Known for it’s natural sweetness, monk fruit–which is common in China–has grown in popularity as a way to reduce calories and sugar. More brands are using the extract as a calorie-free sweetener.
One thing to remember about exotic fruits like monk fruit that come from far off places — you’re not likely to find them fresh. Instead, most are added to higher calorie products or turned into extracts or dietary supplements, which don’t have all the healthful benefits of the whole fruit.
“There is a lot more to a fruit than an extract or a juice. Sometimes it’s the combination of the whole package,” says Jess Kolko, Whole Foods Market Healthy Eating registered dietitian and culinary educator. “Tart cherry juice may be really awesome in a study, but more often than not it is about the fiber and the phytochemicals and antioxidants in the whole fruit rather than just an extracted form.”
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