Does Stevia Break A Fast? Unraveling The Sweet Mystery Of Intermittent Fasting & Coffee

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Written By Chad Kelley

The overly caffeinated chef dad taking you down the rabbit hole of caffeinated knowledge

Cup of black coffee with stevia in a spoon with stevia leaves

Get ready, fellow coffee enthusiasts and intermittent fasting aficionados! We’re about to dive into one of the most pressing questions for those who can’t resist to drink coffee with a touch of sweetness during their fasting hours: does stevia break a fast? What about other sweetneers? Will monkfruit break a fast?

Prepare to be captivated as we unravel this sweet mystery in a caffeine-fueled adventure through the world of fasting, coffee, and sweeteners.

We’ll delve into the vast universe of sweeteners, uncovering the truth about what’s safe to mix with our beloved brew, and ultimately determine if stevia is a fasting ally or adversary.

So, fasten your seatbelts, grab your favorite mug, and get ready to be infused with the steamy, caffeinated knowledge you never knew you craved!

Understanding Sweeteners

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of stevia and fasting, let’s take a moment to brush up on our sweetener lingo. There are two main categories of sweeteners: nutritive and non-nutritive

Nutritive Vs. Non-nutritive Sweeteners

Infographic about sweeteners

Nutritive sweeteners are like those friendly faces we all know and love – they’re sugars and sugar substitutes that give us a good dose of energy, or calories, when we consume them. You’ve probably met some of these well-known pals, like table sugar (sucrose), high fructose corn syrup, honey, agave, and the sugar alcohols crew, including xylitol, sorbitol, and maltitol.

Non-nutritive sweeteners, on the flip side, are those sweet little ninjas that pack a punch of flavor with minimal to no calories. These “high-intensity” sweeteners can be a whopping 100-20,000 times sweeter than regular sugar, but without the caloric baggage. Our friends at the FDA have given their seal of approval to 8 high-intensity sweeteners for use in the good ol’ US of A:
• Saccharin (you might know it as Sweet’n Low)

• Aspartame (hello, Equal!)

• Acesulfame potassium (also called Ace-K or Sunett)

• Sucralose (ah, the famous Splenda)

• Neotame

• Advantame

• Steviol glycosides (it’s our main squeeze, Stevia!)

• Luo han guo fruit extracts (or the ever-popular monk fruit)

So, there you have it! These sweet sensations are ready to rock your taste buds without wrecking your waistline.

Artificial Sweeteners And Natural Sweeteners

Now, within the non-nutritive category, there’s another distinction: artificial sweeteners and natural sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are synthetic sugar substitutes, while natural sweeteners come from plants or other natural sources. Stevia, our star of the show, is a natural sweetener. But enough teasing – let’s dive deeper into the world of pure stevia!

Related Articles: Does Cinnamon Reduce Acid in Coffee?

Intermittent Fasting 101: The Basics And Benefits

Before diving into the world of sweeteners and fasting, let’s take a moment to break down the concept of intermittent fasting for those who might be new to this buzzworthy lifestyle trend.

Example of intermitent fasting

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting (IF) is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. It’s not about what you eat, but when you eat. It focuses on setting specific time windows for eating, while the rest of the day or week is dedicated to fasting.

Popular Methods Of Intermittent Fasting

There’s more than one way to fast intermittently, and you can choose the method that best suits your lifestyle and preferences. Here are some popular IF methods:

16/8 method: Fast for 16 hours a day, and eat during an 8-hour fasting window, such as from noon to 8 PM.

5:2 method: Consume a normal diet for 5 days of the week, and limit calorie intake to 500-600 calories on the remaining 2 days.

Eat-Stop-Eat: Fast for 24 hours once or twice a week.

Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting has gained traction for a reason – it offers a variety of potential health benefits. Here are some of the perks:

• Weight loss: IF can help reduce calorie intake and boost metabolism, leading to weight loss.

• Improved insulin sensitivity: Fasting may help the insulin response, lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin resistance.

• Cellular repair: Fasting periods can initiate cellular repair processes, like removing waste material from cells.

• Brain health: IF may increase the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which supports brain function and helps prevent neurodegenerative diseases.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of intermittent fasting, let’s jump back into exploring the sweet world of coffee additives and sweeteners that won’t sabotage your fasting goals.

Stevia: A Natural Sweetener

stevia bowl with greens no background

What Is Stevia?

Stevia, the sweet little leaf that could, is a natural sweetener derived from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant, native to South America. It’s a zero-calorie sweetener that can be up to 300 times sweeter than sugar, making it a popular choice for people looking to cut calories without sacrificing taste.

Benefits Of Using Stevia During Fasting

Consuming stevia during fasting can be a great way to add a touch of sweetness to your coffee or tea without breaking your fast. Unlike nutritive sweeteners that provide calories and can spike insulin and blood glucose levels, stevia is a non-nutritive sweetener that doesn’t impact blood sugar levels. Zero calories!

This means it won’t interfere with the potential benefits of fasting, such as increased fat burning, improved insulin sensitivity, and cellular repair.

Does Stevia Break A Fast?

Drumroll, please! The million-dollar question: does stevia break a fast? The short answer is no, consuming stevia does not break a fast when used in moderation. Since it doesn’t contain calories and doesn’t impact your blood glucose, sugar or insulin levels, you can enjoy stevia-sweetened beverages without sabotaging your fasting goals.

So, go ahead and add a sprinkle of stevia to your coffee – your fast will remain intact! With that in mind though, do not overdo it. Everyone reacts differently with stevia and if you consume stevia in moderate to heavy amounts it can cause some stomach discomfort.

