People usually follow a restricted diet in Ramadan with the intention to lose weight quickly. But is this method really healthy?
Zainah Al-Ghamdi, a senior clinical dietitian from Johns Hopkins Aramco healthcare, answers some common questions:
The process of losing weight
“With the change that happens to our eating habits during the holy month, many people lose weight in a fast way within the first days. The reason for this is that with fasting, the body starts losing water first, and then begins to lose the fat and muscles. But what we should focus in this process is how can we maintain what we lost?
“Our aim always should be to lose the fat, and not the muscles, and to avoid catabolism (which is when you break down both fat and muscle). You shouldn’t follow restricted diets such as keto and detox diet, focusing on only fluids. From a dietitian point of view, these are highly not recommended in Ramadan.
“We are fasting most of the day, therefore when it comes to iftar it is very important to focus on what do you eat. The best method here is to have a balanced diet that includes the recommended amount of vegetables, carbs, and protein, as well as having a good amount of fluid. It is also recommend to exercise 3 times per week.
“One of the things that people do is to skip suhoor by eating one big iftar. They think by doing that, they will lose weight, but actually this will affect your energy during the day which will cause you to lose muscles not fat, and this is not an effective or healthy way for your body. You must avoid that method, while also avoiding the food that is fried, salty, or full of fat and sugar.
“Remember any type of weight loss plan that does not focus on the fat will be just a temporary number in your scale without any lasting effect. You need to have a balanced diet so you can achieve your goal in a long term.”