Happy Wednesday Squadies! When it comes to intermittent fasting, many of us have TONS of questions about what can and cannot break a fast. One of these substances I get asked about A LOT is sweeteners. Today we will be looking at artificial sweeteners and fasting; will it break your fast? SHOULD you consume it while fasting?
FIRST, let’s look at regular sweeteners vs artificial ones:
Why are regular sweeteners ruled out?
When we are in a fasted state, anything we consume with a caloric intake WILL break your fast. Now of course there are a few exceptions, such as coffee, black tea, or lemon water - but sugar is not one of these exceptions!Why? Regular sweeteners such as table sugar, honey, or corn syrup tend to be high in calories in small doses and WILL spike your insulin, kicking you out of that fasted state.
Looking at artificial sweeteners and fasting, there are some conflicting results out there as to whether they can break your fast or not.Due to this conflict, is it safe to say that your decision to add these artificial sweeteners to your morning coffee or tea all comes down to how strict you are with your fasting.If you are super strict and want to be 100% sure that you are staying in a fasted state, it is a good idea to stay away from artificial sweeteners all together while fasting. In fact, if you REALLY want to make sure this is the case, it is best to stick to just water with the occasional black coffee. If you are NOT as strict and NEED to have your morning coffee or tea with sweetener then doing so is okay in moderation!Remember, living a LEAN and sustainable lifestyle is all about BALANCE! If you feel like you need some sweetness, then don’t deprive yourself of that! Use these artificial sweeteners in moderation and continue to fast.
Now, which artificial sweeteners can you have while fasting?
If you still want to go along with adding artificial sweeteners to your fasting window, what is there to choose? Which ones are fasting safe? Any sweeteners that contain 0 calories are fasting safe. Again, there is some controversy around this so if you do decide to go along with the sweeteners, try using it in small doses.
Here are some artificial sweeteners that won't break your fast:
Stevia is a NATURAL sweetener, meaning it's derived from nature. This is probably one of the safer options, as most information available suggests that stevia will not break your fast.
Monk fruit is another natural sweetener. Although it has 0 calories, some research suggests that it could have some minor effect on your insulin levels. There is not enough research though to clarify if it is enough to kick you out of a fasted state. Try this sweetener in small doses to prevent this!
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol derived from fruits and vegetables. It technically has SOME caloric intake, but so small (around 0.2 calories) that it does not affect your insulin levels. Some research suggests that it could stimulate your gut so keep this in mind!
Splenda is an artificial sweetener. Although it does not seem to have an insulin response on your body, frequent use can have negative effects on your gut health. If you choose to use Splenda, use in moderation, and occasionally!All of these sweeteners contain 0 calories and can be added to your morning drink in small doses while fasting.At the end of the day, it is fully YOUR decision if you want to use these artificial sweeteners. If you want to make sure you are 100% in a fasted state, stay away from ANYTHING other then black coffee, water, and a bit of lemon while fasted. If you are not so strict and enjoy your coffee with some sweetness then go ahead and add one of these recommended sweeteners!