Fasting has many health benefits. More and more people fast to improve fat burn and prevent diseases. You can reap its many positive health effects if the fasting regimen is done correctly.
There are many different fasting categories: calorie restriction, periodic fasting, and time-restricted fasting are just a few of them.
The most common fasting regimen is the restriction of calories. You will avoid particular foods and beverages to keep your calorie intake low.
And one of the frequently asked questions about fasting is whether sweeteners break a fast. Sweeteners are sugar alternatives that are either natural or artificial products. In this guide, let’s find out if common sugar substitutes will break your fast.
Do Natural Sweeteners Break a Fast?
Natural sweeteners are foods, food additives, or other products made from natural ingredients. As the name suggests, these products can replace regular sugar in sweetening food and beverages.
Natural sweeteners will break your fast as these can trigger insulin reactions. These sweeteners have high-calorie content and are often limited to only 1 to 2 teaspoons per day. Taking these sweeteners will increase your calorie intake and will break your fasting.
Some natural sweeteners include honey, coconut sugar, molasses, maple syrup, and agave nectar. These sugars are primarily unprocessed and unaltered, thus containing higher calories per serving.
Does Stevia Break a Fast?
Stevia will not break your fast as it contains very few calories. Although stevia comes from natural sources, it contains only 45 calories per tablespoon compared to 60 calories in a tablespoon of sugar.
This sugar substitute comes from a sweet-tasting plant that adds sweetness to beverages and food. The use of stevia has been dated since the 16th century. First, the stevia plant originated in Paraguay and Brazil, but now, it comes from Japan and China.
It is classified as a non-nutritive sweetener which means it contains minimal calories. As a result, stevia is a healthy alternative to sugar in many beverages and food. In addition, according to current research, stevia is safe to use even for kids and pregnant women.
Stevia is now the most popular sugar substitute in brands like PureVia, Stevia, Rebiana, SweetLeaf, and Steviacane.
Does Monk Fruit Break a Fast?
According to experts, monk fruit is a natural sweetener and will not affect fasting because it contains zero calories. Monk fruit is sweet not because of its sugar content but from its antioxidants called mogrosides.
Monk fruit positively affects animals and humans and is specifically effective in keeping the digestive tract healthy. This natural sweetener is recommended for people trying to lose weight as using it to sweeten food and beverages will not add to your calorie intake.
Monk fruit is available in many forms, but the most common one is in dried form. This dry form is how the monk fruit sweetener started; the fruit is dried and then turned into powdered natural sweetener. The problem with monk fruit is that it is scarce and, thus, expensive.
Does Erythritol Break a Fast?
Erythritol is a natural sweetener that does not affect fasting. This natural sugar has zero calories, plus the small intestine digests it quickly in just 24 hours, giving it no chance to metabolize in the gut. Because of this, Erythritol is a safe, natural sugar substitute, especially if you have diabetes.
This natural sugar is a sugar alcohol found in minute amounts in foods like fruits and vegetables. It is safe to use but may lead to some digestive problems. Because of its chemical structure, the body is unable to digest Erythritol.
Thus, this can pass through your digestive tract unchanged. However, eating large amounts of Erythritol and other sugar alcohols can lead to digestive upset and bloating.
Does Xylitol Break a Fast?
Xylitol is a natural sugar substitute that can replace sugars but has fewer calories and will not affect your calorie intake. This sugar substitute will not break a fast. Some people eat Xylitol gum while fasting to ward off thirst and hunger.
This natural sugar is like Erythritol. Sugar alcohols have the traits of sugar and alcohol molecules. The structure of sugar alcohols allows them to stimulate the sweet receptors on your tongue.
You’ll find Xylitol in many fruits and vegetables but in minute amounts only. And aside from chewing gum, Xylitol is also found in candies, oral-care products, diabetes-friendly foods, and mints. Xylitol is safe, but some people may experience side effects like bloating, diarrhea, gas, and abdominal discomfort.
Does Dextrose Break a Fast?
Dextrose is a kind of sugar that’s almost similar to glucose. It comes from wheat or corn and is used in many foods as a preservative and sweetener. There’s no harm in eating foods with dextrose, but you must consume these in moderation.
This simple sugar has only 15 calories per teaspoon and thus will not affect your calorie fasting. In addition, dextrose is digested quickly and can replenish energy fast. This is the main reason why bodybuilders use dextrose after they engage in tiring exercise routines.
Does Allulose Break a Fast?
Allulose is a new sweetener that won’t break your calorie fasting. It contains only 0.4 calories per gram but is 70% as sweet as table sugar. It is a naturally occurring sugar from plants in small amounts.
This sugar is from fructose or corn and has meager calories. Therefore, it will not increase blood sugar when used moderately. Allulose is considered rare because it is found in small amounts in brown sugar, wheat, maple syrup, and fruits. Most allulose is commercially produced but is not commonly used as a sweetener.
Does Maltodextrin Break a Fast?
Maltodextrin is a natural sweetener with only four calories per gram. It is a polysaccharide, a form of carbohydrate that undergoes extreme processing. It comes from wheat, and it is available in white powder form.
A diet with high Maltodextrin can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, obesity, and high cholesterol levels. In addition, this natural sweetener can alter the digestive system’s bacterial balance, leading to inflammatory bowel diseases.
Do Artificial Sweeteners Break a Fast?
