Monk fruit is growing in popularity and is commonly used as a sugar replacement in food and drinks. It is a type of sugar substitute, also known as a nonnutritive sweetener, that provides zero or very few calories. It is 200 times sweeter than table sugar. Is monk fruit good for kids? Keep reading to learn more.
Monk fruit is a small round fruit found usually grown in China. In the U.S., it can be found in things like cookies, yogurt and fruit-flavored drinks. Often, it is found in products that are marketed as “reduced sugar” or “zero added sugar”. Monk fruit is growing in popularity. According to a recent report, the monk fruit market is expected to expand from $169.1 million in 2022 to $267.8 million by 2032.
Monk fruit is Generally Recognized as Safe, which means that it has been reviewed for safety by experts and has not been shown to cause harm when used as intended. However, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, one concern with monk fruit (and other nonnutritive sweeteners) is that consuming foods containing these ingredients may cause children to prefer sweeter foods. Food preferences directly affect what is eaten now and later in life. These preferences are linked to overall health, wellness, and weight.
Just like sugar, if you choose to give your kids food or drinks sweetened with monk fruit, do so once in a while. Whole fruit is a healthier choice and can be hydrating, filling, and satisfying. Fruit, along with vegetables, whole grains, protein, and dairy are part of a well-balanced diet that support brain development, healthy growth and helps achieve and maintain a healthy weight. To learn more about what a well-balanced diet might look like for your family, visit www.choosemyplate.org.