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The effects of Ramadan fasting on activity and energy expenditure

Lessan, N; Saadane, I; Alkaf, B; Hambly, C; Buckley, AJ; Finer, N; Speakman, JR; (2018) The effects of Ramadan fasting on activity and energy expenditure. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition , 107 (1) pp. 54-61. 10.1093/ajcn/nqx016. Green open access

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BACKGROUND: Fasting during the month of Ramadan entails abstinence from eating and drinking between dawn and sunset and a major shift in meal times and patterns with associated changes in several hormones and circadian rhythms; whether there are accompanying changes in energy metabolism is unclear. OBJECTIVE: We have investigated the impact of Ramadan fasting on resting metabolic rate (RMR), activity, and total energy expenditure (TEE). DESIGN: Healthy nonobese volunteers (n = 29; 16 women) fasting during Ramadan were recruited. RMR was measured with the use of indirect calorimetry. In subgroups of participants, activity (n = 11; 5 women) and TEE (n = 10; 5 women) in free-living conditions were measured with the use of accelerometers and the doubly labeled water technique, respectively. Body composition was measured with the use of bioelectrical impedance. Measurements were repeated after a wash-out period of between 1 and 2 mo after Ramadan. Nonparametric tests were used for comparative statistics. RESULTS: Ramadan fasting did not result in any change in RMR (mean ± SD: 1365.7 ± 230.2 compared with 1362.9 ± 273.6 kcal/d for Ramadan and post-Ramadan respectively, P = 0.713, n = 29). However, controlling for the effects of age, sex, and body weight, RMR was higher in the first week of Ramadan than in subsequent weeks. During Ramadan, the total number of steps walked were significantly lower (n = 11, P = 0.001), while overall sleeping time was reduced and different sleeping patterns were seen. TEE did not differ significantly between Ramadan and post-Ramadan (mean ± SD: 2224.1 ± 433.7 compared with 2121.0 ± 718.5 kcal/d for Ramadan and post-Ramadan, P = 0.7695, n = 10). CONCLUSIONS: Ramadan fasting is associated with reduced activity and sleeping time, but no significant change in RMR or TEE. Reported weight changes with Ramadan in other studies are more likely to be due to differences in food intake. This trial is registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT02696421.

Type: Article
Title: The effects of Ramadan fasting on activity and energy expenditure
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/ajcn/nqx016
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqx016
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Energy expenditure, resting metabolic rate, total energy expenditure, activity energy expenditure, Ramadan, fasting, Muslim, doubly labeled water, DLW
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10054899
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