Can You Chew Gum If You're Fasting?

Fasting has become a wildly popular practice in various health and wellness circles over recent years. While it may have recently become mainstream in American culture, it's been a longstanding tradition in many other cultures around the world. In fact, therapeutic fasting has been around since at least the 5th century BCE, according to Britannica. These early forms of fasting were often prescribed to patients with various diseases and were deemed by physicians to be an important aspect of the recovery process.

Today, many people still choose to fast (via ShareCare). Intermittent fasting, in particular, can even improve individuals' health outcomes. As we continue expanding our knowledge and discovering more ways to benefit from fasting, we can give people more options on how to implement their fasting protocols (via Harvard Health). Of course, not everyone fasts in the same way — and you may not be sure as to what constitutes "fasting." For instance, are you really fasting if you chew gum throughout the day? Let's take a look.

The lowdown on gum

So gum should technically fit into fasting protocols, right? After all, we're not actually swallowing any food. Not so fast. The type of gum you choose impacts the kind of fast you're practicing and it's important to first turn to the label before choosing your brand.

For example, some gum contains sugar while others contain sugar alcohols (labeled sugar-free gum), according to Zero Fasting. On the more caloric end of the scale, Original Bubble Yum contains a whopping 25 calories, 6 grams of carbs, and 5 grams of sugar per piece. These calories can add up, potentially negating any metabolic or longevity benefits.

On the lower caloric end of the scale, sugar-free gum like Orbit contains 5 calories, 1 gram of carbohydrate, 0 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of sugar alcohol. Despite the brand having fewer calories and no sugar, the sugar alcohol it contains still has the potential to trigger our gut's digestive process (via Zero Fasting). If weight loss or longevity is your goal, though, sugar-free gum likely won't break your fast and may even be helpful in your efforts. According to WebMD, chewing gum can help control cravings, manage hunger, and promote weight loss. However, if you're fasting to give your gut a rest, it's suggested to avoid any type of gum.