by Tony Gjokaj June 13, 2021 4 min read

When it comes to Intermittent Fasting, one big question that is always up to debate (even when it really doesn't matter in my opinion) is whether or not you should drink zero calorie beverages while fasting?

In this post, I will give you information for you to decide, along with my personal opinion on the matter.

Let's dive in!

Can You Drink Artificial Sweeteners While Fasting?

There are many views of thought on this. One side will say that if you drink a zero-calorie drink (something with artificial sweeteners in it), it will ruin your fast.

The opposing side will say that these drinks won't have any detrimental impact on your fast of any sort, because it wouldn't elicit a response that ruins your fast. We agree with this side.

TLDR answer: Yes you can.

Reality is that even if there is a beverage with negligible calories (energy drinks like a Monster Zero or Gatorade Zero), these should not impact your fast whatsoever. Yet this is based on our perspective of using Intermittent Fasting as a tool for our overall preference in lifestyle.

Let's explore this more.

Why Do You Fast?

All of this depends on your personal reasoning as to why you fast. From a cognitive performance perspective, one zero calorie caffeinated beverage won't destroy your fast.

According to Lean Gains, two principles you should follow when fasting is as follows:

  1. When fasting, avoid calories as much as you can. When speaking about this principle, this means not having foods that typically contain 60+ calories.
  2. When you can't avoid calories, keep them VERY minimal. Negligible calories (~5 calories) don't typically elicit a "breaking the fast" response.

This means something like a diet soda is ok, just as long as you stick to the principles of Intermittent Fasting. Even if you prefer to chew gum (which is about 5 calories per stick), you probably need to chew over 10+ sticks to even elicit a response that breaks a fast.

Most zero-calorie drinks we consume (coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages) may contain negligible amounts of calories (0-5 calories) that won't elicit a significant response to break your fast.

Some things that are "ok" to drink during your fast: coffee, tea, water, zero calorie caffeinated beverages... hell, even a splash of milk in your coffee won't kill you.

I've been drinking our Nootropic Energy Drink Impulse for over a year fasted. With its Caffeine and N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine synergists, I feel it actually improves my cognitive performance more when fasted.

    Aren't Artificial Sweeteners Bad?

    Now with a lot of blogs, a lot of perspectives, and a lot of misinterpreted studies... people may scare you into believing that artificial sweeteners are evil and should be avoided.

    It's important to note that context matters.

    When people say it's bad: compared to what?

    When they say they should be avoided: what drew you to this conclusion?

    Let's explore two myths pertaining to artificial sweetener concerns.

      "Artificial Sweeteners Cause Fat Gain."

      While this is not connected specifically to Intermittent Fasting, this is one of the arguments that people will use as to why they don't drink artificially-sweetened beverages.

      This statement is not true, according to Examine.

      Some will sometimes argue that a lot unhealthy people drink diet soda, so "enough said" about this argument.According to studies done on diet soda (beverages that contain aspartame, acesulfame potassium, or other similar sweeteners) don't inhibit fat loss or cause fat gain.

      In fact, one study showed that when it comes to diet drinks, most people tend to underestimate their calorie intake.

      What's important is your lifestyle decisions and choices. In monitoring your caloric intake, having good eating habits and drinking artificial sweeteners, you might notice you can get in pretty good shape. In fact, a study has proven this.

        "Artificial Sweeteners Spike Insulin."

        This is one of the statements that people use for Intermittent Fasting and "breaking the fast".

        According to studies done on diet soda (beverages that contain aspartame, acesulfame potassium, or other similar sweeteners) don't spike insulin levels.

        We can go further.

        Adding to the previous study findings, studies were also done on Diabetics that drank artificial sweeteners. In this study, diabetics were found to not have their insulin spike after drinking artificial sweeteners.

        So the argument that artificial sweeteners can spike insulin, thereby breaking your fast... is flawed.

        Final Considerations

        From a non-Intermittent Fasting perspective, artificial sweeteners have actually helped people manage obesity, diabetes, and similar problems.

        One thing I will say about this is that if you're a child, pregnant or nursing, or prone to migraines or seizures, I would not recommend drinking artificial sweeteners at all.

        This would also apply to Intermitting Fasting as well.

        I will say that you should continue to take care of your dental hygiene though. The sacrifice of enjoying artificially sweetened beverages is that you may have to take care of your teeth better.

        It's Your Decision.

        Just like our choice in choosing Intermittent Fasting as our method of choice... it is not my decision to convince you whether I am right or wrong.

        I think it's important to experiment and see what works best for you in this case.

        Whether or not you disagree with me is your decision. It is all dependent on your goal when fasting.

        For me, fasting is practiced from a mental, physical, and spiritual perspective.

        For one, I do it because I feel it improves my cognitive performance. In addition, my culture and family has ate like this for years (Balkan culture typically eats a larger evening meal or feast with family).

        From a more physical perspective, I absolutely enjoy eating huge buffet meals in the afternoon and evening. I get sleepier after a large meal in the evening, granted it is a significantly higher-carb one. I tend to keep a higher fat intake in the afternoon for this reason.

        Lastly, from a spiritual perspective, I like to practice the process of "sacrificing" or "abstaining" in the present and earning in the future. It's something I have practiced for a few years now, and I enjoy it for this reason.

        I just wanted to take the time to thank you for reading this post. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email us at support@reforgedperformance.com or message us on Instagram.

        Until next time, Reforged Legion!

          Tony Gjokaj
          Tony Gjokaj

          Tony is the Owner of Reforged Performance Nutrition. He is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and has been in the fitness space for over a decade. His goal is to help bridge the gap between physical & mental health through fitness.



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