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Does Stevia Break a Fast?

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a leaf of stevia with a bowl full of stevia powder with a spoon, does stevia 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 been recognized as an effective strategy to lose weight and improve overall health. There are various approaches to intermittent fasting, but its basis involves alternating between periods of eating and fasting with the goal of inducing ketosis and, sometimes, autophagy, your body’s natural recycling process. 

While some people find it easy to endure fasting without any problem, some rely on non-caloric beverages such as tea or coffee to curb hunger pangs and increase alertness during fasting hours. 

There’s no problem with drinking these zero-calorie drinks while fasting, but what if you enjoy a little sweetness in your coffee? Sugar is obviously out of the question, but what about sugar substitutes like stevia? Does stevia break a fast? 

In this post, we will look into how stevia can affect your fast and conclude whether you can have stevia when fasting.

Before We Start: What Breaks a Fast?

When you’re following an intermittent fasting regimen, you’re advised to abstain from food for a certain number of hours, be it 12, 16, or 18. 

In the strictest sense of the word, any type of food or drink other than water will break the fast. However, it is generally considered OK to drink other non-caloric beverages like black coffee and tea while you’re fasting. 

Although the ideal situation is to avoid any number of calories during your fasting hours, the popular belief is that you won’t break your fast as long as you stay under 50 calories. This number, however, does not have any scientific backing. 

So, what’s the big deal about breaking your fast? Experts point out that your body undergoes something called metabolic switching during fasting. This occurs when all your carbohydrate reserves are depleted, and therefore fat burning starts to produce energy [1]

This state is known as ketosis, which has been shown to be beneficial for various health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome [2]. For this reason, it is recommended for your body to stay in a fasted state for at least 12 hours to induce ketosis [3]

Can Stevia Break a Fast?

Stevia, a non-caloric sugar substitute, contains 0 calories. This means it will not break your fast as long as you consume it in moderate amounts [4]. It also has less than 1 g of carbohydrates per packet [5].

Stevia has also been shown not to affect blood glucose or insulin levels, thus making it a safe alternative to sugar for those battling diabetes [6]

The daily acceptable limit for stevia set by the regulatory authorities is 12 mg of stevia extract per kilogram of body weight per day [7]. To put that into perspective, a person who weighs 70 kg would need to eat 840 mg of stevia within a day to exceed the acceptable daily intake (ADI). 

Considering that a tabletop stevia packet would contain about 21 mg of stevia, one would need to consume about 40 such packets in a day to go above the safe limit. 

However, stevia is 200-350 times sweeter than regular sugar, and therefore, you would only need a small amount of stevia to create a matching sweetness. [8] It is highly unlikely that you’ll need that many stevia packets within a day, let alone during your fasting hours. 

Does Coffee with Stevia Break a Fast?

So, does that mean you can have a coffee with stevia while fasting? Absolutely.

As we explained, stevia is calorie-free and doesn’t spike blood sugar levels. Therefore, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t add stevia to your coffee during your fast. 

On a side note, you can even add a splash of creamer to your coffee as long as you stay under the 50-calorie limit.

What About Green Tea With Stevia?

Stevia also goes well with your green tea as well as your black tea. What’s more, it doesn’t interfere with your fast nor does it take away the health benefits green tea offers. So you can go ahead and enjoy your stevia-sweetened tea while you’re fasting.  


Does stevia break ketosis?

The rule of thumb is that you can remain in a state of ketosis if you stay within 20-50 g of carbs while you’re fasting [9]. Stevia, on the other hand, contains only 1 gram of carbohydrates per serving [4]. This means that stevia will not break ketosis if you stick to moderate serving sizes. 

Does stevia kick you out of autophagy?

Short-term fasting has been known to induce autophagy, a beneficial process where your cells undergo self-cleanup [10]. Although there are no specific scientific studies that look into the effects of stevia on autophagy, expert opinion is since stevia is calorie-free, it does not interfere with autophagy [11]

What sweeteners will not break a fast?

While caloric sweeteners like sugar obviously will break a fast, calorie-free sugar substitutes such as stevia and monk fruit will not [9]. However, certain sugar alternatives such as sucralose, aspartame, and saccharin have been shown to raise blood glucose levels, although they are considered low-or no-caloric sweeteners [12]

Bottom line

  • If you were wondering if you can have stevia when fasting, the answer is yes. You can safely consume stevia while you’re intermittent fasting without breaking your fast. 
  • Stevia won’t kick you out of ketosis, nor will it interfere with autophagy.
  • Since stevia is extremely sweet compared to sugar, a little goes a long way. Because of this, it is unlikely that you will exceed the daily acceptable limits. 
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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