Artificial sweeteners will not break a fast as most of these don’t contain any calories. However, if you use artificial sweeteners so you can eat different food and beverages, you will break your fast as you’re consuming more calories.
Does Aspartame Break a Fast?
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that contains only four calories per gram. Aspartame is a ubiquitous non-nutritive sweetener in most carbonated sodas and other beverages readily available in the market.
This low-calorie sweetener is widely used to flavor beverages. According to a 2017 study, around 17,000 Americans consisting of 41% adults and 25% children, have reported drinking or eating foods with non-nutritive sweeteners. These include Aspartame and other popular artificial sweeteners.
Brands Equal and NutraSweet are aspartame. This is the artificial sugar in sugar-free, low-calorie, zero-sugar, and diet products. Aspartame is safe according to the FDA, EFSA, and other health organizations worldwide. However, there are adverse effects of using Aspartame, including increased body weight, cardiovascular disease, blood sugar issues, and cancers.
Does Saccharin Break a Fast?
Saccharin is a calorie-free sweetener. It is also one of the oldest artificial sweeteners. It won’t break a fast as it contains no calories. It has been a sugar substitute for many foods and beverages for over 100 years. Saccharin is said to help people with diabetes and those who want to lose weight and avoid dental problems.
This sugar substitute is classified as a non-nutritive sweetener or artificial sweetener. It looks like sugar, and white crystalline powder, with a more delicate texture than table sugar. Saccharin is up to 400 times sweeter than regular sugar; thus, you only need a small amount to sweeten food.
Does Sucralose Break a Fast?
Sucralose is a chemically-altered sweetener that has almost no calories. It is 600 times sweeter than regular sugar but will not break a fast. It is an artificial sweetener that’s marketed as Splenda.
It is made of natural sugar, giving it a better taste than other artificial sweetener brands. Because of its many impressive qualities, it is used in many foods such as ice cream, soda, candy, and yogurt.
This sugar substitute passes in a very altered state through the body; thus, it is not stored in the body to be used as energy. Sucralose was introduced many decades ago and has helped people suffering from diabetes.
Which Brands of Sweeteners Break a Fast?
We may know most sweeteners by their brand names like Splenda, Sweet and Low, Equal, and Truvia. So let’s find out which sweetener can break a fast.
Does Splenda Break a Fast?
Splenda is Sucralose and is an artificial sweetener and sugar alternative. The body does not break it down; thus, it has no nutritional effects. Splenda is about 600 times sweeter compared to regular sugar; thus, one small packet is enough to sweeten drinks and food. However, using Splenda will not break your fast as it contains only a few calories.
This artificial sugar substitute is safe to use, according to the FDA. But despite this, intake must be in moderation. Splenda can increase blood sugar levels and cause gastrointestinal issues when taken in excess.
Does Truvia Break a Fast?
Truvia is a natural sweetener from rebaudioside A, Erythritol, and natural flavors. Although this sweetener is natural, it will not break your fast because most of its components pass through the body unchanged and are eliminated through your urine.
This is a calorie-free sweetener and is not sugar as it is made entirely of Erythritol. Therefore, it will not affect your body weight even when consumed regularly. So, if you have diabetes or are overweight, you can use Truvia as an alternative to regular sugar.
Just like most sweeteners, Truvia has some side effects. The most common digestive system problems are indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and gas accumulation.
Does Sweet’N Low Break a Fast?
Sweet’N Low is an artificial sweetener that will not break your fast as it only contains four calories per sachet/packet. It is made from Saccharin, dextrose, and cream of tartar. You’ll find Sweet’N Low in small sachets, which allow users to control their use.
This popular artificial sweetener is also known for causing allergic reactions. Saccharin is a sulfonamide compound that can cause allergies in people who cannot tolerate sulfa medications. The most common effects are headaches, breathing difficulties, skin irritation, and diarrhea.
Does Equal Break a Fast?
Equal is an artificial sweetener made from Aspartame, dextrose, Maltodextrin, and acesulfame. This is an artificial sweetener with ten calories per ½ teaspoon and, thus, won’t matter even when you’re fasting. This was one of the first sweeteners made from Aspartame.
Packets of Equal have different ingredients than Equal tablets as the latter is made from lactose. Aspartame is processed by the body differently. When you consume Aspartame, it is broken down into methanol. This is similar to the intake of fruits, fruit juices, vegetables, and fermented drinks.
According to a 2015 study, Aspartame is the most significant source of methanol in the diet of an adult American. Unfortunately, this compound is toxic in high amounts, and smaller amounts are still no exception because of the quick absorption of methanol.
When taking aspartame-based sweeteners like Equal, remember to follow the acceptable daily intake or ADI of Aspartame. The FDA recommends only 50 mg per kilogram of body weight daily. So for a person who weighs 150 pounds or 68 kgs, you should not go beyond 18 cans of zero sugar drinks a day or 92 packets of Equal per day.
The best kind of sweetener that will not break your fasting is the one with zero calories. For example, stevia and monk fruit contain almost no calories and, thus, won’t affect your calorie restriction fasting. In addition, these natural sweeteners come with positive health effects, unlike their artificial counterparts.
More so, understand the benefits and the side effects of any sweetener you wish to use. Whether restricting calories or fasting periodically, consult your doctor to use the best sweetener for your needs.