Sweeteners: Luo Han Guo vs. Stevia
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!