Effect of ramadan fasting on weight and body composition in healthy non-athlete adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Hamish A. Fernando, Jessica Zibellini, Rebecca A. Harris, Radhika V. Seimon, Amanda Sainsbury

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

126 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Ramadan involves one month of fasting from sunrise to sunset. In this meta-analysis, we aimed to determine the effect of Ramadan fasting on weight and body composition. Methods: In May 2018, we searched six databases for publications that measured weight and body composition before and after Ramadan, and that did not attempt to influence physical activity or diet. Results: Data were collected from 70 publications (90 comparison groups, 2947 participants). There was a significant positive correlation between starting body mass index and weight lost during the fasting period. Consistently, there was a significant reduction in fat percentage between pre-Ramadan and post-Ramadan in people with overweight or obesity (-1.46 (95% confidence interval: -2.57 to -0.35) %, p = 0.010), but not in those of normal weight (-0.41 (-1.45 to 0.63) %, p = 0.436). Loss of fat-free mass was also significant between pre-Ramadan and post-Ramadan, but was about 30% less than loss of absolute fat mass. At 2-5 weeks after the end of Ramadan, there was a return towards, or to, pre-Ramadan measurements in weight and body composition. Conclusions: Even with no advice on lifestyle changes, there are consistent-albeit transient-reductions in weight and fat mass with the Ramadan fast, especially in people with overweight or obesity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number478
JournalNutrients
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes

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