Does Chewing Gum Break Your Fast?

Human Window Staff
By Human Window Staff
Updated on February 17, 2020

Does chewing gum break a fast? It’s actually a surprisingly common question and one that doesn’t exactly have a straightforward answer.

If you’re practicing intermittent fasting, you’ll want to be sure that the food and drink you are consuming during your fast will not bring you out of the fasted state and negate the benefits of the practice.

The main issue when looking at chewing gum along with intermittent fasting is that most gums contain certain types of sweeteners which could bring you out of the fasted state.

In this article, we’re going to take a detailed look at intermittent fasting and chewing gum in general to cover all of the basic points, before focusing on the big question about whether chewing gum will break your fast or not.

If you’re just getting started with intermittent fasting, it’s important that you educate yourself on the things you can and can’t have during your fasting window so that you can get the most out of your practice.

So, with the introductions out of the way, let’s start taking a closer look at chewing gum and intermittent fasting.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting (sometimes just referred to as IF) is simply a way of eating which splits your time into periods of and not eating.

At its simplest level, it simply means keeping track of the hours in which you are eating and the ones where you are ‘fasting’.

There are many different intermittent fasting protocols, but one popular one is the 16:8 method, which is a 16-hour daily fast followed by an eight-hour eating window.

If you are just starting out with IF, you could for example, try a 12-hour daily fast and take things from there.

People choose to try intermittent fasting for a variety of reasons, one of them being that there are some perceived health benefits that come with practicing it on a regular basis.

While there is some initial evidence to suggest that fasting does have some health benefits, there is not a huge amount of scientific data to back this up quite yet.

Intermittent Fasting

(Photo: Adobe Stock)

Aside from the health benefits, some people also choose to practice IF because it can help to improve your relationship with food and teach you about what ‘real hunger’ is.

One of the main theories behind intermittent fasting is that it is seen as a more ‘natural’ way of eating, because ancestral humans probably did not have round-the-clock access to food like we do in modern society.

By giving your body a break from constantly digesting food, you can potentially free up some energy for it to work on other things.

Intermittent fasting is not for everybody, and you certainly should not try it without having consulted with a certified medical professional if you have any underlying medical condition or are pregnant or breastfeeding.

The Bottom Line: Intermittent fasting is a way of eating that splits your time into periods of eating and not eating. There are many different protocols, but one popular one is the 16:8 method, which involves fasting for 16 hours, followed by an eight-hour ‘eating window’. There are some potential health benefits to fasting, but you should check with your doctor before trying it for the first time.

What Is Chewing Gum?

Believe it or not, chewing gum has been around since the stone age. Back then, chicle gum was made from the sap of the Sapodilla tree.

These days, there are a whole host of synthetic equivalents on the market. Most of them are flavoured and are marketed as being ‘sugar free’.

Chewing gum is designed to be chewed but not swallowed.

Most modern types of chewing gum are made from polyisobutylene, which is mixed with plasticisers and materials, although the exact recipes will vary between brands.

One of the reasons why gum has become so popular is because the materials are solid and firm at room temperature, but they then become soft and malleable in the warmth of the mouth.

Chewing gum may bring about some benefits, such as reducing the effects of bad breath.

However, there are also some potential negatives to using chewing gum on a regular basis. For example, many chewing gum products contain sugar alcohols which may have a laxative effect when consumed in large quantities.

The Bottom Line: Chewing Gum is a type of candy that is designed to be chewed but not swallowed. It is usually flavoured and may help to prevent bad breath. Chewing gum probably been around since the stone age, when it is thought that chicle gum was made from the sap of the Sapodilla tree.

Does Chewing Gum Break A Fast?

So, now it’s time to take a look at the all-important question of whether chewing gum breaks a fast or not.

Simply put, it all comes down to how strict you are being with yourself when it comes to your intermittent fasting protocol.

Technically speaking, many chewing gums will break your fast because they use sweeteners which may produce an insulin response in the body. You don’t want this to happen during your fasting period.

Some use other sweeteners which may not break your fast, but these could have other effects in the body.

As we mentioned above, the recipes for modern chewing gums vary from brand to brand.

It is worth carefully examining the ingredients label of your chewing gum of choice and researching the substances used to see whether they are likely to contribute to breaking your fast or not.

The above being said, as one piece or stick of chewing gum is only likely to contain a small amount of sweetener and other ingredients, many people would argue that it would be fine to consume while fasting.

As we’ve said many times before in articles of this type, if you want to be 100 per cent sure of remaining in a fasted state, then the only way to guarantee that is to only drink water during your fasting period.

Chewing Gum and Fasting

(Photo: Adobe Stock)

That being said, if you have a craving for some chewing gum during your fast, then having one or two sticks is probably not going to cause problems.

The Bottom Line: Most modern brands of chewing gum contain sweeteners and other ingredients that may break your fast. However, they are included in small amounts so will probably only have a minimal effect on the body. That said, if you want to be 100 per cent sure of staying in a fasted state, then make sure you only drink water during your fast.

Anything Else To Consider?

As we mentioned above, intermittent fasting can be a great tool for your health if used in a sensible and safe way.

However, you should not try intermittent fasting for the first time without speaking to a certified medical professional if you have any underlying medical condition or are pregnant or breastfeeding.

The other thing to bear in mind is that intermittent fasting can be a useful tool, but it should not be seen as a miracle practice to solve your health issues.

You should always make sure that you are sticking to a healthy diet, getting plenty of quality sleep and exercising regularly before thinking about trying intermittent fasting.

Good health requires a multi-pronged approach, and you shouldn’t expect intermittent fasting to work miracles on its own.

Wrapping Things Up – Our Final Thoughts

So, that brings us to the end of our look at whether chewing gum breaks a fast or not.

The short answer to this question is that it depends. Firstly, your gum of choice may contain sweeteners or other ingredients that may indeed bring you out of the fasted state.

However, it also depends on how strict you are willing to be with yourself. Some people may feel comfortable consuming chewing gum during their fast because gum usually only contains small amounts of ingredients that may break a fast.

That being said, if you want to be 100 per cent sure of remaining in a fasted state, then stick to water only during your fasting window.