With limited fasting-friendly drink options, discovering another ingredient you can use during your fasting window can change the fasting game. Do stevia and intermittent fasting go together? Let’s find out!
Stevia is one of the few sweeteners that is not chemically created in a lab but derived from a plant. It’s likely that a drink or food labeled with “natural sweeteners” or “no artificial sweeteners” will have stevia as one of the ingredients. Therefore, you will find stevia in popular drinks like Coca Cola Life and Vitamin Water Zero.
But how about stevia during intermittent fasting? If you’re here to find out does stevia break a fast, we’ve got good news. In short, adding stevia to your intermittent fasting drink won’t break the fast.
But let’s find out more about this natural, zero-calorie sweetener. Here’s what we will cover:
- What Is Stevia?
- Does Stevia Break A Fast?
- How To Choose Stevia
- How To Use Stevia When Doing Intermittent Fasting?
What Is Stevia?
Stevia is a green sweet herbal plant native to South America. The plant looks a little like mint and its leaves have been used in South America for centuries. Stevia belongs to the family of sunflowers and its leaves are naturally sweet. In fact, the indigenous people used to chew the leaves for their sweet taste and used them to sweeten their drinks naturally.
Stevia extract is about 200-300 times sweeter than sugar, which means that you only need a tiny bit at a time to sweeten your morning coffee or baked goods.
So..how does stevia taste like?
The taste of stevia varies from person to person. Overall, when compared to sugar, it takes longer for the “sweetness” to kick in. But most say that the sweet flavor lasts longer.
Depending on the stevia brand and your tastebuds, you might also taste some bitterness, metallic aftertaste and liquorice or minty note.
Stevia is becoming a popular alternative to other sweeteners, both natural, like sugar or honey, and artificial ones. What makes people opt for stevia sweetener?
Three main reasons for choosing stevia are:
- Stevia has zero calories. Due to the way your body metabolizes stevia, it quickly passes through your digestive tract and does not break down for calories. For comparison, 1 teaspoon of sugar contains about 16 calories.
- Stevia is natural a.k.a made from plants. Stevia is not created in a lab, it is a natural plant sweetener. Why avoid artificial sweeteners like Splenda, NutraSweet, Sugar Twin and others? There is a lot of conflicting information and various studies done around artificial sweeteners and their effects on the health and insulin response. Some studies show that artificial sweeteners tend to increase appetite and their consumption is linked to weight gain and obesity-related diseases. Yet another reason to go for a natural sweetener like stevia.
- Stevia doesn’t increase blood sugar levels. This makes it a safer alternative for insulin-sensitive people and diabetics.
Does Stevia Break A Fast?
Now the important question is: “Will stevia break a fast?” or “Can I use stevia while intermittent fasting?”.
We’ve got good news!
Yes, you can use stevia while intermittent fasting. As it contains zero calories, stevia is practically the only sweetener you can use during your intermittent fasting window.
However, take note that for some people, stevia could increase appetite. Therefore, pay attention to how you feel after drinking your coffee or tea with a pinch of stevia. If it keeps hunger at bay for longer, that’s great. However, if it makes your sugar cravings worse, it’s better to stick to plain unsweetened drinks during the fasting window.
How To Choose Stevia?
It might be tempting just to grab the first stevia product out there. However, keep in mind that not all stevia products were created equal.
To make stevia look, feel and behave more like sugar, most stevia products contain some additives. They are added to enhance the flavor, add bulk, or make stevia more powder-like.
The drawback is that these additives might not only improve the taste or texture but also add carbohydrates and calories. This doesn’t sound as intermittent fasting friendly anymore.
Here are some tips to choose stevia for your intermittent fasting days:
- Read the label. Just because it says “stevia” on the product does not mean it’s the only ingredient. Try to avoid common stevia additives like Agave, Dextrose, Maltodextrin and Erythritol which are often made from genetically-modified ingredients or are chemically synthesized. The fewer ingredients, the better.
- Don’t trust “natural”. The term “natural” is very loosely used and could mean anything. Still check the product label to avoid unnecessary additives.
- Choose powdered stevia. You can find stevia both in powdered and liquid form. It takes more processing and preservatives to make liquid stevia, while the powder form is generally less processed and has fewer if any, preservatives.
We suggest trying SweetLeaf Stevia which is one of the most popular and best rated on Amazon.
No artificial ingredients, zero carbs and calories. Oh, and no bitter after taste – that’s where their slogan “The World’s Best Tasting Stevia” comes from.
How To Use Stevia While Intermittent Fasting
Now when you know all pros and cons of using stevia during intermittent fasting, it’s time to find out some of the ways how to use this natural sweetener.
As someone doing intermittent fasting, you might already be familiar with what can you drink during intermittent fasting. The best is to stick to 3 intermittent fasting safe drinks: water, plain tea or black coffee. During the fasting window, these will be the drinks you can add a pinch of stevia to add some flavor and satisfy your sweet tooth. Just remember, stevia is 200-300 time sweeter than sugar, so check the product label to understand the right amount of stevia to add.
During your intermittent fasting eating window, you can get more creative and substitute sugar with stevia in baked goods. For some inspiration, you can check these 17 healthy stevia-sweetened dessert recipes. Stevia is an especially great choice for anyone doing the low-carb keto intermittent fasting as sugar is pure carbs.
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