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Can You Chew Gum While Fasting? Does It Break Your Fast?
Intermittent Fasting

Can You Chew Gum While Fasting? Does It Break Your Fast?

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Published on 2022 July 27
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3 min

At its core, intermittent fasting is a straightforward method. You refrain from eating food during your scheduled fasting window and fill up on healthy foods in your eating window. But can you chew gum during your fast?

can you chew gum while fasting

It seems easy enough to get your head around: don’t eat when you’re not supposed to. But different fasting models have different limitations, with some restricting calories completely and others providing a little wiggle room for the odd snack or low-calorie beverage. 

But the top intermittent fasting question that sparks conversations within the fasting community is the impact of chewing gum. 

Here we reach a verdict on whether chewing gum is acceptable while fasting and whether it breaks a fast. 

Can I Chew Gum While Fasting?

Yes, you can chew gum while intermittent fasting, but you should limit the amount you eat during the day. Take intermittent fasting out of the picture, and chewing gum is considered perfectly safe. Although, there are opposing arguments for chewing gum. 

Some suggest that the chewing motion triggers salivation, which triggers hunger. In that sense, it’s likely a bad idea during intermittent fasting, because you want to curb hunger as you refrain from eating.

The alternate side of the argument is that chewing gum works as an appetite suppressant that might tide you over until you reach your next meal. But there is not enough evidence to determine if this is a myth.

The best way to include gum in your fast without concern is to keep it to a minimum and only chew sugar-free gum.

Certain types, such as sugary, flavored bubble gum, contain unnecessary calories you should avoid.

Does Chewing Gum Break a Fast?

Those who practice intermittent fasting know that pretty much any calorie consumption during the fasting window will technically break a fast. 

However, the intermittent fasting method you use will determine if chewing gum will spoil your efforts.

The stricter plans operate on a tough, zero-calorie policy. That means even one piece of gum will break your fast. A modified fasting plan will often allow participants to consume 25% of their usual calorie intake. In that instance, the gum is considered harmless. 

It’s essential to recognize that breaking a fast and losing the benefits of a fast are a little different. 

In theory, chewing sugar-free gum breaks a fast. But significantly losing all fasting benefits requires an intake of calories far greater than a stick of gum.

You need to consume enough calories to trigger an insulin response to break a fast fully. 

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Does Gum Contain Calories?

As we don’t swallow gum, it might seem strange to imagine it contains calories. 

The calories come from artificial sweeteners. As you chew, the flavorings are released and absorbed in your mouth, so you digest the calories just by chewing.

If you’re chewing gum several times a day, you’re continuously racking up extra calories, probably unexpectedly. 

Let’s break down the nutrition content of gum.

One stick of chewing gum typically contains 11 calories. It has 0 fat and protein, 2.9g of carbohydrates, and 2g of sugar. 

The calorie and sugar content is low. With many intermittent fasting plans, you can get away with chewing gum during the fasting period. Sugar-free gum is even better, containing only 5 calories on average in a 2g stick.  

If you’re happy to enjoy gum while fasting, sugar-free gum is your best option. 

Sugar-free gum contains sugar alcohols and artificial flavors, which are non-nutritive sweeteners. Non-nutritive sweeteners provide the same sweetness as sugar without carbohydrates. It’s a win-win for gum lovers.

Does Chewing Gum Affect Blood Sugar? 

Whether chewing gum impacts blood sugar levels depends on the quantity consumed

In one study on healthy, non-obese men in a fasting state, the act of chewing sugarless gum increased satiety without affecting blood glucose or insulin levels.

As the calorie count in gum is relatively minute, especially with sugar-free gum, it’s not going to trigger a significant effect. However, if you continuously chew it throughout the day, your blood sugar levels may rise.

The knock-on effect of increased blood sugar levels is the rise in insulin levels. When insulin spikes, it releases glucose that your body stores for energy. The process prevents your body from reaching the metabolic state that burns stored fat. 

For most participants, the goal of intermittent fasting is weight loss. When your fast is interrupted, in this case by raised insulin levels, you are no longer burning fat. 

A Word From Nutritionist

Intermittent fasting is a scheduled diet associated with weight loss and improved health.

It entails long hours without food, so it’s natural to think about possible means to help you make it to your next meal. So, many people consider gum as a low-calorie solution to sugar cravings and hunger pangs. But does it break a fast?

Theoretically, putting any number of calories into your body will break your fast. But when you chew sugarless gum once or twice a day, the calorie count is minimal. It’s not enough to break a fast or kick you out of ketosis.

It’s essential, however, that you don’t eat several sticks a day as the calories soon add up.

Put your health first and consult with a medical professional before trying an intermittent fasting regime.

Conclusion

Will gum break a fast? Yes, but it will not entirely diminish the health benefits of fasting. 

If you’d prefer to include something less controversial, many drink options can benefit your fast and your health.

Sparkling water, black coffee (no sweeteners), green tea, and hot water with lemon are excellent choices for a bit of nutrition without triggering an insulin response.

Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed byRosmy Barrios, MD
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