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Home arrow Nutrition arrow Intermittent Fasting arrow Does Honey Break a Fast? The Sweet Truth

Does Honey Break a Fast? The Sweet Truth

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: October 22, 2023
4 min read 1619 Views 0 Comments
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While artificial sweeteners are low in calories, they do not have nutritional value. On the other hand, natural sweeteners have nutritional value but may be high in calories. Can you use honey while intermittent fasting?

does honey break a fast

Hey there, with a sweet tooth! 

We understand that fighting cravings may be a challenging aspect of fasting. However, any amount of food may disrupt the process.

Foods can break a fast if they create adverse insulin or blood glucose response, disturb gut rest, or provide excess calories.

Let’s learn how honey affects the fasting state and the substitutes you may use.

Does Honey Break a Fast?

Honey will break your fast because it contains calories.

A tablespoon of honey contains 70 calories. This is higher than the 50-calorie limit you can consume to stay in a fasted state. It also has carbs that trigger insulin spikes.

Overall, it is better to avoid honey while fasting even though it has some health benefits.

Can I Put Honey in My Tea While Fasting?

It’s not a good idea to put honey in your tea while fasting as it will break your fast.

One of the major benefits of fasting is allowing insulin levels to reduce. Green tea or herbal tea is extremely healthy. 

However, honey is a sweetening agent made up of simple sugar. It breaks down and triggers insulin spikes. These factors rule out taking honey with tea during the fast.

How Many Calories Does Honey Contain? 

One tablespoon of honey provides 70 calories. While it is basically sugar, it is higher in calories than white sugar. 

As it is sweeter, you need to add less amount to meals. This allows you to consume fewer carbs while getting the sweet taste you prefer.

Honey contains 17 grams of carbs,  0.1 grams of protein, 16 grams of sugar, 0 grams of fats, and 0 grams of sodium. Honey also provides vitamins and minerals in trace quantities, including zinc, iron, and potassium. 

Can I Drink Honey Lemon Water During Intermittent Fasting? 

A common trend during intermittent fasting is consuming healthy drinks with fewer calories. Many people prefer drinking honey lemon water as it is delicious and flavorful. 

Lemon water is a great drink as it has minimal calories and includes various beneficial nutrients, such as vitamin C.

While a small amount of honey will not cause an insulin spike, it can delay the burning of stored fat. 

If you are adding honey for a taste while fasting, it is recommended to change it to plain lemon water.

Overall, you should not add honey to your lemon water during intermittent fasting.

What Alternative Sweeteners Can I Use While Fasting?

Honey may not be a suitable option while fasting, considering the mentioned factors. But what about other alternative sweeteners?

Here are a few popular ones:

#1 Stevia

Stevia doesn’t affect insulin or blood sugar levels. It doesn’t inhibit the process of ketosis. So, stevia is unlikely to break your fast. 

A study showed the beneficial effect of stevia on insulin and blood sugar control. After research on patients with type 2 diabetes, it was found that stevia helped reduce blood sugar levels by 18%.

Your body does not break down or absorb stevia in the stomach. This makes stevia suitable for fasting as it promotes gut rest.

#2 Monk fruit

Monk fruit does not break a fast.

Monk fruit does not contain carbs or sugar and is calorie-free. This makes monk fruit a great option for fasting as it does not affect ketosis.

The fruit is also known to help manage blood glucose levels. It is rich in antioxidants that fight harmful chemicals and boost your overall health.

#3 Splenda

As it affects blood glucose and insulin levels, Splenda can break a fast.

Splenda contains sucralose, which is calorie-free. As the structure is different from sucrose, the body does not recognize it as a carbohydrate. So, the body cannot use it as energy, and it does not affect fat metabolism.

However, Splenda also contains dextrose and maltodextrin. Maltodextrin has a high glycemic index and increases insulin and blood sugar levels. Dextrose is artificially made and identical to regular glucose. Therefore, it makes Splenda not suitable for fasting.

Natural vs. Artificial Sweeteners

Natural sugars are naturally present in whole foods, such as glucose and fructose. On the other hand, artificial sugars are artificially made in the lab to provide sweetening without calories.

While you get other nutrients from natural sugars, such as vitamins and minerals, artificial sweeteners won’t be able to offer these nutrients.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of each.

Artificial sweeteners


  • No-calorie or low-calorie: They are ideal for people aiming for weight loss.
  • No impact on blood sugar: It helps people who have difficulty managing blood sugar levels, especially those with type 2 diabetes.


  • Impact on health: They are complex chemicals and can impact the body in many ways.
  • Risk of metabolic syndrome: Excess consumption may increase the risk of high cholesterol, hypertension, and heart disorders.
  • No nutritional value: They do not offer any nutrients.

Natural sweeteners


  • Easy to digest: Your body can easily break them for energy and doesn’t transform them into any form of fats.
  • No additives: They do not have any chemical products that may impact your health.
  • Sweeter than artificial sugar: They are much sweeter than artificial sweeteners, so you should add less of them to sweeten your food.
  • Offer nutrients: They provide your body with minerals, vitamins, and enzymes.


  • Impact on blood glucose levels: It may be dangerous for people with diabetes.
  • Health problems: Research has shown that stevia can affect blood pressure and may interact with certain medicines. 

A Word From Our RD

Overall, it is healthy to consume honey in small quantities. It is sweeter than sugar, allowing you to add fewer carbs to your meals.

It also has vitamins and minerals such as zinc, iron, and potassium. 

However, during the fasting period, your body is burning fat. Therefore, you need to take care of what you consume.

Honey is rich in calories. It also has carbs that trigger insulin spikes.

So, you should not consume honey while fasting even though it has other health benefits.


Honey can break a fast as it is rich in carbohydrates and sugar. It is not suitable to be added to your lemon water or herbal tea during intermittent fasting. It is also best to limit its consumption if you plan to lose weight.

If you prefer a sweet taste, it is most beneficial to understand the difference between natural and artificial sweeteners before adding them to your meals.

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 Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: October 22, 2023
4 min read 1619 Views 0 Comments

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