Do Artificial Sweeteners Break a Fast?

Do Artificial Sweeteners Break a Fast?
Cordelia Tan

Cordelia Tan | Author

Cordelia Tan, is a passionate advocate for women's health and well-being. Known as Fasty's number one fan, she expertly blends Eastern and Western health practices, offering a holistic approach to diet and wellness. Her work focuses on empowering women with knowledge and practical strategies for a healthier life.

Some artificial sweeteners may break a fast, especially if they activate an insulin response. It depends on the artificial sweetener and its composition. Some sweeteners may also trigger hunger cravings, which is counterintuitive to fasting. Artificial sweeteners with zero calories generally don’t break a fast, but caution is advised as too much and too frequent consumption may lead to issues. 

Can You Take Artificial Sweeteners During Intermittent Fasting?

You can take artificial sweeteners that don’t activate your insulin and keep you in a fasted state (ketosis). That said, if you’re intermittent fasting for weight loss or gut health, you’re better off without artificial sweeteners. 

Even if artificial sweeteners don’t break your fast, their long-term impact may be negative and interfere with your results. A companion like the Fastic app can be great for ensuring you stick with your fasting plan. With calorie and meal tracking, you can ensure you avoid questionable sweeteners, at least during the fasting period. 

Understanding Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are mainly divided into two categories: nutritive and non-nutritive. 

Nutritive artificial sweeteners are those sugar alternatives that have calories. These typically include sugar alcohols (e.g., sorbitol and erythritol) with as much sweetness as regular sugar but fewer calories per gram.

On the other hand, non-nutritive artificial sweeteners are those that don’t have extremely low or no calories at all. Sucralose, aspartame, and saccharide are commonly used zero-calorie sweeteners. 

Unlike artificial sweeteners, stevia and monk fruit are natural sweeteners, as they’re obtained naturally and not produced in labs. 

Before we discuss which artificial sweeteners may or may not break a fast, it’s important to understand their impact. While they don’t have many calories (or any at all in the case of non-nutritive), they may cause other issues, like making you hungrier or leading to insulin resistance

So, it’s not really a matter of whether an artificial sweetener has calories—it’s about how it reacts with your body. 

Which Artificial Sweeteners Can You Take During a Fast?

Non-nutritive sweeteners are zero-calorie, so they technically don’t activate an insulin response. Sucralose, aspartame, and saccharine are either low or zero-calorie sweeteners. So, as far as calories are concerned, these sweeteners are acceptable during a fast. 

But keep in mind that not all artificial sweeteners are the same, even those with zero calories. Sucralose (Splenda) is zero-calorie, but one study from the Nutrition Journal found that chronic use can have a glucose response. 

Even though artificial sweeteners with zero calories don’t break your fast, they might make you hungrier and crave more sugar. That can make self-control a bit challenging and may make you eat more than you need to when you finally break your fast. 

do artificial sweeteners break a fast

Which Artificial Sweeteners Break a Fast?

Of course, artificial sweeteners with calories are more likely to spike an insulin response, but that depends on the calories. For instance, erythritol has only 0.2 calories per gram, so it may not be enough to raise glucose levels, as shown in one study

On the other hand, artificial sweeteners, especially sugar alcohols like sorbitol or xylitol, offer a little over 2 calories per gram. While that’s much lower than the calories in regular sugar, a high intake of these sugar alcohols during fasting can result in a rise in glucose and insulin levels, bringing you out of the fasted state. 

If you don’t want to risk breaking your fast, avoid alternatives made with sugar alcohols, with the exception of erythritol. And even with erythritol, keep consumption minimal to ensure no insulin response. 

How to Take Artificial Sweeteners During a Fast?

You can get away with artificial sweeteners with no calories when fasting. If taken in moderation, sweeteners like sucralose and saccharise won’t break your fast. You can put them in zero-calorie drinks, such as tea or coffee, to make them taste sweet. 

Stick with the dosage the manufacturer recommends, and don’t consume more than you need. It may make it difficult to get through the fast even if it doesn’t break it. 

It’s important to keep track of your food intake throughout the day, especially during fast, to ensure you don’t break it. Fastic is a great tracking app for intermittent fasting, where you can log everything you consume. This can help you avoid things that activate insulin response. 

Caution with Artificial Sweeteners

Although most research shows that artificial sweeteners are safe for human consumption, some studies say otherwise. For instance, one review of research on the subject confirms that sucralose and saccharide can alter the composition of gut microbiota. 

In other words, some artificial sweeteners may cause gut problems in the long run. So, it’s best to be careful and only use artificial sweeteners in moderation, whether fasting or not. 

Disclaimer: It’s advised to speak with a health professional before beginning intermittent fasting or a diet program. There may be side effects for people with certain medical conditions. 

With Fastic, millions of people have achieved their desired weight, overcome disease and regained their quality of life.

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