More Than a Sugar Substitute
Monk fruit refers to the fruit of Siraitia grosvenori, a tiny, grape-sized melon, primarily cultivated in southern China, that’s known for its sweet taste. But monk fruit may have more going for it than just calorie-free sweetness. Also called lo han guo and Buddha fruit, monk fruit has been used medicinally in China for centuries. Preliminary studies show that monk fruit has antioxidant properties that protect against free radicals, and research is still underway to explore possible anti-cancer benefits associated with the fruit.
The Bitter Side of Sweet
With all the health risks associated with too much sugar and high fructose corn syrup — obesity, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes, just to name a few — you might be wondering, “Why do we continue to sweeten our food?” If consumerism tells us anything, the answer is that sweet, sweet flavor.
Today, sugar (and it’s cheaply made and sweeter relative, high fructose corn syrup) is added to some 75% of all foods purchased, according to a 2012 study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The amount of sugar we consume has increased dramatically over time, and so too have our number of options for how we choose to indulge a craving for something sweet.
Thanks to a plethora of sugar substitutes, it’s easier than ever to cut down on empty sugar calories in your diet. But are they all healthy options? According to some studies, non-artificial alternatives like sugar alcohols and plant-derived sweeteners have the natural edge.
These synthetically produced food additives offer sweetness without calories, but they don’t give your body the energy boost it gets from fructose and natural sugar substitutes. Another downside? Almost all artificial sweeteners have a distinct, and often unpleasant, aftertaste. This category of sugar substitutes is widely available and includes products like NutraSweet (aspartame), Sweet’N Low (saccharin), and Splenda (sucralose). Some studies show negative side effects tied to high consumption of these sweeteners, and some aren’t recommended for use during pregnancy.
This all-natural class of sweeteners is found in fruits, mushrooms, and cheeses. Sugar alcohols are not chemically derived. The body absorbs sugar alcohols differently than it absorbs fructose, which makes them low on the glycemic index. Xylitol, sorbitol, glycerol, and erythritol are popular in many foods and beverages. Although erythritol is more expensive to manufacture, its superior taste and health benefits makes it the #1 choice for NatureWise Energy.
Some sugar substitutes are from the botanical kingdom. Stevia and monk fruit are plant-derived sweeteners that contain glycosides, a group of molecules that bind to the plant’s natural sugars to intensify the sweetness. In fact, they are estimated to be some 150-200 times sweeter tasting than refined sugar. As such, a little goes a long way!
NatureWise Energy: The Safer Alternative to Sugary Drinks
The zero-calorie sweetness of NatureWise Whole Body Vitality Drinks comes from erythritol, monk fruit, stevia, and a blend of organic citrus juices. While healthcare professionals have cautioned against the heavy consumption of some artificial sugar substitutes, like saccharin, the sweeteners we use in NatureWise are GRAS affirmed (generally recognized as safe) by the FDA. It’s the natural way to replace the calories and sweetness of sugar — without the risk.