Does Sugar-Free Creamer Break A Fast?

Sugar-free coffee creamer is a lifeline for many people that need their coffee fix, but did you know that it will break your fast, especially if the goal of your fast is for autophagy or religious purposes?

Let’s explore why and when you can use sugar free creamer and when you shouldn’t.

Are There Calories In Sugar Free Creamer?

Most varieties of sugar free coffee creamer do contain calories. They are superficially marketed as sugar free and not necessarily calorie-free, with 10-15 calories per teaspoon-sized amount. Regular Coffee Mate contains 10 calories per teaspoon, as seen below in its nutritional information label.

Coffee mate nutritional information

While this may seem small, it will still cause your fast to break. Plus, there’s the fact that most people use far more than a teaspoon of creamer in their coffee. Most people use two tablespoons, and one tablespoon of sugar free coffee creamer has around 30-45 calories, so you can see how this is enough to break most fasting protocols.

Regardless of the type of non-nutritive sugar substitute they contain, with Splenda (or the generic Sucralose), and Equal (Aspartame) or Truvia (Stevia) being the most popular, they still contain calories from other sources such as fat.

That’s why it is important to not confuse sugar free with calorie free.

Do Sugar Free Creamers Raise Insulin?

These creamers do have an impact on insulin levels. For one, there is a growing body of evidence that points to the fact that even non-nutritive sugar substitutes, such as those mentioned above do have somewhat of an effect on insulin.

They tend to not affect glucose levels like sugar would, and hence lead to insulin secretion, but they do have the potential themselves for eliciting an insulin response (though not the same magnitude as glucose itself).

The sugar substitutes might also adversely affect probiotic colony size, which generally coincides with decreased insulin levels and then a loss of blood glucose control (which is very bad).

Then, there’s the argument that the small amount of fat they contain could also affect insulin- which is true; but the fact is that fats are the weakest macronutrient group in terms of insulin secretion response.

Can I Have Sugar Free Coffee Creamer On Fasting Days?

Dairy free sugar free creamer

You can definitely have your sugar free creamer on your fasting days, but you should not be having it during the actual fast. Even many sugar free varieties contain dairy and other additives which can have an impact on your insulin levels and thus break the fast.

It is best to wait until after your fast has ended for the day, or consume it before you start your fast. This way, you can still enjoy your coffee without having to worry about breaking your fast.

Even coffee imbued with coconut or MCT oil will break your fast and stop autophagy, so it’s best to avoid all forms of coffee with added fats or creamers during your fast.

Final Words

Sugar free coffee creamer may seem like a good alternative at the time, but it can have an impact on insulin levels and thus break your fast. The exact type of fast will also determine how acceptable the creamer is as well.

Still need that caffeine fix and don’t know how to get it? Try it in supplement form and bypass all the worrisome calories altogether!

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Mike Julom, ACE CPT

Mike is an ACE Certified PT and a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. He is an avid lover of all sports. Basketball, tennis, athletics, volleyball, soccer, squash, golf, table tennis, even darts, you name it! He's a very active CrossFit athlete and has been WOD'ing for over 7 years. With such an intense fitness regime, Mike has learned to take care of his body physically, nutritionally, and spiritually. Mike founded ThisIsWhyImFit as a way to share his vast knowledge of exercises, diets, and general fitness advice.

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