Moderation Matters: Finding The Sweet Spot With Stevia And Fasting-friendly Additives

As with most things in life, moderation is key when it comes to using stevia and other fasting-friendly additives in your coffee or beverages. Here’s why keeping an eye on your consumption is essential.

Why Moderation Is Important

Calorie creep: Although stevia and other non-nutritive sweeteners are low or calorie-free, it’s essential not to overdo it with other additives. For instance, using excessive coconut oil or unsweetened almond milk could inadvertently increase your calorie or sugar intake, potentially affecting your fasting goals.

Overstimulating your taste buds: Getting too accustomed to sweet tastes could make it harder to appreciate the natural flavors of whole foods, which could lead to cravings for sweeter or processed foods.

Gut health: In some cases, overusing sweeteners and additives might cause some digestive tract issues like bloating or discomfort, especially when it comes to sugar alcohols or certain artificial sweeteners.

Enjoying a cup of coffee with stevia

How To Practice Moderation

Measure your additives: Instead of eyeballing it, use measuring spoons to ensure you’re only adding a reasonable amount of your fasting-friendly additives to your coffee or beverages.

Listen to your body: Pay attention to how you feel after consuming sweeteners or additives. If you notice any digestive discomfort or other adverse effects, consider reducing the amount you use.

Mix it up: Rotate between different fasting-friendly additives to avoid over-relying on any single option. This can also help you enjoy a variety of flavors without overstimulating your taste buds.

By practicing moderation with stevia and other fasting-friendly additives, you’ll ensure you continue reaping the benefits of your intermittent fasting routine without compromising your health or taste buds. So, remember – a little goes a long way!

Coffee Additives While Fasting

Acceptable coffee additives during fasting

Now that we’ve established liquid stevia as our fasting BFF, let’s look at other creative ways to make your coffee sing while sticking to your intermittent fasting routine. Many folks add just a pinch or a dash of these ingredients to their coffee, keeping their fast game strong

Spices to add to your coffee to not break your fast

Debunking Myths: Clearing Up Confusion Around Fasting And Sweeteners

Navigating the world of fasting and sweeteners can be a bit confusing, especially with all the misinformation out there. Let’s bust some common myths and misconceptions to help you make informed decisions.

Myth: All Sweeteners Are Off-limits During Fasting

Reality: Non-nutritive sweeteners like the stevia extract and monk fruit won’t break your fast due to their minimal to zero calorie content. However, it’s essential to use them in moderation to avoid potential side effects or overstimulating your taste buds.

Myth: Artificial Sweeteners Are Always Bad For You

Reality: While some people may have concerns about artificial sweeteners, the FDA has approved several for use, including sucralose, aspartame, and saccharin. It’s important to note that individual reactions may vary, so pay attention to how your body responds to these natural and artificial sweeteners, and adjust your consumption accordingly.

Myth: Fasting Means You Can’t Have Anything But Water

Reality: While water is vital during fasting periods, other beverages like black coffee and unsweetened tea are generally considered fasting-friendly. As long as you’re mindful of the additives you use (like stevia), you can still enjoy your favorite drinks without breaking your fast.

Myth: Adding Any Calories To Your Coffee Will Break Your Fast

Reality: While it’s essential to keep calorie consumption to a minimum during fasting periods, small amounts of fasting-friendly additives, like a dash of unsweetened almond milk or a pinch of cinnamon, are unlikely to impact your fasting benefits significantly.

By understanding the facts behind these myths, you can feel more confident in making the right choices when it comes to fasting and sweeteners. So, go ahead and enjoy your stevia-sweetened coffee, knowing that you’re well-informed and making the best decisions for your fasting journey.

Let’s Tackle Some Faqs:.

Can You Have Stevia In Coffee While Intermittent Fasting?

You betcha! As we’ve already mentioned, stevia is a non-nutritive sweetener that won’t break your fast. So go ahead and give your coffee a sweet, guilt-free lift.

What Sweetener Can I Use While Fasting?

Stevia and monk fruit are fantastic natural sweeteners that won’t break your fast. Artificial sweeteners like sucralose, aspartame, and saccharin are also fasting-safe, but some folks prefer to steer clear of them due to potential health concerns.

What Can I Put In My Coffee And Not Break My Fast?

Fear not, coffee lovers! You can safely add stevia, a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, or cocoa, a pinch of Himalayan sea salt, or a small amount of unsweetened almond milk or coconut oil to your coffee without breaking your fast.

Does Creamer In Coffee Break A Fast?

Sadly, yes. Traditional creamers contain calories and can spike insulin levels, so they’ll break your fast. Stick to fasting-friendly additives like stevia and unsweetened almond milk for a creamy, delicious cup of coffee that won’t mess with your fasting mojo.

Related Article: How Long Can Coffee with Creamer Sit Out?

So… What Next?

As we come to the end of our caffeinated journey, let’s recap what we’ve learned. Stevia, the natural, zero-calorie sweetener, is a fasting-friendly option that won’t break your fast when used in moderation. So, you can happily add it to your coffee and continue reaping the benefits of your intermittent fasting routine.

Remember, there are other fasting-safe additives you can experiment with, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa, unsweetened almond milk, and even a pinch of Himalayan sea salt.

 The key is to keep it simple and avoid calorie-laden creamers or sugars that could sabotage your fasting efforts.

Now, go forth and enjoy your stevia-sweetened coffee with confidence, knowing that you’re still on track with your intermittent fasting goals. Cheers to a healthier, happier, and more caffeinated you!