Does Monk Fruit Break a Fast?
Are you craving something sweet while fasting? You might want to add monk fruit to your intermittent fasting routine. Of course, it’s normal to have cravings during a fast, but giving in might break your fast.
Let’s discover more about monk fruit and see what kind of impact it can have on your fasting. Ready to meet a new ally?
What Is Monk Fruit?
Other names for monk fruit include swingle fruit or Lo Hun Guo. It is a fruit plant used and grown in China for Eastern medicine for several centuries. Research has shown that monk fruit is 250-400x sweeter than regular sugarcane . However, it doesn’t contain the same carbohydrates that increase blood sugar levels.
Monk fruits’ sweetness comes from an antioxidant known as mogrosides. Although there are few studies on the impact of monk fruit on humans, animal studies show that it positively affects the gut biome .
Additionally, it could cause an increase in insulin levels. For those intermittently fasting for weight loss, monk fruit doesn’t contain any calories, and it offers several antioxidants that are great for the body.
Monk fruits are commonly found in the dried form; that’s how the monk fruit sweetener is created. First, you crush the fruit; then dry the resulting juice until it becomes a concentrated powder used only for sweetening purposes.
Unfortunately, monk fruits are rarely found, making them uncommon and pricey. Therefore, if you’re considering adding it to your fasting routine, you need to make sure you can afford it.
How Does It Affect Blood Sugar Levels?
One of the reasons why monk fruit is safe is because it doesn’t raise blood sugar levels. Although it tastes very sweet, it doesn’t contain the regular sugar that spikes the blood sugar level. So you can utilize it as a sugar substitute when fasting and on keto diets .
Due to its safety, it is approved for general use in the US. Therefore, pregnant women and children can enjoy monk fruit sweeteners. Additionally, it is a safe option for people with diabetes . However, you should converse with your doctor before eating monk fruit if you have a medical condition to confirm it is a safe option for you.
Is It Safe to Consume During a Fast?
Monk fruit doesn’t break your fast if you don’t experience an insulin response to it. Therefore, it is safe to consume for all those without an insulin response. Research shows that monk fruit and other sweeteners like stevia can lead to an insulin response in some people, although there’s no such response for most of us.
Since it varies from one person to another, test it out to learn how your body responds to it before determining it is safe for you to consume.
Generally, monk fruit is a safe sweetener without side effects, unlike artificial sweeteners. However, since it has no calories, it doesn’t break your fast if you’re fasting to lose weight.
The effects during a fast vary depending on why you have a sugar craving. For example, if your blood sugar is dropping, it might be best to have some sugar, as monk fruit has minimal to no effect on your blood sugar level.
As a rule, make sure to read the label before buying monk fruit sweeteners - some options may contain other sweeteners that could affect your blood sugar. At Hydrant, we’re committed to keeping our products free of artificial sweeteners, stevia, and synthetic colors. So when we launched our No Added Sugar line, we turned to monk fruit to help craft the right flavor profile and light sweetness for our Lemonade and Watermelonade flavors. Our No Added Sugar line still has the same taste and hydration benefits as our other products, but can support those who follow a reduced or no-sugar lifestyle and diet.
What Are the Benefits of Monk Fruit?
Apart from being a great substitute to artificial sweeteners, it has several other health advantages. Below are some of the benefits of monk fruit.
- It Promotes Weight Loss
Monk fruit in its natural form doesn’t contain fat, calories, or carbs. Therefore, it is an excellent option if you’re trying to shed some weight. In addition, you can avoid carbs and calories by simply consuming products that use monk fruit extracts instead of carbohydrate-containing sugars.
- It Is Safe for People With Diabetes
Another benefit of monk fruit that makes it a great option while on a fast is that it has little to no effect on blood sugar levels. This means it is safe for people with diabetes as long as you’re consuming it in its natural form.
Again, it is vital to read product labels when purchasing a product that features monk fruit sweetener. This ensures that your choice doesn’t contain sugar or any other sweetener that could increase your insulin levels.
- It Contains Anti-Inflammatory Properties
The mogrosides present in monk fruit contain antioxidants that protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals. This damage is usually caused by inflammation. Despite being one of the ways that the body heals itself, chronic inflammation is a symptom of many health problems.
These issues include arthritis, heart diseases, cancer, Crohn’s disease, and digestive disorders. Thankfully, monk fruit has anti-inflammatory properties, so it helps protect your cells from these diseases.
- It Promotes Longevity
For those fasting for longevity, monk fruit is safe to consume during your fast because it actually promotes longevity. There have been many studies about the relationship between aging and mitochondrial health . Antioxidants are crucial in preserving mitochondria because their DNA is quite fragile.
During its mutation, it is exposed to malfunction, which could cause problems for the body cells. But monk fruits help regulate inflammation and provide antioxidants for the body, keeping the mitochondria healthy and preventing oxidative stress.
- It Might Contain Anti-Cancer Properties
Although there is limited research to show that monk fruit contains anti-cancer properties, a 2016 study showed that monk fruit extract could suppress throat and colorectal cancer growth. The research authors suggested that when you use monk fruit as a dietary supplement, there are many benefits you get to enjoy beyond standard medication .
Additionally, mogrosides’ antioxidants can minimize DNA damage caused by free radicals. Many scientists associate DNA damage with cancer growth.
- It Can Help You Fight Infections
A growing concern in the medical space today is antibiotic resistance . If you’re suffering from an infection caused by germs that have grown a resistance to standard antibiotics, doctors may find it difficult to treat you. Unfortunately, one of the leading causes of antibiotic resistance is the overuse of antibiotics.
An example of infections with antibiotic resistance is candida, a disease that causes painful oral thrush and affects other body parts like the digestive system. However, some studies have suggested that monk fruit has antibiotic properties that can help fight it .
Are There Any Potential Side Effects?
Since there are several benefits associated with monk fruit, you might be wondering if there are side effects to taking it while fasting. The good news is, no research on monk fruit consumption during a fast has highlighted any potential ones. Therefore, being a natural sweetener with no side effects, it is certified GRAS by the FDA .
However, as with any type of sweetener, consuming monk fruit during a fast could lead to further sugar cravings in your body. Most times, these cravings could lead to the consumption of snacks and meals that are not healthy for your wellness goals and defeats the purpose of fasting. So keep your guard up!
To put it simply, the more you include sugar of any type in your diet, the more your body is sure to crave it. However, you should ensure monk fruit or its sweetener isn’t present in everything you consume. Minimizing the amount helps keep the sugar cravings at bay while ensuring you feel your best throughout your fast.
Another thing to note about monk fruit is the aftertaste. While some people find the aftertaste bitter, others find it pleasant and a better choice than artificial sweeteners like aspartame and saccharin. As with many other things, it really comes down to your own taste!
The answer to the question: does monk fruit break a fast? is relative. While it is usually beneficial to most, it might not be the best choice for everyone. Pay attention to its effect on your body: if you have no insulin response to monk fruit, then it may be a great addition to your intermittent fasting!
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