What is monk fruit syrup?

Monk fruit syrup is a natural low-calorie sweetener that is extracted from monk fruit. Monk fruit, also known as luo han guo, is a small round fruit native to parts of Southern China and Northern Thailand. The sweetness comes from unique antioxidants called mogrosides that are found inside the fruit. Monk fruit syrup contains zero calories and zero glycemic index, making it a popular alternative sweetener for people managing diabetes, weight issues, or who want to reduce their sugar intake. Here is a more in-depth look at what monk fruit syrup is, how it’s made, its health benefits, and how to use it.

What is Monk Fruit?

Monk fruit, or Siraitia grosvenorii, is a vine in the gourd family that produces a small round fruit about 5-7 cm wide. It is native to the mountains of Southern China and Northern Thailand, where it has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine as a cold and cough remedy and to treat digestive issues. The fruit was named after the monks who first cultivated it centuries ago, hence the name “monk fruit.” The Chinese nickname for it is luo han guo meaning “arhat fruit”, referring to the Buddhist concept that those who have achieved enlightenment and go to nirvana are called arhats. Monk fruit is also known as the “longevity fruit” in China due to its various health properties.

Appearance and Taste

The monk fruit itself has a green to yellow exterior skin that encloses a sweet flesh and seeds inside. When ripe, the skin turns brown and splits open to reveal the inner flesh and seeds. Inside, the flesh tastes very sweet, even sweeter than most fruits, with a subtle floral undertone reminiscent of a melon. The seeds are not edible and the fruit is not typically eaten fresh off the vine due to its intense sweetness. Instead, the fruit is primarily used for the sweet juice and syrup that is extracted from the flesh.

How is Monk Fruit Syrup Made?

To make monk fruit syrup or monk fruit sweetener, the flesh of the fruit is crushed and the juice is collected. The active sweet components called mogrosides are then extracted from the juice. Mogrosides make up about 1% of the flesh of the monk fruit. The final product is a concentrated, crystalized form of the sweet mogrosides that can then be used as a sugar substitute. Here is an overview of how commercial monk fruit syrup is made:

  1. Harvest: Monk fruits are harvested by hand when ripe and then quickly processed to preserve freshness.
  2. Wash and Crush: The fruits are washed and crushed to collect the flesh and juice.
  3. Extract: The sweet mogrosides are extracted from the juice using a combination of filtration, ion exchange, and column chromatography.
  4. Concentrate: The extracted mogrosides are concentrated into a thick syrup using low temperatures to avoid damaging the components.
  5. Crystallize: The syrup is crystallized and further dried into a powdered extract.
  6. Blending: The monk fruit extract powder is blended with other natural ingredients to produce the final monk fruit sweetener product.
  7. Packaging: The final sweetener can be packaged as a liquid syrup or crystallized into granules.

The entire process is natural with no harsh chemicals used at any stage. The result is an extract that is 100-250 times sweeter than regular sugar but contains no calories or artificial substances.

Monk Fruit Syrup Nutrition Facts

Monk fruit syrup gets its sweetness from unique antioxidants called mogrosides, instead of sugar like other sweeteners. The main mogrosides in monk fruit are mogroside-5, 11, 24 and siamenoside 1. Here are some key nutrition facts about monk fruit syrup:

  • Zero calories – Monk fruit syrup contains no calories or carbohydrates per serving.
  • Zero glycemic impact – It does not raise blood sugar or insulin levels.
  • Non-GMO – Monk fruit is not genetically modified.
  • All-natural – Made from just monk fruit extract and no artificial ingredients.
  • 100-250x sweeter than sugar – Just a tiny amount provides intense sweetness.
  • No bitter aftertaste – Has a pure, clean sweetness without aftertaste.

Given the zero calorie, low glycemic properties, monk fruit syrup is popular for low carb, diabetic, Keto, and other sugar-free diets. The lack of nutrients also makes it suitable for fasting.

Health Benefits of Monk Fruit Sweetener

Using monk fruit syrup and monk fruit sweeteners in place of regular sugar can provide a number of potential health advantages:

Lowers Risk of Obesity and Diabetes

Monk fruit has zero calories, carbohydrates, and glycemic index. This makes it a no-calorie sweetener that does not impact blood glucose or insulin. Using monk fruit syrup can lower risk factors for obesity and diabetes.

Dental Health

Unlike table sugar, monk fruit syrup does not feed bacteria in the mouth that cause tooth decay and erosion. It may help lower risk of cavities and maintain dental health.


Mogrosides contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the body. This may benefit conditions like arthritis, heart disease, and autoimmune disorders.

Anti-Cancer Potential

Early research shows mogrosides made from monk fruit have anti-tumor effects and the ability to inhibit the growth of certain cancer cells in the lab. More studies are needed to determine cancer-fighting abilities in humans.


Animal studies suggest monk fruit mogrosides may have an anti-obesity effect. The compounds appear to influence fat metabolism in a positive way, lowering weight gain from overfeeding.


Monk fruit has long been prized in China for longevity and was nicknamed the “longevity fruit”. The antioxidants may help combat free radical damage related to aging and oxidative stress.

Is Monk Fruit Syrup Keto?

Yes, monk fruit syrup is keto-friendly and can be included in a ketogenic diet. Since it contains no carbs or calories, it will not interfere with ketosis or raising blood sugars. The intense sweet taste provides sweetness without affecting ketone levels. Monk fruit syrup is popular in keto desserts, drinks, sauces and more.

