Can You Chew Gum While Fasting?

Dieser Artikel basiert auf wissenschaftlichen Studien

Intermittent Fasting | Breaking a Fast | Chew Gum | Sugar-Free | Candy

Although intermittent fasting is a simple diet, tricky questions arise, especially at the beginning of your journey.

Accordingly, the most common questions from my readers are about what to eat and drink, e.g., coffee, and if they can smoke or chew gum during intermittent fasting.

At first glance, this is a simple question. Nevertheless, to answer it, we need to look at the essential mechanisms of fasting in the body.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

In intermittent fasting, food is eaten only within a certain period. You spend the rest of the day fasting.

Although there are several forms of intermittent fasting, the most popular is fasting for 16 hours.

Therefore, in intermittent fasting 16/8, you may only eat during a continuous window of 8 hours a day, such as from 12:00 to 20:00.

To assess whether you are allowed to chew gum during intermittent fasting, we must first determine why we want to fast in the first place.

In short, there are two main reasons for intermittent fasting:

  • Weight Loss
  • Autophagy

Thereby, our body’s hormonal balance is instrumental to both goals.

Weight Loss

People can lose weight successfully with intermittent fasting since it is the most effective way to lower insulin levels.

As the essential storage hormone, insulin is responsible for signaling cells to take up glucose from the bloodstream and store excess energy as fat or glycogen.

Accordingly, researchers can predict 75% of the gain and loss of obese people using insulin levels (Kong et al. 20131).

In addition, insulin can prevent the breakdown of body fat (Meijssen et al. 20012).

The 16-hour fasting stops nutrient intake, lowers insulin levels, and ends the body’s storage mode.

Then the body can begin to deplete carbohydrate (glycogen) stores. Once they are empty, the body taps into stored fat for energy.

Thus, it is the nature of the human body to build up fat reserves in abundance to draw from this body fat in times of shortage.

Now we eat around the clock and gain weight regardless of the season. Therefore, intermittent fasting can restore the natural balance between eating and fasting.

This way, we can first counteract the hormonal imbalance that causes obesity (Lustig 20013).


The second primary driver of the health benefits of fasting is autophagy.

When food is scarce, this intracellular recycling system kicks in, breaking down broken cellular parts and directing toxins out of the body.

In this regard, the effects of autophagy are so groundbreaking that it was rewarded with the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2016 (Levine et al. 20174).

But how is autophagy turned on and off?

To this end, three primary nutrient sensors exist in our bodies:

  • Insulin: Sensitive to carbohydrates and proteins.
  • mTOR: Sensitive to proteins
  • AMPK: Sensitive to a lack of energy in cells

AMPK reacts when cells are supplied with energy – regardless of the macronutrient. For this reason, in addition to carbohydrates and proteins, fat also prevents autophagy.

In turn, both AMPK and insulin activate mTOR, so this enzyme, essential for growth, is considered the primary nutrient sensor.

As soon as you eat, it detects nutrient availability and shuts down autophagy.

However, if the nutrient supply is interrupted for extended periods, cells react strategically and recycle defective cell parts to produce energy.

The recycling mechanism sets the standard since the storage hormone insulin is instrumental in autophagy and weight loss.

If you deactivate autophagy, you break the fast.

Can You Chew Gum While Intermittent Fasting?

Some people use chewing gum to satisfy the need to chew. Others use it to curb hunger or get fresher breath.

Since chewing gum is first not swallowed and digested and secondly has a manageable nutritional value, it should hardly influence intermittent fasting.

But is the conclusion that simple?

Does Chewing Gum Break a Fast?

Regular chewing gum breaks a fast.

Now that we know that any macronutrient can break the fast, we need to look at the nutrient profile of chewing gum.

An average piece of chewing gum weighs about 3 g and provides the following macronutrients (*):

  • Fat: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 2.1 g
  • Of which sugar: 2 g

Two grams of sugar may look negligible at first glance. Nevertheless, this means that a piece of chewing gum consists of two-thirds sugar we consume in chewing.

can you chew gum while fasting?

At the same time, we must note that sugar, in particular, can drive blood sugar and insulin levels to astronomical heights.

Especially when it comes to losing weight, the storage hormone is the decisive nutrient sensor. Accordingly, insulin in our body switches from fat burning to fat storage.

Therefore, chewing gum with sugar is not allowed during intermittent fasting.

Can You Chew Gum While Water Fasting?

Chewing gum is not allowed during therapeutic and water fasting.

Since these are more prolonged fasting methods to maximize autophagy, sugar is a no-go.

Followers of strict autophagy fasting limit their water, salt, or other electrolyte intakes. Accordingly, mineral water is a legitimate option, a mixture of water and electrolytes.

If sugar is a problem in fasting, what about sugar-free options?

Can You Chew Sugar-Free Gum While Fasting?

Sugar-free gum is within a grey area during fasting. Gum manufacturers use various sweeteners instead of sugar to retain the characteristic taste.

The majority of artificial and natural sweeteners are not only sugar but also calorie-free.

Therefore, non-nutritive sweeteners provide a sweet taste without carbohydrates. Thus, can sweeteners break a fast?

Due to the lack of macronutrients, sugar-free sweeteners should not cause a rise in blood sugar levels.

But does it only come down to blood sugar levels? People repeatedly oversee that the blood sugar and the storage hormone insulin matter.

Consequently, high blood sugar results cause elevated insulin levels since the essential task of the hormone is to lower the blood sugar again.

