Effect of Ramadan fasting on metabolic markers, body composition, and dietary intake in Emiratis of Ajman (UAE) with metabolic syndrome

Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2011:4:409-16. doi: 10.2147/DMSO.S24221. Epub 2011 Dec 15.


Background/aim: The aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of Ramadan fasting on metabolic markers, body composition and dietary intake in native Emiratis of Ajman, UAE with the metabolic syndrome (MS).

Design: 19 patients (14 Female, 5 Male) aged 37.1 ± 12.5 years, were encouraged healthy lifestyle changes during fasting and data was collected 1 week before and in the fourth week of Ramadan.

Results: No patients experienced complications or increased symptoms of hypoglycemia during Ramadan. Total energy consumption remained similar. Meal frequency decreased (3.2 ± 0.5 vs 2.1 ± 0.4 meals/day). Protein intake decreased 12% (P = 0.04) but fat intake increased 23% (P = 0.03). Body weight (103.9 ± 29.8 vs 102.1 ± 29.0 kg, P = 0.001) and waist circumference (123 ± 14 vs 119 ± 17 cm, P = 0.001) decreased. Forty percent of patients increased their physical activity due to increased praying hours. Fasting P-glucose (6.3 ± 1.7 vs 6.8 ± 2.0 mmol/L, P = 0.024) and B-HbA(1c) concentrations 6.3 ± 0.9 vs 6.5% ± 0.9%, P = 0.003) increased but P-insulin concentration, HOMA-IR index and lipid concentrations remained unchanged.

Conclusion: The present study investigated the effect of Ramadan fasting on dietary intake, metabolic parameters and body composition showing that the energy consumption per day did not decrease, although the fat intake increased. However, the patients lost weight and reduced their waist circumference. Ramadan fasting has also elicited small but significant increases in Glucose and HbA(1c) after 4 weeks.

Keywords: Ajman; Ramadan; body composition; fasting; metabolic syndrome; obesity; type 2 diabetes.