Why Moms Should Know about monk fruit

The ways we think about sugar have changed a great deal over the past fifty years. Changes have been driven by a combination of recommendations from health professionals to eat fewer sugar calories for better health and weight reduction, and the availability of more choices in sweeteners. Throughout it all, there has been one constant:

Mom’s tug of war with her kids -- the battle over children’s demand for what tastes sweet versus Mom’s desire to limit their sugar calories.

Moms don’t like saying “no” to their children, yet they also feel a responsibility to teach their kids healthy choices – which means having to say “no” to sweets more often than they’d like. Moms are especially concerned about the amount of sugar calories in the foods and beverages that their children like best and ask for most often: sweetened cereals and other breakfast foods; bars and cookies; flavored milks; soft drinks and sports drinks; candies and treats. Most moms prefer to offer fruits and natural fruit-based products, but her kids still clamor for sweetened prepared and convenience choices. It is a tug of war that has been going on for decades with the concerns mounting.

In the fifties, Moms’ interests in limiting sugar calories were most often rooted in concerns about dental health. In the sixties, a desire for less processed foods and ingredients became a driver for natural-minded Moms. In the seventies, some Moms started talking about a sense that her child does not “handle sugar well” from an energy point of view. In more recent years, moms mention diabetes concerns for their children. But most commonly today, it is weight management that drives interest among Moms in limiting sugar calories for her children.

Restricting sweets is hard on Moms, who want to feel the love when they treat their kids to something sweet. They are conflicted between wanting to be the mom who says “yes” and who their kids like -- and the mom who says “no” and who is the dreaded gatekeeper. They try to strike a balance and the tug of war continues over our desire for sweetness.

Why do we crave sweet tastes so much? Long ago, our preference for something sweet probably helped our early ancestors find honey and ripe fruits which were easy to eat, high in energy, and a good source of calories. But nowadays, our cravings for sweetness and the easy availability of sugar calories are contributing to weight and other health problems. Moms know that our kids especially are often getting too many calories from sugar and other sweeteners. So how do we end the tug of war?

The solution may be in a super-fruit that has been used for hundreds of years in the sub-tropics of Asia to make a naturally low-calorie sweet tea. Called monk fruit, it’s a small melon rich in unique antioxidants that taste exceptionally sweet. When concentrated like other fruits and fruit juices, a very little bit of monk fruit goes a very long way. So little in fact, that there are almost no added calories when foods and beverages are sweetened with monk fruit. This means many kid’s products can now taste sweet with lower sugar and calorie content naturally – a big win for Moms who want to say “yes” to their kids.
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