Stevia is sweet... so does that mean you can't have it during your fast with Intermittent Fasting?! Not necessarily. But before you start adding stevia to ALL the things - make sure you read the science-y deets below 🤓
What is Stevia?
Stevia is a plant that's related to ragweed. It contains zero calories and therefore zero carbohydrates/sugar.
Stevia is different from other sugars/sweet tasting things in the fact that it isn't broken down and absorbed in the same way. Regular sugar such as that from honey, cane sugar, maple syrup, agave and coconut sugar is mostly made up of a carbohydrate called sucrose. Sucrose is broken down into glucose and fructose (simple sugars) which are then absorbed by the body and into the blood supply. Fructose is shuttled to the liver and glucose is stored in cells through the release of the hormone insulin. This results in blood glucose spikes and falls that will break your fast.
Stevia on the other hand doesn't contain these sugars. It receives it's natural sweet flavor from compounds called glycosides. These glycosides cause the body to taste sweetness without actually consuming sugar.
Does Stevia Break A Fast?
Technically speaking no, stevia does not break a fast. Because stevia doesn't contain any carbohydrates/protein that can cause an insulin response, it won't break your fast. However, just like what I discussed with Monk Fruit sweetener, it doesn't mean that you necessarily want to use stevia all day, every day.
Pssst - wondering what type of fasting is best for your goals? Click below for my free Intermittent Fasting Schedule quiz to find out!
Is Stevia Natural?
Depends on who you're getting it from. Stevia comes from the stevia plant, which is natural. However, many stevia production companies are now adding in other sugars such as sucrose and sugar alcohols (one more reason to not always trust food companies). Sucrose will of course break your fast due to the sugar content. Sugar alcohols technically don't contain any calories and won't break your fast, but they have been found to cause GI distress in many people. Plus, those who suffer from SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) should be avoiding these sugar alcohols entirely due to the fact that they are highly fermentable.
If you choose to use stevia, you can get organic green leaf stevia and purified stevia extracts that don't contain any added sugars. Just make sure you always check the ingredients label for those added sneaky sugars and sugar alcohols!
It can be hard to initially break the habit of having sugar everyday (for reasons such as THIS). In the meantime, you can use an organic, pure stevia in baking or added to your Keto Coffee while you transition away from daily sugar intake.
Final Thoughts On Stevia
In order to achieve high energy levels and turn on fat burning mechanisms, I suggest taking a look at WHY you're craving sugar. If you require stevia everyday in order to get by, then this is a sign of a few factors:
1. Your cells may not be Metabolically Fit: Your body will continue to be inefficient at tapping into fat burning mechanisms if you don't address this. Learn how HERE.
2. You're physically or emotionally stressed: Don't think you're stressed? Stress isn't just emotional. Stress can be the result of not walking enough, working out too much, not absorbing negative ions and getting poor sleep to name a few. Address these by going through my free Hormone Balancing series on YouTube HERE.
3. You're not following proper Nutrient Timing: I discuss this in detail in The Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle. Proper Nutrient Timing is essential to balancing blood glucose levels, reducing cravings and increasing fat burning mechanisms. Learn how HERE.