|Allergic reaction||Allergies to monk fruit are uncommon. Monk fruit is not safe for people who are allergic to any plant in the Cucurbitaceae family (cucumbers, pumpkin, melons, and squash). If you’re allergic to other gourds, you’re more likely to be allergic to monk fruit||It has the potential to trigger an allergic reaction. Stevia is not safe for people who are sensitive to any plant in the Asteraceae family (daisies, ragweed, chrysanthemums, and sunflowers)|
|Adulteration||Since adulteration is possible, you should get it from a reputable store or order it online||It’s possible that it’ll be mixed with low-cost, higher-glycaemic sweets at times|
|Safety profile||Children, pregnant people, and women who are breastfeeding are all safe to eat monk fruits||Steviol glycosides – compounds derived from the stevia leaf – are generally acknowledged as safe by the FDA, but stevia has not been approved as a non-nutritive sweetener; it is classified as a nutritional supplement. For both breastfeeding mothers and children, there is no reliable information|
|Uses||Monk fruit extract can be used to sweeten practically everything, including coffee, hot tea, iced tea, or lemonade, salad dressings, smoothies, frostings, yogurt, oatmeal, and other hot cereals||Same as monk fruit extract|
Choosing between monk fruit and stevia
The characteristics of monk fruit and stevia are quite similar. For many, the choice between them is just a matter of personal taste. One might wish to test both and discover which one they prefer.
Consider the following factors while deciding between monk fruit and stevia:
- added ingredients, such as other sugars or sweeteners
- side effects