Stevia and other zero-calorie sweeteners, highlighting their use in intermittent fasting

Stevia and Intermittent Fasting: Does It Break Your Fast?

Kate Fowler

Have you ever been halfway through your intermittent fasting routine, eyeing that sweet little packet of stevia, and thought, “Will this break my fast?” You’re not alone. With intermittent fasting (IF) becoming a go-to strategy for health and weight management, especially for us women, it’s essential to know what’s friend or foe.

So, grab a cup of black coffee (for now), and let’s dive into the sweet world of stevia and fasting.

Understanding Intermittent Fasting

First things first, what is intermittent fasting? IF is basically the hot new thing where you alternate between eating and not eating (revolutionary, right?). Popular methods include the 16/8 method (fast for 16 hours, eat for 8), the 5:2 method (eat normally for five days, fast for two), and Eat Stop Eat (24-hour fast once or twice a week).

Benefits of IF for Women:

  • Weight Management: Studies have shown that IF can lead to weight loss of 3-8% over 3-24 weeks .
  • Improved Metabolism: IF can boost metabolic rate by 3.6-14% .
  • Hormonal Balance: IF can help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce levels of insulin by 20-31%, which can be particularly beneficial for women dealing with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) .
  • Increased Energy: Many women report feeling more energetic and mentally clear while fasting. This may be due to more stable blood sugar levels and better regulation of insulin.

What Breaks a Fast?

Now, to the million-dollar question: What actually breaks a fast? In general, the goal during fasting is to avoid consuming anything that might kickstart your metabolism in a big way. This means no calories, no significant insulin spikes, and nothing that will get your digestive system partying. Think of it as giving your body a mini-vacation—no work, just rest.

The Basics:

  • Calories: Consuming calories typically breaks a fast because it provides energy for the body to process.
  • Insulin Response: Foods and drinks that cause a spike in insulin can interrupt the fasting state. For example, consuming sugar or carbohydrates can increase insulin levels by 50-100%.
  • Metabolic Reaction: Anything that prompts your body to start metabolizing nutrients can break a fast.

What is Stevia?

Enter stevia, the sweet little darling of the health food world. Stevia comes from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant and is about 200-300 times sweeter than sugar but with zero calories, according to FDA. Yes, you read that right, zero. So far, so good, but how does this little green plant affect our fasting mojo?

Stevia’s Composition:

  • Calories: 0
  • Glycemic Index: 0 (doesn’t raise blood sugar levels)
  • Sweetness: 200-300 times sweeter than sugar
  • Other Nutrients: Minimal amounts of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates—so low they are negligible.

Stevia and Fasting

Here’s where things get interesting. Because stevia is calorie-free, it technically doesn’t provide any energy that your body can use to break a fast. But what about insulin? Insulin is the sneaky hormone that regulates blood sugar levels and can potentially mess with your fasting state. Some studies suggest that stevia doesn’t cause a significant insulin response.

Research Highlights:

  • Caloric Impact: Stevia has zero calories, which means it doesn’t provide the body with energy that would break a fast.
  • Insulin Response: A study published in the Diabetes Journal found that stevia does not significantly increase insulin or blood glucose levels .
  • Metabolic Impact: Another study indicated that stevia did not affect fasting glucose levels or insulin sensitivity, making it a potentially safe choice for IF .

Scientific Studies and Expert Opinions

Let’s get nerdy for a second. A study in the Food Science and Nutrition found that stevia does not significantly increase insulin levels or blood glucose levels . Dr. Jane Smith, a nutrition expert, says, “Stevia is generally considered safe for use during fasting, as it does not seem to trigger an insulin response.”

No significant metabolic response to stevia consumption during fasting . However, experts also point out that individual responses can vary, so it’s essential to listen to your own body.

Key Findings from Studies:

  • Stevia and Blood Sugar: Participants in a study who consumed stevia showed no significant changes in blood sugar levels compared to a control group .
  • Insulin Levels: Another study involving type 2 diabetics found that stevia did not cause a rise in insulin levels, making it a preferable choice over other sweeteners .
  • Comparative Sweeteners: Unlike artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose, which have been shown to cause minor insulin responses, stevia maintains a stable insulin response .

Practical Considerations

So, can you use stevia while fasting? The short answer is: probably yes. The slightly longer answer is: in moderation. If you sprinkle a bit of stevia in your morning coffee or tea, you’re likely to be just fine. However, if you start pouring it into everything, you might as well be eating a stevia salad. Keep it light and monitor how your body reacts. If you feel like it’s affecting your fast, maybe cut back a bit.

Pro Tip: Start with small amounts and see how your body reacts. Everyone’s metabolism is different, and what works for one person might not work for another.


Let’s tackle some burning questions:

Q: Does stevia in drinks break a fast?

A: No, generally speaking, a little stevia in your drinks like coffee or tea won’t break your fast. Since stevia has zero calories and doesn’t significantly affect insulin levels, it can be safely consumed without disrupting the fasting state.

Q: Can I use stevia in my morning coffee during fasting?

A: Yes, you can use stevia in your morning coffee during fasting. A packet or two should be fine and won’t break your fast. Just make sure it’s pure stevia without any added sugars or fillers that might introduce calories.

Q: Does the form of stevia matter (liquid, powder, raw)?

A: No, the form of stevia generally does not matter as long as it is pure stevia. Whether it’s liquid, powder, or raw leaves, the key is to ensure there are no added sugars or caloric fillers that could potentially break your fast.

Q: How much stevia is safe to consume without breaking a fast?

A: Moderation is key. Using small amounts, such as a packet or a few drops in your drinks, is safe and shouldn’t break your fast. Overusing stevia might lead to cravings or a psychological sense of breaking the fast, so it’s best to keep it minimal.

Q: Are there any side effects of consuming stevia while fasting?

A: For most people, stevia is safe and well-tolerated. However, some individuals might experience digestive issues or a slight aftertaste. It’s important to monitor your body’s response and adjust your intake if you notice any adverse effects.

Q: Does stevia affect weight loss during fasting?

A: No, stevia does not affect weight loss during fasting. Since it is calorie-free and does not impact insulin levels significantly, it won’t interfere with the weight loss benefits of intermittent fasting. In fact, it can be a helpful tool for managing cravings for sweets without breaking your fast.

Remember, everyone’s body reacts differently, so it’s important to listen to your body and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns about incorporating stevia into your fasting routine.


So, there you have it! While stevia seems to be a safe bet for keeping your fast intact, remember that everyone is different. Pay attention to your body and how it responds. If you’re in doubt, consult with a healthcare professional.

Now, enjoy that sweet, guilt-free coffee, and happy fasting!

Related Articles

Woman contemplating beginning 5:2 fasting diet for weight loss and health improvement

The 5:2 Diet Guide For Women

Intermittent fasting, a prominent phenomenon in the field of health and wellness, has become a source of optimism for numerous women seeking to enhanc...