Ramadan And Dieting
Dieting has for a long time been used as a term for skipping meals or eating fewer calories than expected, largely to remain healthy or attain a certain weight.
This, however, defeats the purpose of dieting. Dieting is ensuring that an adequate amount of nutrients which comprises all the classes of food, is eaten three times per day, not eaten less but ensuring that you eat all that is needed by the body to carry out its functions per time. During dieting, every nutrient (macro and micro) is supposed to be accounted for.
Ramadan is a period of spiritual/religious exercise which includes fasting, where food consumption is limited for a period of time.
One thing a lot of people notice around this period is weight loss amongst other things. This births an idea that restricting or limiting food intake by skipping at least one meal is acceptable and the most effective way to attain a healthy weight and eating habit. This assumption or belief is false.
One thing we should note at this time is that for weight loss to occur, the amount of work carried out per day has to exceed the amount of calories consumed, bearing in mind that the body needs an amount of nutrients to function properly per time and per day.
During the fasting period, people eat a lot healthier than before the fasting period, so that there is less consumption of meals that provide empty calories and a higher intake of foods that supply the nutrients needed.
For instance, there is an increase in fruit consumption, especially as it is taken to break the fast. Fruits are dense in micro-nutrients such as Vitamin C, which is not stored or made by the body but is daily needed and is not found in significant amounts in food like rice or beans.
There is also an increase in vegetable consumption, which is fibre dense. Fibre aids bowel movement reduces the likelihood of constipation and is one of the things that helps in controlling or managing certain conditions such as diabetes, deranged cholesterol levels, and weight management.
Largely, a lot of people eat less and when compared to their daily activity, the calories burnt are more than calories supplied, and that results in weight loss but should not be welcome as an effective way to lose or manage weight.
Excessive fasting periods can result in a person eating a lot more than needed, especially in cases where the body tries to compensate for times past or even in a condition known as ketoacidosis.
To adequately access how authentic and adequate a particular diet or eating habit is you should ask yourself these questions before commencing;
• Is it prescribed by a registered and licensed dietitian?
• Has my condition and preferences been put into consideration?
• Is the diet sustainable?
• Does this diet include things I like?
• Does this diet include things I have readily available?
• Can I continue with this diet for life?
• Are the meal times and portions comfortable for me?
• How do I feel 3 days after commencing this diet (dizzy, excessively tired, etc)?
Fasting is a great spiritual exercise but should not be seen as a way to go as it pertains to dieting. Eating habits such as drinking less carbonated drinks, consuming at least 2 fruit portions per day, and having vegetables with every meal amongst other things, should be imbibed even after fasting while also paying attention to the amount of food being consumed per time and per day. However, skipping meals is not encouraged as a means of attaining and remaining healthy.