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Home arrow Nutrition arrow Intermittent Fasting arrow Does Erythritol Break a Fast? Benefits, Side Effects, and Nutritional Value

Does Erythritol Break a Fast? Benefits, Side Effects, and Nutritional Value

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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
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Fact checked by Edna Skopljak, MD
Last update: October 22, 2023
5 min read 748 Views 0 Comments
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When you’re fasting, it can be hard to keep your sugar cravings at bay. Fortunately, there are a number of zero-calorie artificial sweeteners you can add to your favorite beverages. Is erythritol one of them? Find out if this sweetener will break your fast and how it can help with insulin resistance.

Does erythritol break a fast

As a method for weight loss, managing blood sugar levels, and improving insulin sensitivity, intermittent fasting has several benefits. However, limiting your food intake can also lead to headaches, fatigue, and cravings for sugary food.

If your need for sugar is too strong to resist, you can trick your brain by adding certain zero-calorie sweeteners into your diet. Is erythritol a sugar alternative that can help satisfy a sweet tooth without breaking your fast? 

Read on to discover the answer and find out whether erythritol is suitable for your diet.

Does Erythritol Break a Fast?

No, erythritol does not break a fast as it contains zero calories. Consuming the sweetener will not spike blood glucose levels or cause an insulin response, which can prevent the body from burning stubborn fat as fuel for weight loss.

However, if you are trying intermittent fasting to improve your gut health, erythritol will break your fast by triggering a digestive response.

This is because it stimulates the same gut hormones that are produced when you eat food, which prevents the gut from cleansing itself of the food and bacteria that can cause bloating. Erythritol is, therefore, not suitable for gut rest.

What Is Erythritol?

Erythritol is a non-nutritive, or artificial, sweetener that is widely used as a sugar substitute. Containing zero calories, it belongs to a family of carbohydrates known as sugar alcohols and is popular with those trying to lose weight or manage diabetes.

Despite being added to lower-calorie foods, candy, and baked goods, erythritol also occurs naturally in some fermented foods and drinks, such as wine, mushrooms, cheese, and soy sauce. It can also be found in fruits such as pears, watermelons, and grapes.

Erythritol nutritional value

Foods and beverages that contain calories are typically avoided during a fasting period. Therefore, knowing exactly what is in erythritol in terms of calories and other nutrients can help you decide whether or not it is a suitable sweetener for your diet.

Here is the nutritional value of erythritol per 100 grams:

CaloriesCarbsFats 
0100g0g
ProteinFiberSugars
0g0g0g

How to Use Erythritol While Fasting

One of the most popular ways of using erythritol during intermittent fasting is by putting it into zero-calorie beverages such as black tea, green tea, and black coffee

This can sweeten your favorite drink without adding unnecessary calories, helping to control sugar cravings while not breaking your fast.

As a zero-calorie sweetener, you can also use erythritol as a sugar replacement in baked goods and sauces to consume during your eating window. 

By eating less sugar, you’ll automatically reduce the number of calories that you’re consuming, which is ideal if you’re trying fasting for weight loss.

Erythritol is also a key ingredient in many other foods and zero-calorie sweeteners, which you should choose if you’re looking for a sugar-like taste without the added calories. Some examples include stevia, sucralose, and monk fruit.

3 Benefits of Erythritol

As a replacement for sugar, erythritol offers several benefits that make it stand out among other artificial sweeteners. Keep reading to discover what these are and how erythritol could help you meet your intermittent fasting goals.

#1 Doesn’t contribute to weight gain

Consuming too much sugar can cause weight gain because it is packed with calories while providing few other nutritional benefits. For instance, added sugars such as corn syrup contain 113 calories per 2 tablespoons, which come mainly from carbs. 

Switching out sugar for erythritol in your black tea or coffee while fasting is a great way of cutting hidden sugars and calories from your diet. 

This will help you to maintain a calorie deficit, where your body burns more calories than you eat, which is essential for weight loss.

#2 Diabetes-friendly

As it contains no calories, erythritol does not cause an insulin response in the body. This makes it a safe and effective sugar substitute for those with diabetes or prediabetes. 

However, if you do have diabetes, you should try to limit your erythritol intake to 10–15 grams per day because it is composed primarily of carbohydrates. 

Consuming lots of carbs can cause your blood sugar to rise, so it’s crucial to track your intake to properly manage your glucose levels. 

#3 Has antioxidant properties

Research shows that erythritol acts as an antioxidant in the body, meaning that it helps fight damage to the cells caused by free radicals. 

One benefit of these antioxidative properties is that the sweetener may reduce blood vessel damage for those with hyperglycemia, or high blood pressure. 

This reduces your risk of developing heart disease, although more studies are needed on human subjects to confirm these results.

Are There Negative Effects of Erythritol?

Although erythritol is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a safe food additive, it may still have some side effects when consumed in large amounts.

Many other sugar alcohols can be absorbed fully by the body, but erythritol is not one of them. The sweetener can therefore cause unpleasant digestive side effects, including stomach cramps, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea.

If you’ve taken up intermittent fasting to improve gut health, you should try to steer clear of erythritol. Despite this, research on long-term erythritol consumption shows that it does not produce any more serious side effects.

FAQs

Does erythritol raise blood sugar?

Erythritol does not raise blood sugar levels as it is easily absorbed and not metabolized by the body. When excreted, it is also unchanged in the urine.

Does erythritol kick you out of ketosis?

Erythritol is considered to be a keto-friendly sweetener. Although it is composed primarily of carbs, it contains no calories and has a glycemic index of 0, meaning that it will allow your body to continue burning fat for energy.

Is erythritol as safe as stevia?

Yes, erythritol and stevia are both safe and effective sugar substitutes for those looking to lose weight, manage their blood sugar, or control insulin levels.

A Word From an MD

Choosing to add a sweetener such as erythritol to your favorite zero-calorie beverages instead of sugar is ideal for those on an intermittent fasting journey. Along with maintaining your fast, erythritol helps support weight loss, balance insulin levels, and boost heart health.

However, you shouldn’t consume erythritol in excessive amounts, as it can lead to uncomfortable side effects such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, or constipation.

To maintain good gut health while fasting, consider taking probiotics, which will help keep a healthy balance of good bacteria within your body.

You should also prioritize whole, nutrient-dense foods during your eating windows to ensure that you are getting plenty of vitamins and minerals in your diet. Select fiber-rich options such as oatmeal, lentils, chia seeds, apples, and quinoa.

Conclusion

As an alternative to table sugar, erythritol is a great choice to add to zero-calorie beverages during a fasting period. The sugar alcohol won’t raise your blood sugar because it contains no calories, so it won’t break a fast and will help you lose weight.

However, you should try to limit your erythritol intake to 10–15 grams per day, as consuming too many carbs can cause blood sugar levels to spike. 

This sugar alcohol can also lead to digestive upset when eaten in large amounts and should be avoided altogether if you are fasting for gut rest.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
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.
The article was fact checked by Edna Skopljak, MD
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HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
HR_author_photo_Edna
Fact checked by Edna Skopljak, MD
Last update: October 22, 2023
5 min read 748 Views 0 Comments
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