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Does Sugar-Free Gum Make or Break a Fast?

Fasting has long been a go-to for crash dieting. While weight loss may be fleeting, people take a break from eating for a variety of health reasons. This practice has been around for thousands of years. But going without food may not be as simple as it seems.

One method people use to hold off hunger is chewing gum. Makes you wonder if that’s breaking the fast. Researchers asked the same question. 

In the strictest sense, consuming any calories at all breaks the fast. But in reality there is some wiggle room. In the case of gum it’s complicated. Some types of gum pack a punch, as in calories and sugar. Chewing gum is basically a soft, rubber-like substance combined with sweeteners and flavors. 

One stick of gum may carry 11 calories, according to the US Department of Agriculture. Not too bad, right? But bubble gum may have up to 30 calories- which is creeping up there into the food territory. Compare that to sugar-free gum which has a much lower impact, coming in at approximately 6 calories per stick. 

People doing a water fast may be okay with zero calories. For the rest of us, chewing gum may be a good game plan. Consider this: studies find that gum can decrease appetite. That’s definitely a good thing when you’re trying not to eat. 

In fact, sugar-free products have proven upsides. One study showed chewing sugar-free gum for 1 hour cut hunger and decreased food intake at the next meal. 

Sugar-free gum also has very little effect on blood sugar levels. Another study looked at a dozen people who chewed gum for a half hour while fasting and it didn’t raise their insulin levels. Which suggests it did not break their fast.

So far from a cheat, research makes the argument that sugar-free gum might help your willpower and in turn, help you hold your fast.

What do you think?

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