Can You Chew Gum While Intermittent Fasting?
Updated: 4 days ago
I remember growing up, my mom had a BIG container of bubble gum always available in the house. You know those old school Double Bubbles that were held together in those double twist yellow and blue wrappers? Yup - those were the ones that my mom always had. As a result, I grew up chewing a lot of gum. I was a MASTER at blowing a bubble within a bubble. I know - impressive.
As my family started to learn more about Nutrition, we eventually got rid of the big ol' container of Double Bubble, but there is no doubt that chewing gum is still so prevalent in todays society.
A common question I get with #AENpeeps who are new to Intermittent Fasting is "can I have gum during my fast?". I understand what the draw of this would be - having something to chew on during a time when you normally would be chewing in order to satisfy that urge to... well... chew.
So today, I'm sharing the details on chewing gum during your fasted state and whether or not you will still achieve the fat burning, gut healing, de-bloating results that you're looking for.
Let's take a look at the two different types of gums and the effect it has on your fast and body...
1. Sugar Containing Gum
A typical piece of gum that contains sugar will have around 11 calories and 2g of sugar. Although this isn't very high in sugar, consuming 2-3g of sugar can still have the potential to break your fast. Plus, lowering your sugar intake and utilizing proper Nutrient Timing is an important aspect of The 21 Day Intermittent Fasting Program in order to balance blood glucose levels, tap into fat burning mechanisms and achieve best results.
So you may be thinking... wellllll what about sugar-FREE gum?! If sugar is the problem, then can't you have that?!
2. Sugar-free Gum
If sugar-free gum doesn't contain sugar... then what makes it taste good? Artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, "natural" flavors and sugar alcohols. These non-nutritive sweeteners provide the sweet taste without the carbohydrates. BUT - you would do best to void these sugar-free gums as well. Artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors and "natural" flavors have been found to have a negative effect on the gut bacteria.
With Intermittent Fasting, part of the amazing benefits can be traced back to the favorable effect Intermittent Fasting has on the microbiome (gut bacteria). By chewing gum that contains compounds that have been found to disrupt healthy gut bacteria, you're working against those positive benefits of IF. So although this type of gum won't break your fast, it also won't help you achieve your wellness goals and it may even lead to more bloating issues.
What can you do instead?
If you're looking for something to satiate cravings without breaking your fast, I recommend opting for sparkling water or mint tea. Mint tea is an excellent choice for reducing cravings as it acts as a natural appetite suppressant. You can use bagged mint tea (just check that it doesn't include any additives and contains only mint) or you can steep a handful of fresh mint leaves in hot water for 4-5 minutes. I prefer the latter as it is MUCH more flavorful! If you opt for the sparkling water and you would like to add flavor, again I recommend adding in mint leaves or a very small wedge of lemon or lime.
As your body becomes more Metabolically Flexible, cravings for sugar or the urge to "munch" will go down. In the meantime, you can utilize mint tea or sparkling water in place of gum.