It’s not the monk fruit
Some people report monk fruit sweeteners give them diarrhea or gas. The problem not the monk fruit – it’s what it’s mixed with!
Monk fruit extract is approximately 250x sweeter than sugar. If a manufacturer wants to create a product that is a direct replacement for sugar they need to combine the monk fruit extract with something less sweet than sugar.
Intestinal upset is caused by what manufacturers mix with the monk fruit extract to dilute its sweetness.
Typically, maltodextrin or sugar alcohols such as erythritol are used.
Maltodextrin is a poor choice
Maltodextrin is an especially poor choice as it has just about the same number of calories per gram as sugar and a similar glycemic index.
If you are using a monk fruit sweetener because you have diabetes or are on a ketogenic diet you should to avoid those monk fruit sweeteners that use maltodextrin.
For example, “Monk Fruit in the Raw” has maltodextrin as a first ingredient and should be avoided if you are diabetic or on a ketogenic diet.
Choose the best erythritol
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that can give people diarrhea and gas. However, these side effects are avoidable and usually occur when manufactures use the cheapest possible source of erythritol.
There are two ways to make erythritol: natural fermentation or “enzymatically hydrolyzed genetically modified corn”.
The cheapest and most easily available source of erythritol uses enzymatically hydrolyzed genetically modified corn that is fed to a yeast such as Pseudozyma tsukubaensis or Aureobasidium sp.
The resulting chemical soup contains byproducts that are difficult to separate and can remain mixed with the erythritol after it is extracted.
These byproducts are what cause the diarrhea, bloating and gas.
In contrast, a natural fermentation process using non-GMO precursors and no artificial chemicals creates a much higher quality erythritol that is easier on the digestive system.
Unfortunately, this natural fermentation process is more expensive as it takes more time and has a lower yield.
I recommend that you only consume monk fruit sweetener that uses erythritol created using this natural fermentation method.
Time can help
Most people find that by changing to a higher quality monk fruit sweetener and giving your body some time to adapt any diarrhea and gas will quickly resolve.
There is a small percent of the population that can be especially sensitive to erythritol. If a high quality monk fruit sweetener is still causing problems I’d suggest reducing the amount you use.