Intermittent Fasting During the Month of Ramadan

Muslims practice intermittent fasting during the month of Ramadan. And interestingly the practice has spread across the world in recent years due to the belief that intermittent fasting improves our health – benefits are said to include fat loss, increased metabolic rate, lower blood sugar levels and a boost in the immune system. Practicing brief periods of fasting with either no food or significant calorie reduction, and periods of unrestricted eating, has helped many people achieve their goal of weight loss.
The advantage is that many people find it to be a more flexible approach, that does not require calorie counting and less meal planning is required.  You can, for example, opt for time-restricted eating where you fast between 7pm-11am daily. Or modified fasting regimes (eg the 5:2 diet)  allow you to eat 500 calories (20-25 per cent of energy needs) for two non-consecutive days, then you eat normally for the other 5 days.

In Ramadan, people are advised to break their fast with one or two glasses of water, some natural foods like a few dates or fruit, and soup to provide hydration. The Iftar meal usually contains a source of complex carbohydrates, (brown rice, wholegrain pasta, bread, potatoes) which provide a more stable and sustainable source of energy. It is a good idea to include two servings of veg per meal during fasting days.

You can also incorporate lean protein (fish, skinless chicken or turkey, low-fat dairy) as part of your Iftar meal. If you’re a vegetarian, go for other protein sources such as legumes, beans and nuts. Don’t bolt your food. After going without eating for an entire day, it may lead to indigestion. So have a light Iftar that includes sensible portions, and avoid foods high in fat, salt and sugar.