When fasting, there might be many new questions arising. One of them is ‘does chewing gum break a fast?’.
The answer is – it depends on how strict you want to be with your fasting.
Technically speaking, one calorie could be enough to break your fast. However, for people new to fasting or the ones practicing a more moderate fasting version, a 20-30 calorie threshold could be allowed.
But can you chew gum while fasting? This is where things can become a little tricky, let me explain why.
THE IMPORTANCE OF INTERMITTENT FASTING IN BALANCING INSULIN LEVELS
When you eat on a regular diet (meaning: you’re eating carbs) insulin levels in your body rise. When you don’t eat, it gives your pancreas a chance to normalize and maintain levels of insulin after the previous spike from eating.
Studies have shown a correlation between insulin spikes and an increase in weight. This is because when your insulin levels are high, your body stores fat, when it’s low, your body burns fat easier. This is why intermittent fasting is so attractive to people. Fasting can ensure that insulin levels are kept low.
‘Why is this important?’ you may be asking. Well, it links directly into the next question.
DOES CHEWING GUM BREAK A FAST?
A piece of chewing gum contains 10-12 calories, which like lemon water, is not enough to break a fast. However, gum can contain up to 5 grams of sugar, which does have the potential to interfere with your fast.
Why is this?
Well, sugar is one of the leading reasons behind spikes in our levels of insulin. It prevents the body from entering the fat-burning mode called ketosis.
In terms of calories, chewing gum won’t harm your fasting schedule. However, because of the sugar content in the gum, insulin raise can kick you out of ketosis.
This means that, if you’re practicing strict intermittent fasting, it’s better to skip the chewing gum.
However, if you allow yourself a 20-30 calorie threshold during your fasting period, a piece of chewing gum can be allowed.
DOES SUGAR-FREE GUM BREAK A FAST?
This is the next logical question because there are plenty of sugar free chewing gums available. If the problem is sugar, then surely sugar-free options are okay, right?
I’m afraid not. Well, unless you regularly check your blood glucose levels. The problem is, sugar-free gum contains artificial sweeteners.
Unfortunately for some people, even artificial sweeteners can spike insulin levels. It does not happen to everyone, but there is no real way of telling unless you regularly monitor your blood glucose levels. Which from the comfort of your home, is quite a difficult and time consuming thing to do for the sake of chewing some gum.
WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES TO CHEWING GUM WHILE FASTING?
Looking for other ways how to introduce some freshness or taste into your fasting window?
Well, both parsley and ginger are known to be low-calorie, low-sugar alternatives to gum. However, to prevent you from looking a little crazy and smelling like a root of ginger, I can recommend other solutions.
If you have to have something during your fast, make it a drink. After all, staying hydrated is one of the keys to success while fasting.
Here are a few options open to you:
- Lemon Water: Lemon is both low in calories and a natural antioxidant. It is good for your digestive system and will quench your thirst. Just be careful not to go too crazy squeezing out lemon juice!
- Green Tea: If enjoyed without any additives, green tea has numerous benefits. It can suppress hunger and studies have shown that it can decrease cholesterol levels.
- Ginger Tea: if you really need some ginger, instead of eating it, try it with some hot water and gain the digestive benefits that come with it.
- Cinnamon: Adding cinnamon to your black coffee or black tea can also help to aid fasting through stabilizing your blood glucose levels.
- Black Coffee: perhaps the most popular fasting drink of all. Black coffee contains high levels of caffeine and can act as an appetite suppressant.
As you can see, there are a lot of options available to you instead of chewing gum. Each of the drinks listed above are not only safe to drink, but will actually give your stomach something to satisfy it as well.
This is essential because if you chew gum, the stomach will feel like food is coming because you are chewing. When food does not arrive, it will make you even hungrier. These are unnecessary risks that you want to avoid when trying to fast.
In conclusion, chewing gum and fasting might not be the best combination. If you need to have something while in your fasting window, try to keep it to one of the drinks listed above. They won’t raise blood sugar levels. Instead, they will nourish and hydrate you well enough to keep you energized until the next meal.
If you like the idea of burning fat at a faster rate, you can try our 21-day intermittent fasting challenge.
Or check out our other intermittent fasting blog posts. We have articles on various fasting nutrition-related topics.