Are ICE BREAKERS actually sugar free?

ICE BREAKERS is a popular brand of sugar-free gum that is marketed as a healthier alternative to regular gum. The slogan “Sugar Free, So You Can Enjoy Guilt Free” implies that ICE BREAKERS gum contains no sugar and is therefore a smart choice for consumers concerned about their sugar intake. However, some consumers have questioned whether ICE BREAKERS gum is actually as sugar-free as claimed. This article will closely examine the ingredients in ICE BREAKERS gum to determine if it lives up to its sugar-free promise.

Common Sugar Substitutes in Sugar-Free Gum

When formulating sugar-free gum, manufacturers replace the sugar (sucrose) typically found in regular gum with non-nutritive sweeteners, also known as sugar substitutes or artificial sweeteners. Here are some of the most frequently used sugar substitutes in sugar-free gums:

  • Aspartame – commonly sold under the brand names Equal and NutraSweet, aspartame provides sweetness without any calories or carbohydrates.
  • Acesulfame potassium (Ace-K) – a calorie-free sweetener that is often combined with aspartame in sugar-free foods and drinks.
  • Sorbitol – a sugar alcohol that is about 60% as sweet as sugar with about half the calories.
  • Xylitol – a sugar alcohol extracted from birch trees that has a similar sweetness as regular sugar.
  • Mannitol – a sugar alcohol with 50-70% of the sweetness of sucrose.

These non-nutritive sweeteners allow gum manufacturers to produce sugar-free or low-calorie gum options. However, even though they are not actual sugars, some of these sugar substitutes are still carbohydrates and can affect blood glucose levels, especially when consumed in excess.

Ingredients in ICE BREAKERS Gum

Now let’s take a detailed look at the ingredients contained in ICE BREAKERS Sugar Free Gum:

Ingredient Type
Sorbitol Sugar alcohol
Gum Base Non-nutritive
Mannitol Sugar alcohol
Aspartame Artificial sweetener
Acesulfame potassium Artificial sweetener
Natural and artificial flavors Flavorings
Soy Lecithin Emulsifier
BHT Preservative

Based on the ingredient list, it is clear that ICE BREAKERS gum does not contain any sucrose, glucose, or other sugars derived from beets, corn, or cane. The sweet flavors come instead from two different non-nutritive artificial sweeteners, aspartame and acesulfame potassium.

Several different sugar alcohols are also used, including sorbitol and mannitol. Sugar alcohols are low-calorie sweeteners that are included on the FDA’s list of approved sugar substitutes. They are often used in combination with artificial sweeteners to enhance the flavors in sugar-free foods.

So while ICE BREAKERS gum derives its sweetness from sugar substitutes rather than actual sugar, it does contain some sweeteners that could impact blood glucose response when consumed in large amounts.

Calories and Carbohydrates in ICE BREAKERS Gum

To better understand the sugars and carbohydrates contained in ICE BREAKERS gum, let’s compare the nutrition facts for regular vs. sugar-free varieties:

Nutrition Facts per serving ICE BREAKERS Regular ICE BREAKERS Sugar Free
Calories 10 5
Total Carbohydrates 3g 1g
Sugars 2g 0g

The regular ICE BREAKERS gum contains 10 calories and 3 grams of total carbohydrates, with 2 of those grams coming from sugar.

The sugar-free version has only 5 calories per serving and contains 1 gram of carbohydrates – but has no sugars. This nutrition information confirms that the sugar-free ICE BREAKERS gum does not contain any actual sugar or sucrose.

However, sugar alcohols like sorbitol and mannitol still contribute carbohydrates and calories, though at about half the amount as regular sugar. This explains why the sugar-free gum is not completely calorie or carb-free. Still, it contains far less sugar and fewer calories than the regular alternative.

Glycemic Index and Effects on Blood Sugar

The glycemic index (GI) measures how much specific foods affect blood glucose levels. Foods are ranked on a scale of 0 to 100 based on how rapidly and how much they raise blood sugar compared to pure glucose.

Here are the typical GI ratings for sweeteners found in ICE BREAKERS gum:

Sweetener GI Rating
Aspartame 0
Acesulfame Potassium 0
Sorbitol 9
Mannitol 0

The artificial sweeteners aspartame and acesulfame potassium have no effect on blood glucose levels and are given a GI rating of 0.

Sugar alcohols like sorbitol and mannitol have very minimal impacts on blood sugar due to their slow digestion and absorption. They are considered “safe” sugar substitutes for diabetics.

Therefore, while ICE BREAKERS gum is not completely free of carbohydrates due to the sugar alcohols, it has a negligible effect on blood glucose compared to regular sugar-sweetened gum. The non-nutritive sweeteners used allow ICE BREAKERS to live up to its sugar-free claim.

Potential Health Benefits

Some research indicates sugar-free gum may provide certain benefits:

  • Reduced risk of tooth decay – Chewing sugarless gum increases saliva flow, which helps wash away food particles and neutralize mouth acidity.
  • Fresher breath – The increased saliva production can reduce odors caused by germs in the mouth.
  • Lower calorie option – Substituting sugar-free gum can save calories compared to high-sugar varieties.
  • Helps manage weight – Chewing gum may help control snack cravings and increase satiety.
  • Curb cravings – The oral stimulation and flavors help address the desire for sweets.

However, frequent consumption of sorbitol and other sugar alcohols found in ICE BREAKERS can lead to undesirable gastrointestinal side effects like gas, bloating and diarrhea if consumed in excess. Those sensitive to FODMAP foods may experience such symptoms.

Overall, enjoying sugar-free gum like ICE BREAKERS in moderation can provide dental and oral health benefits without the calories and blood sugar spike of regular gum, but excessive intake should be avoided.

Is ICE BREAKERS Keto-Friendly?

The high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet restricts net carbs to 20-50 grams per day. Since ICE BREAKERS gum contains 1g of carbs and sugar alcohols per piece, enjoying it sparingly can fit into a keto lifestyle. However, be mindful of excess consumption. Small amounts of sugar alcohols from gum likely won’t kick you out of ketosis, but large intakes throughout the day might. Monitor your body’s response.

Cost Analysis

Let’s compare the cost of ICE BREAKERS to other popular sugar-free gum brands.

Sugar-Free Gum Ounces Price Price Per Ounce
ICE BREAKERS Frost 6.2 oz $1.19 $0.19
Trident 16 oz $2.99 $0.19
Orbit 12 oz $3.29 $0.27

ICE BREAKERS costs approximately $0.19 per ounce, which is inline with the per ounce pricing of other major sugar-free gum brands like Trident and Orbit. So ICE BREAKERS presents a competitively priced alternative to regular gum while still delivering the sugar-free promise.


ICE BREAKERS sugar-free gum contains no sugar, calories, or carbohydrates from sucrose. The sweetness instead comes from the artificial sweeteners aspartame and acesulfame potassium, along with sugar alcohols like sorbitol and mannitol. While not completely carbohydrate or calorie free, ICE BREAKERS has a minimal impact on blood glucose compared to regular gum. Chewed in moderation, it provides an oral health benefit and sugar-free alternative without spiking blood sugar. So while not 100% free of all sugars, ICE BREAKERS makes good on its promise of being an enjoyable guilt-free, sugar-free chewing gum.

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