Natural high-potency sweetener: Frozen desserts, soft drinks, packaged sweeteners, other sugar-free foods. Also called monk fruit, Swingle fruit extracts (SGFE), Luo Han Guo, Lo Han Kuo.
This high potency sweetener is about 200 times sweeter than sugar. Like artificial sweeteners and stevia leaf extracts (rebiana), monk fruit extract can be used to replace some or all of the added sugars in a wide range of foods and beverages. This product has not been well tested in animals. It is derived from a fruit that has been consumed in China for at least several hundred years and used as an herbal medicine for the past several decades, so it may well be safe, although any chronic adverse effects might easily have escaped detection.
Monk fruit extract contains several intensely sweet substances called mogrosides. One company's purest product contains more than 50 percent mogroside V. Labels may call the ingredient monk fruit, but don't think you're getting any whole fruit; manufacturers use a multi-step process to extract just the sweet mogrosides.