Introduction: Muslims abstain from food and fluid between the hours of sunrise to sunset, and usually eat a large meal after sunset and a lighter meal before sunrise. The purpose of this study was to assess body composition, nutrient intake and physical activity patterns during Ramadan fasting.
Methods: This study was carried out during Ramadan in October 2004. A total of 57 female subjects were recruited from The Hashemite University in Jordan. Body weight, fat percentage, muscle mass, and percentage body water content were measured, and body mass index (BMI) was calculated. Estimated food records over a duration of three days were used to assess the intake of energy, carbohydrates, protein, fat, and sugars before and during Ramadan fasting. Physical activity patterns were determined from a three-day activity diary before and during Ramadan fasting; the amount of physical activity was expressed as the physical activity level.
Results: Body weight and BMI decreased significantly during Ramadan fasting. The mean energy and nutrients intake before Ramadan (energy; percent carbohydrates:protein:fat was 1,252; 56:12:33) and during Ramadan (1,171; 56:13:34) were not significantly different. The mean physical activity level was 1.54 before Ramadan and 1.51 during Ramadan, and this was also not significantly different.
Conclusion: This study revealed that there was a significant weight loss during Ramadan. Estimates of energy, carbohydrates, protein, fat and sugar did not change, despite the reduction in the number of meals taken. The overall activity patterns remained similar.