Luo han guo

Also known as monk fruit and luo han kuo. Sold as Nectresse®.

What it is:

Luo han guo is the fruit of a vine, Siraitia grosvenorii, that grows in southern China and Thailand. The fruit produces sweet triterpene glycosides called mogrosides.

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The mogrosides are sweet, with potency up to 300 times sucrose, on a weight basis. As with many of the sweet terpene glycosides, the sweetness is slow in onset, and lingers, with a slight licorice-like cooling effect.

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Mogrosides are non-caloric. Some luo han guo extracts may contain sugars in addition to the mogrosides, which would provide calories and likely improve the overall taste.

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Mogrosides appear to have good heat stability.

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Lo han guo fruit has been used for centuries by people who live in the area where the fruit grows. It has GRAS status in the United States.

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Other information

Several companies are commercializing luo han guo derived sweeteners in the United States. Nectresse® is sold in packets containing luo han guo extract, erythritol, sucrose, and molasses. The packet must have less than 5 calories in order to claim "no calorie" on the label.

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