There are two things we know for certain about sugar: 1. It’s absolutely delicious. 2. It can be really (really, really) bad for your health. And artificial sweeteners like aspartame aren’t any better; even though they’re zero-calorie, studies suggest that they can cause weight gain, migraines and metabolic syndrome. For the past few years, stevia has been the go-to healthy-girl sweetener.
But in-the-know wellness gurus have been switching out their stevia for something else: monk fruit extract. Monk fruit, a type of gourd, has been used for centuries as a sweetener; the extract contains zero calories and, unlike artificial sweeteners, doesn’t mess with your blood sugar. What makes monk fruit unique, however, is that its sweetness doesn’t come from natural sugars—the sweetness comes from antioxidants. It’s high in antioxidants, which play an essential part in reducing inflammation and fighting free radicals (they also can boost your skin’s radiance). Plus, the extract is super sweet, so you only need to use the tiniest bit. Stevia feels a little 2016 now, no?