Is Monk Fruit Syrup Paleo?

Monk fruit syrup is considered paleo-friendly, since it is a natural fruit extract without any additives or artificial substances. While monk fruit itself is modern, not a fruit eaten in paleolithic times, the syrup aligns with paleo diet guidelines of avoiding processed sugars and sweeteners. Use monk fruit syrup to sweeten paleo smoothies, desserts, sauces and more.

Is Monk Fruit Syrup Whole 30 Compliant?

Yes, monk fruit syrup is Whole30 approved. The Whole30 program eliminates sugar but allows natural sweeteners like fruit and honey in moderation. Monk fruit syrup contains no calories, additives or artificial ingredients. Just be sure to check the ingredients for any additives when purchasing the syrup.

How To Use Monk Fruit Sweetener

Monk fruit syrup can be used in many of the same ways as regular sugar and honey. The syrup works especially well to sweeten drinks like coffee, tea, smoothies, cocktails and juice. You can also use it in baking and cooking in place of granulated sugar. Here are some tips for using monk fruit syrup:

Replace liquid sugars

Use monk fruit syrup 1:1 to replace simple syrup, honey, agave, maple syrup, and other liquid sweeteners in drinks and recipes.

Replace granulated sugar

Substitute monk fruit syrup in a 1:1 ratio for up to half the granulated sugar called for in baked goods, sauces, marinades, cookies, cakes and other recipes.

Pair with erythritol

For baking, combine monk fruit syrup with erythritol, a sugar alcohol sweetener, to helpprovide bulk and structure.

Sweeten yogurt, oatmeal, cereals

Drizzle or mix monk fruit syrup into plain non-fat Greek yogurt, overnight oats, chia pudding, or hot cereals for added sweetness.

Fruit salad dressing

Whisk together monk fruit syrup, lemon juice and zest for a light salad dressing.


Add monk fruit to protein shakes, fruit smoothies or green smoothies.


Caramelize monk fruit syrup to make sweet glazes for meat, add it to chutney recipes or use as pancake syrup.

Where to Buy Monk Fruit Sweetener

You can find monk fruit syrup, monk fruit extract, and monk fruit sweetener in the natural sweetener aisle at well-stocked grocery stores like Whole Foods and Sprouts. Many conventional stores like Walmart also carry it near the sugar substitutes. You can also buy monk fruit syrup online from sites like Amazon.

When buying, read the ingredients to ensure you get 100% monk fruit extract without unnecessary additives. The syrup may be blended with molasses, brown rice syrup, or erythritol to balance the flavor. Make sure no artificial sweeteners, corn syrup or GMOs are added.

Monk Fruit Syrup vs. Stevia

Monk fruit and stevia are both popular natural, calorie-free sweeteners. Here’s how they compare:


Monk fruit has superior taste compared to stevia. Monk fruit syrup is sweeter and does not have the bitter aftertaste that can come with stevia.


Monk fruit extract is 100-250 times sweeter than regular sugar, while stevia extract is 200-300 times sweeter than sugar.


Monk fruit syrup is used more similarly to honey and maple syrup, as a liquid sweetener replacement. Stevia is commonly used in a powdered extract form.


Monk fruit is simply extracted from the monk fruit itself. Some stevia products undergo more processing and contain added ingredients to mask the bitterness.


Monk fruit syrup tends to be about 20% more expensive than stevia products.


Stevia is more widely available and found in both conventional and natural grocers. Monk fruit may not be as common.

Both monk fruit and stevia are good choices when looking for natural, low calorie sweeteners. Monk fruit syrup tends to have a more pleasant taste, but stevia may be more affordable and easier to find.

Risks and Side Effects

When consumed in normal amounts, monk fruit sweetener appears to be safe for most people and associated with few side effects. However, there are some considerations when consuming monk fruit syrup:


Rarely, monk fruit may cause allergic reactions. People with sensitivities to other fruits like mangos, wild bananas, and curuba may want to exercise caution.


There is insufficient research on monk fruit consumption during pregnancy, so pregnant women may want to exercise caution until more studies are available.

Drug Interactions

Monk fruit may affect blood sugar levels, so people on diabetes medications should monitor closely when starting use.

Gastrointestinal Effects

Some people report mild gastrointestinal effects like gas, bloating or diarrhea when consuming monk fruit sweeteners. Reduce serving size if this occurs.

Homemade Monk Fruit Syrup Recipe

It’s possible to make simple monk fruit syrup at home using just two ingredients. Here is a basic recipe:


  • 1 cup monk fruit extract powder
  • 1 cup hot water


  1. Heat 1 cup of water until hot but not boiling.
  2. Add 1 cup monk fruit extract powder to the hot water and stir continuously until dissolved.
  3. Once fully dissolved, remove from heat.
  4. Allow to cool, then transfer to a glass container and refrigerate up to 2 weeks.
  5. Use in place of granulated sugar or sweeteners in your favorite recipes.

For thicker syrup, use just 3/4 cup hot water dissolved with 1 cup monk fruit powder. You can also add flavoring like vanilla or spices.


Monk fruit syrup is a delicious natural sweetener that offers the sweet taste of sugar without the calories, carbs or blood sugar effects. Extracted from the monk fruit, this ancient ingredient offers modern benefits for health conditions like diabetes and obesity. Use monk fruit syrup to sweeten everything from coffee to cocktails to baked treats for a guilt-free flavor boost.

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