Ramadan Fasting Dietary Patterns and Gastrointestinal Discomforts

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine, Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences, Shahrekord, Iran

2 Department of Social Medicine, Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences, Shahrekord, Iran

3 Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences, Shahrekord, Iran


Introduction: Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, has special religious importance among Muslims. During this month, Muslim adults and adolescents (who have reached the age of adulthood according to the Islamic rules) fast. Gastrointestinal (GI) disorders present with symptoms generally called GI discomforts such as heartburn, abdominal pain, dyspepsia, constipation, bloating, and irritable bowel syndrome. This study aimed to assess the effects of Ramadan fasting on GI discomfort. Methods: One hundred fasting subjects were enrolled in the study. Personal information (age, gender, education level, and occupation) was collected from participants and they were assured that their information would remain confidential. Participants had to fill out a food questionnaire before and in the third week of Ramadan. Food patterns were identified by factor analysis. The relationship between dietary food patterns and GI symptoms was assessed by logistic regression analysis. Result: The results of logistic regression analyses of the association between dietary patterns and the development of GI discomforts in Ramadan represented that adherence to high fat and protein dietary patterns significantly reduced dyspepsia and diarrhea (p <0.05) while adherence to relatively healthy dietary pattern caused a marginally significant reduction in constipation (p <0.1). Conclusion: This study showed that total energy intake during Ramadan fasting did not differ compared to before the month while the dietary patterns changed significantly. The full-fat diet reduced hunger pain and constipation but increased diarrhea while a healthy diet reduced dyspepsia and diarrhea during fasting.


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