The Only Sweeteners I’ll Use: Monk Fruit, Stevia, and Coconut Sugar

As a superfood formulator, I’m always thinking about ways to make something more effective and easy to use. And ease of use absolutely includes taste. I never want you to have to plug your nose while chugging a product we make, but I also don’t want to sacrifice any nutritional benefits.

A big part of taste is the sweetness. I can eat bitter foods all day long, but I totally get that my tastebuds are a little different than most people.

Before I think about the sweetener, I see what superfood ingredients I can add to make the taste more gentle. That’s one reason why our elixirs have mint and rose hips in them.

Then, when I get that formula right, I decide whether or not to add a sweetener. And if I decide it needs a sweet taste, you better believe I do the research first.

You’re also doing your research. After the low-fat, high sugar craze of the ‘90s, the average American is now looking to cut back their sugar and caloric sweetener consumption[*]. The consumption of low calorie sugar substitutes in the United States has increased since 2007[*].

Bye white sugar and artificial sweeteners, hello natural and low calorie sweeteners. Today 40 percent of adults and 25 percent of children are consuming low calorie sweeteners daily[*]. Some people skip sugars and carbs because they are looking for weight loss; others are trying out keto or paleo.

I knew I wasn’t going to use regular sugar or a sugar alcohol, so I landed on these three sweeteners: stevia, monk fruit, and coconut palm sugar. Let me walk you through why.

Why Stevia Is My #1 Choice

The Only Sweeteners I’ll Use: Monk Fruit, Stevia, and Coconut Sugar

Two hundred to 400 times sweeter than sugar, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) calls stevia a “high-intensity sweetener”[*]. It has zero calories and does not affect blood sugar levels. I find it a very neutral, easy way to add sweetness to a beverage. A little certainly goes a long way.

Which Four Sigmatic Products Have Stevia

The stevia we use is an organic stevia extract, standardized to contain at least 98 percent Rebaudioside A, and there are no fillers or excipients mixed with it. This specific stevia extract is researched and approved in the European Union for nutraceutical and food use. It does not have the common metallic aftertaste that some people report with stevia.

You can find organic stevia extract in these products:

Some people have asked why we don’t put whole stevia leaf in our products. In the United States, the use of stevia leaves or crude stevia extract is not “Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS)”[*]. In order to sell our products in the U.S. we have to use high-purity steviol glycosides.

Why Monk Fruit Is Monumental

Only Sweeteners I’ll Use: Monk Fruit, Stevia, and Coconut Sugar

A naturally derived calorie-free sweetener from the luo han guo or monk fruit plant, monk fruit sweetener is native to southern China. Monk fruit extract is 100 to 250 times sweeter than sugar[*]. Monk fruit is new to the U.S. market, and the FDA has not questioned its GRAS status[*]. It has 0 calories, and is completely sugar free. Unlike many other no-calorie sweeteners, it also has antioxidant properties[*].

Which Four Sigmatic Products Have Monk Fruit

While we only currently have one product with monk fruit in it, based on your raving reviews you can anticipate seeing more of it in the future!

Why Coconut Palm Sugar Is Naturally Stellar

This isn’t your average table sugar. This natural sweetener is made from boiling down the nectar of the coconut plant flowers. It is less processed than white sugar and retains some vitamins and minerals. Unlike stevia or monk fruit, it’s easy to swap it out in a recipe for baked goods, and tastes a bit like brown sugar.

Which Four Sigmatic Products Have Coconut Sugar

We add just a little sweetness with organic coconut palm sugar that’s a mineral-rich alternative to refined sugars. It is made by boiling down the sap of the coconut palm, the “maple syrup of the tropics.” All of these products have under 3 grams of carbs per serving so they may still fit into your low carb lifestyle.

Other Sweeteners I Use Personally

Normally if I’m looking for a sweet taste I’ll eat whole fruit. However, there are also two superfoods that add a lovely sweet taste to your coffee or smoothie: lucuma and mucuna. No, not part of the song “Hakuna Matata,” these two superfoods are are naturally sweet. I anticipate we’ll see more of them in the next year.

Unsweetened Four Sigmatic Products

Prefer to add your own sweetener of choice? Really wish we had honey or maple sugar in our products? These products are completely unsweetened. You can enjoy their naturally bitter, earthy taste or add the perfect amount of sweetener for you.

Want to weigh in on the stevia, monk fruit, or coconut palm sugar debate? Or suggest your favorite sweetener not mentioned above? Join our ‘Shroom Club where we talk about all things food, nutrition, and ‘shroomy.

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