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Does Gum Break a Fast? Here is What You Should Know

6 min read
a young woman is blowing a bubble with a gum, does gum break a fast
Melissa Mitri post Reviewer Melissa Mitri post Reviewer
Verified by Melissa Mitri
MS, Registered Dietitian, Former President of CT Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics

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Intermittent fasting has just a few simple rules. You can only eat during the eating window and need to fast during the fasting window. Essentially, anything that contains calories can break your fast. 

However, some seemingly minor—albeit confusing—questions can still come up when you try to practically adopt this eating schedule. For example, can you drink tea while you’re fasting? Is alcohol permitted during your fast? Does gum break a fast? 

We’ve answered the first two questions in previous articles and will address the third today.

Does Gum Contain Calories?

To determine whether or not gum will break a fast, we must consider the caloric value of gum. As we explained earlier, anything that has calories in it can break your fast and kick you out of ketosis — the state in which your body burns fat for energy instead of glucose (i.e., carbohydrates).

While gum doesn’t necessarily contain any nutritive value, it does have sugar. One stick of gum (3g) typically contains around 2g of sugar and about 10 calories [1].

Although this seems like a small amount, the number of calories can add up if you chew multiple pieces of gum as a habit during the fasting window.

Does Gum Break a Fast?

Strictly speaking, gum contains sugar and calories and thus can break a fast. The general consensus in the fasting community is you will remain in a fasted state if you consume under 50 calories during fasting. However, there are no scientific studies to confirm this recommendation. 

If you want to play it on the safe side, you’d want to stick to less than 5 pieces of gum during your fasting window.

This is because one stick of gum contains around 10 calories, so you can easily break your fast if you have at least 5 of them.

Does Sugar-Free Gum Break A Fast?

Now onto the next obvious question: what about sugar-free gum?

Technically, sugar-free gum doesn’t contain sugar or calories, so it will not break your fast. However, artificial sweeteners in it can ruin this logic.

Recent scientific studies report that certain non-nutritive sweeteners found in sugar-free gum, such as saccharin and sucralose, can elevate blood sugar levels in humans [2]. When this happens, they might interfere with the fasted state indirectly.

Sugar-free gum can also make you crave sugary foods, thus getting in the way of your willpower during fasting windows. 

Can You Chew Gum While Fasting?

Well, it depends. Several factors, such as the type of gum you’re chewing, the number of gum sticks you chew per day, and whether or not you have an eating disorder come into play when determining if you can chew gum while practicing intermittent fasting. 

Bottom line — most sugar-free gums will not break your fast and if you chew less than five sugary gums during your fast.

However, some are concerned that chewing gum can trigger food cravings and addictive behavior in those who are prone to eating disorders such as binge eating. 

However, others believe chewing gum can help curb the appetite and thus will help in weight control. Scientific evidence supports the latter. 

A number of research studies have reported that chewing gum suppresses appetite—especially the desire for sugar and salty food—and promotes fullness [3], [4]. One review explains that the reason behind reduced hunger and food intake is the alteration of gut hormone responses due to constant chewing [5]

Research on sugar-free artificial sweeteners, however, contradicts these findings [6]. Some research studies suggest that non-nutritive sweeteners like sucralose and aspartame, due to their enhanced level of sweetness, might increase sugar cravings and lead to weight gain [7]. Therefore, sugar-free gum may promote an appetite for sugary foods and can make it hard for you to stick to your fast.

All in all, there’s no harm in chewing 1-2 pieces of gum—whether they contain sugar or not during your fasting window, as long as you don’t have more than this.

What Else Can You Have During The Fasting Window?

As per the rules of intermittent fasting, you can only have foods or beverages with no caloric value during your fasting period. This means almost all solid foods are off the limits as they contain calories. 

However, you can consume some drinks within your fasting window, such as unsweetened tea, black coffee, and of course, water. We talked more about what you can eat or drink while intermittent fasting in a previous article, and you can read it if you want to get a more comprehensive idea.

You can also drink beverages such as bulletproof coffee or a small amount of bone broth to curb hunger without interfering with the ketosis state.

Again, the general consensus is to stick to less than 50 calories per day during the fasting window to err on the side of caution. To keep track of your fasting journey, you can track your fasting duration, water intake, as well as consumption of other beverages in our all-in-one weight loss app

Wrapping Up

Some chew gum as a strategy for keeping hunger at bay during intermittent fasting, but does it work? Well, it depends on the metabolism of the individual. 

Moreover, does chewing gum break a fast? In a strict sense, it does. Eating more than 5 pieces of gum can introduce more than 50 calories to your body and can increase blood sugar levels, thus hindering ketosis. 

Sugar-free gum, although seemingly a better choice at first glance, can still get in the way of fasting and weight loss. This is because research suggests that non-nutritive sweeteners might induce sugar cravings and thus can make fasting a bit difficult [7]

In conclusion, you can chew gum during intermittent fasting, but you have to be mindful of the total calories you will be consuming. In order to stay in a fasted state, you’ll want to stick to less than 5 pieces of gum.

You can, however, drink sugar-free tea or black coffee to control your hunger and keep you energized throughout the fasting period. You should also make sure to drink plenty of water to keep you hydrated during these hours. 

Disclaimer This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

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