Does Sweet and Low Break A Fast?

Sweet and Low is a popular brand of the non-nutritive sweetener saccharin (or saccharine) that is often used as a substitute for table sugar by people desirous of following a reduced carbohydrate lifestyle or while fasting. Using a limited amount of Sweet and Low will not break your fast.

However, there are limitations to this claim, as it isn’t absolutely calorie-free, as marketing would have you believe.

Below, we’ll discuss what you need to consider before committing to using Sweet and Low

Does Sweet and Low Contain Calories?

Sweet and low nutritional info

According to the Sweet and Low website, each 1g packet of sweet and low contains 4 calories and 0.9g carbohydrates.

Iit also states that labeling requirements in the US mean that the calories from Sweet and Low are rounded down to 0kcal.

The liquid forms of Sweet and Low, however, are said to be truly zero calories.

As a result, it’s safe to say that Sweet and Low does technically contain some calories, which could potentially break your fast if you take a few packs at any one time.

Will Sweet and Low Raise Blood Glucose Or Insulin Levels?

If you consume a single pack, the resulting blood glucose and insulin spike will be minimal, but this can quickly add up if you’re like many people that add multiple packs to their coffee or tea throughout the day.

It is noteworthy to mention that Sweet and Low also contains a small amount of dextrose (glucose) in addition to saccharin, with dextrose being a very high glycemic sugar that spikes blood glucose.

With regards to insulin/ blood sugar, it’s important to remember that while fasting, we’re trying to keep insulin levels low so that our bodies can enter into a state of ketosis and start burning stored body fat for energy.

A small amount of Sweet and Low isn’t going to completely throw off your chances of getting into ketosis, but if you’re someone that uses a lot of it, or during the fast itself, it’s going to be more difficult for your body to reach this state.

Accordingly, the liquid form is free of dextrose and falls into the category of not immediately affecting insulin or blood glucose.

However, over the long term, owing to gut dysbiosis, it’s possible that consuming Sweet and Low on a regular basis could lead to insulin resistance and predispose you to the development of diabetes.

Will Sweet and Low Affect Autophagy?

Autophagy is the process by which our bodies break down and recycle old, damaged cells.

Fasting is thought to increase autophagy, as it provides the body with a chance to rest and repair itself.

Sweet and Low doesn’t appear to have any direct effect on autophagy, but as it can potentially lead you to consume a moderately high number of calories blindly, this would cause autophagy to slow down.

In moderation, it will not have any impact on autophagy. Better yet, opt for the liquid form, as this is devoid of calories completely.

Can I Use Sweet and Low on Fasting Days?

It can be successfully consumed on fasting days, but it’s best to stick to the liquid form if you want to avoid any potential calorie consumption, and also be mindful of how much you’re using.

Box of 1500 packets of sweet and low

A single packet is not going to break your fast, but if you’re someone that takes multiple throughout the day, the added calories/sugar is something that you should watch out for.

Some people do take a bit of black tea or coffee during fasting hours, and a pack of Sweet and Low can help to make this more palatable.

Outside of the actual fasting window, it is fine to take within reason.

Final Words

If you’re going to use Sweet and Low, it’s best to stick to the liquid form or limit your intake to 1-2 packets per day.

While the calorie content is technically zero, there are potential gut health concerns that could lead to weight gain and insulin resistance over time if consumed in large quantities.

It’s also important to be mindful of how much you’re using, as too much Sweet and Low can potentially lead to a blood sugar spike which can make it more difficult to get into ketosis.

In moderation, however, Sweet and Low is perfectly safe to consume during your fasting window or outside of it.

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Michael Jessimy, BSc(Pharmacy)

Michael is a qualified Pharmacist with over 10 years experience dealing with a range of both prescription and alternative remedies. He is also an amateur heavyweight bodybuilder and loves spending his spare time hitting the gym. He strives to help others build the best body possible through fitness, health and nutrition consultation and has several published books under his name.

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