So you are here because you unintentionally chewed gum while on fast or perhaps you want to take one but are not sure if it will break your fast. You are in the right place! In this blog post, we will be discussing, “does a chewing gum break a fast?”
Catechism on Fasting
These are the major events that require us faithful to fast. The first is on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday of lent. Another one is before receiving the Eucharist.
1251 “Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.”
919 “One who is to receive the Most Holy Eucharist is to abstain from any food or drink, with the exception only of water and medicine, for at least the period of one hour before Holy Communion.”
Food to avoid
Now, let’s talk about the food to avoid. The Catechism only mentioned meat and any other food suggested by the Episcopal Conference. Pork, chicken, and beef meats are some of the examples of food to avoid. That said, there is no complete detailed list of what foods are allowed and what are not. And this is why there is confusion on whether gums should be avoided. Is chewing gum considered food?
According to USA FDA, chewing gum is a food. It contains ingredients that make it food. So, regardless if it is sugar-free or not, it is considered food.
That said, how will it affect fasting?
For the fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, chewing a gum might not break the fast because the rule is to eat one full meal, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal. So chewing a gum might be immaterial in breaking the fast.
On the other hand, in Eucharistic Fasting, it might matter. Note that the Catechism is clear here. We need to abstain from food and drink except water and medicine. Only water and medicine are allowed which makes a gum whether you chew it or swallow it, break the fast.
Additionally, according to Fr. JM, a Redemptorist Priest, chewing a gum while on a fast is impolite. Therefore, must be avoided.
Fasting is a powerful tradition. As Catholics, we want to do it in the proper way possible. Getting rid of gums could be a good start.
May you have a fruitful fast!