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Sweeteners: Luo Han Guo vs. Stevia

Updated on June 5, 2010

There was a time when I tried giving up sugar entirely. It didn't quite work, but I managed to explore most of my alternative sugar options in the process. At the time, my favorite was Stevia, a South American herb-based product which was sweet enough to satiate my hunger for sugar. I no longer do the no-sugar thing (although I try to reasonably limit my intake). And I don't usually try out sweeteners of any kind, although I'm the first to admit that I prefer Splenda over the natural sweeteners these days. But I'm still curious about what's going on with Stevia.

In doing my research, I've discovered that there's another similar product on the market now. Luo Han Guo wasn't around when I was doing the Stevia thing. Or at least it wasn't around in the places where I was searching for natural sugar substitutes. And even though I don't stick closely to a diet that seeks out natural sweeteners, I have to admit that I'm kind of interested in the details of this product that can supposedly compete with my old favorite.

So, I did my research into Luo Han Guo, and here's what I found out:

Like Stevia, Luo Han Guo is a natural sweetener which is derived from an herb. Rather than being South American, this one comes from China but just like with Stevia, it was being used as a natural sweetener in its area of origination for hundreds of years before making its way up to us here in the United States. It's sweeter than sugar (according to Wikipedia, both of these sweeteners are up to 300 times sweeter than sugar).

The most notable difference that I found between this Luo Han Guo product and my old favorite Stevia was that Luo Han Guo is said to have medicinal properties. In China, the fruit that this herbal product comes from has been used medicinally for throat infections and coughs, constipation, heat stroke and even diabetes. Of course, none of this has been proven in the Western World and it doesn't apply to the sweetener form of the product anyway. But it's interesting to note.

I think that what I've decided is that, if for some reason, I decided that I'm once again interested in pursuing a diet that incorporates natural sweeteners into it, I'd at least give Luo Han Guo a try. It's got enough similarity to Stevia that there's a decent chance that I'd probably like it well enough as far as taste goes. And who knows, maybe its medicinal properties wouldn't do anything in that form. But the power of the mind is an amazing healing tool, so thinking about those great benefits might be good enough. It's good enough for me anyway. Although I really like my sugar!

You can learn more about Lan Han Guo and Stevia from Wikipedia following the links at the bottom of this article. Additionally, you can visit their web pages which are also listed in the links. After all, it's always best to do your own research!

Comments

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  • profile image

    Marc Bresee 

    6 years ago

    This is a book report...cut and paste.

    Sheesh, how about some real news on this product.

    At least try it and have some valid opinion.

  • profile image

    Ken schoolcraft 

    6 years ago

    I like stevia it works for me.

  • profile image

    Tom Vosper 

    6 years ago

    Luo Han Guo or "Monk Fruit" extract is not an Herb as the author says. Latin Genus Siriatia grosvenori of the Cucurbitaceae family (melons, gourds, cucumbers, squash, and pumpkins), which grows on a perennial vine. Don't buy garbage or blends. Try SweetR(tm):The finest all natural sweetener in the world. Tom@SweetRNature.com

  • profile image

    Jennifer 

    6 years ago

    I am curious to know if Lou Han is acidic or alkaline. I am trying to sway for conceiving a girl and interested to see if it is acidic (which sways girl). I know stevia is alkaline.

  • profile image

    gaia 

    6 years ago

    Wikipedia refers to a patented process for extracting sweetner from Luo Han Guo that involves solvents. Solvents always make me a bit nervous. SO I think its reasonable to inquire about which form of Luo Han Guo is being used. There is an American tea company that uses Luo Han Guo in one of its teas. I just wrote that company to inquire about which form they use, If I get an answer I'll try to post that.

  • profile image

    Shi Min 

    6 years ago

    I am from Asia (Singapore) and whenever my whole family gets coughs my mom would cook

    Luo Han Guo with other Chinese herbs to make this 'cooling tea' of sorts. I personally wouldn't say that it tastes like caramel (Sorry Asianlight!) but over here, LHG is synonymous with cooling teas and is an acquired taste. Personally I am fine with the taste but I know many people

    who think that it's disgusting. Hope my insight helped you folks.

  • profile image

    dale 

    7 years ago

    Splenda's not safe: http://www.splendaexposed.com/

  • profile image

    dale 

    7 years ago

    stevia herb has been used to treat diabetes for years

  • aslanlight profile image

    aslanlight 

    7 years ago from England

    It's too late to edit but I've just remembered what the taste of Luo Han Guo is similar to: caramel.

  • aslanlight profile image

    aslanlight 

    7 years ago from England

    This is a good Hub because people need to know about alternatives to unhealthy processed foods. You could have mentioned that Stevia has an aniseed type taste, which some people don't like. Lakanto is another good alternative and tastes the most like sugar to me, but my favourite is Luo Han Guo. It has a disinctive taste that I like and I feel that it's benefitting my health.

  • anglnwu profile image

    anglnwu 

    7 years ago

    I have that stuff as a kid and I always thought it was meant for sore throats and such. Well, I learned today, it can also be a sweetener.

  • profile image

    Theresa 

    8 years ago

    I have been using a ready made luo han guo (luo hang kuo or however you want to spell it since we have no Chinese letters)product for years now. It just tastes much better than stevia - especially with making your own sweets and chocolate. And you can buy it inexpensively in Chinese food stores: they come in little handy cubes with 5%whole Sugar all put together in a green bar. You also can buy the whole dried fruit with out sugar. BTW they are no herbs - but merely a gourd type: http://www.itmonline.org/arts/luohanguo.htm

    I like the taste much better than

  • profile image

    toh246 

    8 years ago

    Another option is WheyLow. No aftertaste, and no chemicals as in Splenda. It's made from dairy whey. Pricey, but well worth the cost.

    www.wheylow.com

  • profile image

    Chris 

    10 years ago

    I thought the site would appear in the comment. www.NewayNatural.com

    Oops.

  • profile image

    Chris 

    10 years ago

    My company makes a syrup and granular sweetener out of Luo Han Guo. It's definitely and alternative and can be sold in the U.S. (unlike Stevia which got a bad rap). Give us a call if you want a free sample. 1866-747-5111 ex104

  • profile image

    aer 

    10 years ago

    So...this would be a lot more useful if you would state what the difference in TASTE was to you, not listing medicinal properties that admittedly aren't likely part of the extract, or the country of origin. Still have no idea what this stuff is like.

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