Approved as an artificial sweetener by the FDA in 2010, monk fruit in its raw form is 300 times sweeter than sugar. Unlike other artificial sweeteners, monk fruit extract does not cause any known negative side effects to human health.
Monk fruit, or the luo han gao fruit, grows exclusively in China's southern mountain forests. Marketed as a calorie-free sweetener, one current leading monk fruit extract comes from New Zealand-based BioVittoria, a company under Procter & Gamble. The closest, widely used artificial sweetener to monk fruit is Stevia. Comparisons between the two extracts show monk fruit has a sweeter taste, while Stevia tastes bitterer.