Guide for Intermittent & Ramadan Fasting: Benefits & Risk

May 27, 2019



Current trend: Intermittent Fasting

Current in trend is intermittent fasting, which involves fasting for certain hours of the day

or scheduling your meals.



It doesn’t change what you eat but rather, changes when you eat.

Intermittent fasting works by limiting calories during specified hours during the day, which in turn decreasing appetite by slowing the body’s metabolism.


What are the ways to do intermittent diet?

According to the popular Leangains protocol, you fast 16 hours and eat during the 8-hour window. People typically fast throughout the night and skip breakfast in the morning, eating whatever they like from say 12pm to 8pm.


Another popular diet is called 5:2 diet, also known as The Fast Diet. 5:2 refers to five days of the week without eating restrictions, and two other days restrict to 500-600 per day.


Can I drink coffee while fasting?

It’s hard not to reach out your morning coffee when you’re still in your “fasting period”. Black coffee is totally fine – it actually helps to rev up your metabolism.


Coffee with a splash of milk is also acceptable – as long as it’s not a double mocha cappuccino with lots of sprinkles and whipped cream.


Can intermittent fasting help to lose weight and belly fat?

It is said that this regime can help shed pounds faster than other diets. It boosts your metabolic rate which helps to burn more calories (increases calories out) and reduces the amount of food you eat (reduces calories in) which in turn, facilitate weight loss.


There are also plenty of health benefits with intermittent fasting. It is found to help fight inflammation, lower insulin levels, and heart disease risks. It also help to increase growth hormone levels and induce important cellular repair processes.




Ramadan – fasting month for Muslims


The holy month of Ramadan is the month when many Muslim across the world fast during daylight hours. Those who take part in Ramadan do not eat or drink anything during daylight hours for 29-30 days. Meals are taken typically before dawn (the ‘suhoor’) and after sunset (the ‘iftar’). The end of Ramadan is the festival of breaking of the fast with a special celebratory meal.


How to fast healthily for Ramadan?

Many are curious, is Ramadan fasting good for health? During fasting hours when no food or drink is consumed, most people will experience mild dehydration which can lead to headaches, tiredness, and difficulty concentrating.


However, it is not harmful to health as long as enough fluids are consumed after breaking the fast to replace those lost during the day. The body will rehydrate and regain energy from the foods and drinks consumed. It is suggested to start with plenty of low-fat, fluid-rich foods such as fruit, vegetables and stews – and don’t forget to eat slowly!


Avoid over-eating when breaking fast

Meals after sunset also known as ‘Iftar meals’, are often a time when families and friends come together to break their fasts and celebrate. It is important not to go overboard when eating. Food that is deep fried, creamy, salty, and sweet may actually cause you to gain weight during Ramadan.


Side effects of intermittent fasting?

Apart from the risk of over-eating and being dehydrated, one of the worst side effects of dieting, is that the body tends to burn muscle as well as fat.




Alternative therapies for weight loss


If you’re doing intermittent fasting to lose weight but restricting food intake is not your thing?


There’re many alternative therapies that aid weight loss and reduce fat percentage without surgeries and downtime. You may check out more info on this page.







Heilbronn, L. K., Smith, S. R., Martin, C. K., Anton, S. D., & Ravussin, E. (2005). Alternate-day fasting in nonobese subjects: effects on body weight, body composition, and energy metabolism. The American journal of clinical nutrition81(1), 69-73.

Ho, K. Y., Veldhuis, J. D., Johnson, M. L., Furlanetto, R., Evans, W. S., Alberti, K. G., & Thorner, M. O. (1988). Fasting enhances growth hormone secretion and amplifies the complex rhythms of growth hormone secretion in man. The Journal of clinical investigation81(4), 968-975.

Alirezaei, M., Kemball, C. C., Flynn, C. T., Wood, M. R., Whitton, J. L., & Kiosses, W. B. (2010). Short-term fasting induces profound neuronal autophagy. Autophagy6(6), 702-710.

Mansell, P. I., Fellows, I. W., & Macdonald, I. A. (1990). Enhanced thermogenic response to epinephrine after 48-h starvation in humans. American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology258(1), R87-R93.

Tikoo, K., Tripathi, D. N., Kabra, D. G., Sharma, V., & Gaikwad, A. B. (2007). Intermittent fasting prevents the progression of type I diabetic nephropathy in rats and changes the expression of Sir2 and p53. FEBS letters581(5), 1071-1078.

Barnosky, A. R., Hoddy, K. K., Unterman, T. G., & Varady, K. A. (2014). Intermittent fasting vs daily calorie restriction for type 2 diabetes prevention: a review of human findings. Translational Research164(4), 302-311.

Lee, J., Duan, W., Long, J. M., Ingram, D. K., & Mattson, M. P. (2000). Dietary restriction increases the number of newly generated neural cells, and induces BDNF expression, in the dentate gyrus of rats. Journal of Molecular Neuroscience15(2), 99-108.

Kim, I., & Lemasters, J. J. (2010). Mitochondrial degradation by autophagy (mitophagy) in GFP-LC3 transgenic hepatocytes during nutrient deprivation. American Journal of Physiology-Cell Physiology300(2), C308-C317.

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