Whether you’re doing intermittent fasting for weight loss, to manage blood sugar, autophagy, or any other reasons, you inevitably reach a point where plain water, coffee, and tea all start feeling boring. At that point, diet sodas start looking like an interesting alternative. After all, they’re sugar-free, so they should be harmless. Will Zevia break a fast?
Zevia is a diet soda containing stevia, carbonated water, and some natural flavors. Stevia is a safe natural sweetener that does not cause an insulin response. In other words, Zevia shouldn’t break a fast. There are two things to keep in mind. Firstly, zero-calorie foods and beverages can sometimes increase appetite, so they may not be the best for intermittent fasting. Secondly, there is little research regarding the natural flavors in Zevia, so we can’t say for sure they won’t affect blood sugar.
Let’s take a closer look at this diet soda and its effects on intermittent fasting,
What is Zevia?
Zevia is a diet soda. It contains stevia leaf extract, carbonated water, citric acid, and natural flavors. It is marketed as safe for diabetics, so its impact on blood sugar should be minimal. The producers also claim there are no artificial ingredients in their drink.
Zevia is also gluten-free, kosher, plant-based, so it is perfect for most types of diets. From the stevia, Zevia uses the compound rebaudioside A because it has less of a bitter aftertaste. Stevioside, the other compound found in stevia is healthier, but it doesn’t taste as good, so it isn’t used very often.
You can buy Zevia on Amazon here.
Will Zevia break a fast?
If your type of fast is purely based on the effect the food and beverage have on your body, then Zevia is most likely ok. Since it is sweetened with stevia, it shouldn’t cause an insulin response. There is, however, one unknown factor: the natural flavors. Sadly, we don’t know anything about what these flavors are and how they impact the body. Per FDA, it isn’t mandatory to list any details regarding natural flavors.
We do know Zevia is supposedly safe for diabetic people. But that doesn’t automatically mean it has no impact on blood sugar. But no matter what effect it has, it won’t be enough to negatively impact a diabetic person.
Most people aren’t negatively impacted by drinks containing natural flavors, and the general consensus seems to be Zevia won’t break intermittent fasting, especially if your goal is fat loss.
Stevia is not absorbed in the GI tract, so it doesn’t break your fast if your goal is gut rest. With Zevia though, we have yet again the same issues – the natural flavors. Can they stimulate the GI tract? Sadly there are no studies that can give a definitive answer. If you need to rest your gut for medical reasons, talk to a doctor about Zevia before having it. Otherwise, if you’re only doing it for health but not due to an existing medical condition, you’ll need to decide on your own whether you want to risk breaking the fast. While the risk is minimal, it does exist.
Some religious fasts do not allow these types of drinks, even though they are calorie-free.
Does Zevia spike insulin?
Since it is sweetened with stevia, Zevia shouldn’t spike insulin. As previously explained, stevia is considered safe for people with diabetes, so if insulin management is your concern, Zevia should be safe for you.
How does Zevia impact fasting?
Benefits of Zevia during a fast
With all the concerns surrounding the ingredients, does Zevia have any benefits if you decide to drink it during your fast? It does!
Due to its sweet taste, it can be pretty good at curbing your sweet tooth and even your appetite. This benefit can quickly turn into a side effect, as you’ll see in the next section, but if you time your drink right, it can make your fast easier. For instance, if you’re nearing your eating window and start feeling hungry and craving all sorts of foods, Zevia can help curb that appetite. Drink it slowly and you’ll find yourself starting your eating window in no-time.
There are studies showing that stevia can help improve insulin sensitivity and glycemic control. Another study shows that stevia can reduce blood glucose response by 18% in patients with type 2 diabetes who eat a standard high-carb meal. While you may not be eating such meals immediately following the fast window, the studies prove stevia can be beneficial both during and after your fast.
Side effects of Zevia during a fast
The first side effect is one that all zero-calorie beverages and foods have: they can increase appetite. After that short moment when your cravings are curbed because you’re having something sweet, the opposite effect can take place. That’s because when you’re eating sweets, your body expects carbs, in other words, energy. Zevia contains zero calories, so you aren’t getting any of that. Initially, your cravings will subside as your brain reacts to the sweet taste. Even your hunger might lessen, because you are drinking something, and let’s not forget, dehydration can be mistaken for hunger. However, after a while, your body will realize it received none of the expected energy and your appetite will increase a lot.
Some studies also show stevia in general may have a negative impact on your GI tract. While it won’t break a fast for gut rest, it may disrupt gut flora. A 2019 study linked stevia and other non-nutritive sweeteners to a disruption in the intestinal flora. In other words, consuming a lot of stevia can come with digestive issues including nausea, diarrhea, bloating, or constipation.
The bottom line
Will Zevia break a fast? Probably not. Stevia, the sweetener contained by Zevia is safe and will not break a fast, whether you’re fasting for weight loss, gut rest, or autophagy. The only question is posed by the ‘natural flavors’. While they are technically safe, there are no studies to attest they will not cause an insulin response or that they won’t stimulate the digestive tract. If you want to have a bit of Zevia, have it in moderation. Don’t drink more than a serving during your fast, and preferably do not make it a daily staple, to avoid other potential side effects.
You can buy Zevia on Amazon here.
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