Nevertheless, there are ways to activate insulin secretion without raising blood sugar. Sweeteners are one of them.

According to recent studies, aspartame, acesulfame K, sucralose, or stevia, and monk fruit extract affect insulin production (Liang et al. 19875; Pepino et al. 20136; Tey et al. 20177).

Although they do not trigger insulin secretion the same way in everyone, these artificial and natural sweeteners technically break a fast.

Additionally, sugar alcohols such as xylitol are usually not calorie-free, stimulate digestion, and may break the fast (Natah et al. 19978).

The bottom line is that sugar-free chewing gum is just in a gray area because of the low dosage. However, autophagy does not have an analog on/off button.

But could it be affected by chewing sugar-free gum? Yes.

Will chewing sugar-free gum destroy all results? No.

Can constantly chewing sugar-free gum prevent me from losing weight during intermittent fasting? Yes.

For this reason, I would only use sugar-free chewing gum as an exception. Moreover, in my experience, sparkling water, green tea, or black coffee are more acceptable means of curbing appetite.

Is sugar-free hard candy allowed during Intermittent Fasting?

Does Sugar-Free Hard Candy Break a Fast?

A traditional candy is almost 100% carbohydrates (*). Therefore, we do not need to discuss whether candies with sugar break a fast.

Accordingly, candies have only one essential task: they provide consumers with an extremely sweet taste.

For this reason, a piece of candy also requires far more sweetener than a piece of chewing gum. Since sugar-free chewing gum already technically breaks the fast, sugar-free candies are not allowed during intermittent fasting.

Unlike chewing gum, they also don’t serve any other purpose, such as having something in your mouth or chewing, which might be psychologically necessary to some people.

In summary, sugar-free candies’ concentrated load of sweeteners stokes cravings more than chewing gum. Likewise, many studies looking at food reward pathways support this theory.

In short, the reward component is missing because of the lack of calories in sweeteners, making people crave sweets even more (Yang 20109).

For this reason, other studies have also found that consuming intense sweeteners does not lead to the desired overall calorie reduction due to increased appetite (Bellisle et al. 200710).

The Bottom Line

Since chewing gum is mostly sugar, it is prohibited during prolonged, water, or intermittent fasting. Although it technically breaks the fast, the result is not so clear-cut with sugar-free gum.

Sweeteners can interfere with health effects and weight loss during Intermittent Fasting. However, the amount in a piece of gum is so tiny that it is unlikely to make a crucial difference.

If chewing gum is an essential psychological factor that makes intermittent fasting tremendously easier for you, then go for it.

Nonetheless, chewing gum should be sugar-free and not consumed in large quantities. In any case, if you’re chewing gum and not achieving your goals on Intermittent Fasting, I’d leave it out.

If you’d like to learn proper intermittent fasting playfully, get my free 30-Day Intermittent Fasting Challenge PDF printable.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Does chewing gum break your intermittent fast?

Regular chewing gum breaks an intermittent fast due to the high sugar content. Sugar-free gum technically breaks a fast but doesn’t make a considerable difference due to the negligible amount of sweetener in one stick.

Can you chew gum while fasting?

Technically any chewing gum can break a fast – even a sugar-free one.

Will Extra chewing gum kick me out of ketosis?

Extra chewing gum consists of 70% carbohydrates. While a single extra gum won’t kick you out of ketosis, an excessive amount can.



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5Liang Y, Steinbach G, Maier V, Pfeiffer EF. The effect of artificial sweetener on insulin secretion. 1. The effect of acesulfame K on insulin secretion in the rat (studies in vivo). Horm Metab Res. 1987 Jun;19(6):233-8. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-1011788. PubMed PMID: 2887500.

6Pepino MY, Tiemann CD, Patterson BW, Wice BM, Klein S. Sucralose affects glycemic and hormonal responses to an oral glucose load. Diabetes Care. 2013 Sep;36(9):2530-5. doi: 10.2337/dc12-2221. Epub 2013 Apr 30. PubMed PMID: 23633524; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3747933.


7Tey SL, Salleh NB, Henry J, Forde CG. Effects of aspartame-, monk fruit-, stevia- and sucrose-sweetened beverages on postprandial glucose, insulin and energy intake. Int J Obes (Lond). 2017 Mar;41(3):450-457. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2016.225. Epub 2016 Dec 13. PubMed PMID: 27956737.

8Natah SS, Hussien KR, Tuominen JA, Koivisto VA. Metabolic response to lactitol and xylitol in healthy men. Am J Clin Nutr. 1997 Apr;65(4):947-50. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/65.4.947. PubMed PMID: 9094877.

9Yang Q. Gain weight by “going diet?” Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings: Neuroscience 2010. Yale J Biol Med. 2010 Jun;83(2):101-8. PMID: 20589192; PMCID: PMC2892765.

10Bellisle F, Drewnowski A. Intense sweeteners, energy intake and the control of body weight. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007 Jun;61(6):691-700. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602649. Epub 2007 Feb 7. PMID: 17299484.

Mag. Stephan Lederer, MSc.

Mag. Stephan Lederer, MSc. is an author and blogger from Austria who writes in-depth content about health and nutrition. His book series on Interval Fasting landed #1 on the bestseller list in the German Amazon marketplace in 15 categories.

Stephan is a true man of science, having earned multiple diplomas and master's degrees in various fields. He has made it his mission to bridge the gap between conventional wisdom and scientific knowledge. He precisely reviews the content and sources of this blog for currency and accuracy.

Click on the links above to visit his author and about me pages.

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