Ramadan: what happens to your body when you fast up to 20 hours for 30 days in a row?

Ramadan: what happens to your body when you fast up to 20 hours for 30 days in a row?


The fasting of Ramadan consists of not drinking or eating during daylight hours.

Each year, millions of Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset for 30 days as part of the Ramadan holiday.

In recent years, Ramadan has been celebrated coinciding with the summer months in the northern hemisphere, when the days are longer and the climate warmer.

This means that some countries, like Norway, people will fast up to 20 hours each day this year.

Is this good for your health?

At Rava we tell you what happens to your body when you fast for 30 days.


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Image caption During fasting, the body first uses the blood sugar stored in the liver for energy.

Start: days 1 to 3

The most difficult part are the first days

Technically, the body does not enter a “fasting state” until eight hours after its last meal.

This occurs when the digestive system finishes absorbing nutrients from food.

Soon after, the body turns to glucose stored in the liver and muscles to provide energy.

Once the glucose reserves are depleted, the next source of energy for the body is fat.

A hungry man
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Image caption The first days of Ramadan or fasting tend to be the most difficult, since the body has to adapt to going hungry for long hours.

When the body starts to burn fat, this helps to lose weight, reduces cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of diabetes.

However, the drop in blood sugar level causes weakness and lethargy.

It is possible for a person to fast to experience headaches, dizziness, nausea and even bad breath.

It is the moment of most hunger.

Beware of dehydration: days 3 to 7

As your body begins to get used to fasting, fats break down and become sugar in the blood.

The reduced intake of fluids during fasting should be restored during the night, otherwise, sweating can cause dehydration.

Man drinking water
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Image caption Drinking water is essential during fasting, especially during the summer months.

Meals should contain adequate levels of ‘energy foods’, such as carbohydrates and some fat.

It is important to have a balanced diet of nutrients, including some proteins, salts and water.

The body gets used: days 8 to 15

In the third stage, the fasting person will see how his mood improves as your body fully adapts to fasting.

Dr. Razeen Mahroof, a consultant in anesthesia and intensive care medicine at the Addenbrooke Hospital in Cambridge, says there are also other advantages.

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Image caption Eating too many calories can slow down the processes by which the body repairs itself and fights infections.

“In normal daily life, we often eat too many calories, and this can prevent the body from properly performing other tasks, such as repairing itself .”

“This is corrected during fasting because it allows the body to divert attention to other functions.

So fasting can benefit the body by facilitating healing and also preventing and fighting infections. “

Detoxification: days from 16 to 30

During the last half of Ramadan, the body will have fully adapted to the fasting process.

The colon, liver, kidney and skin will go through a period of detoxification at this point

Food served in a mosque
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Image caption Many families break the fast at night with a big banquet.

“With regard to health, at this stage, the function of the different organs should return to their maximum capacity, memory and concentration could improve and could have more energy,” says the doctor.

“The body does not turn to protein for energy, this is when it goes into ‘starvation’ mode and uses the muscle to get it in. This happens with a prolonged fast of many days to weeks.”

“Since the Ramadan fast only takes place from dawn to dusk, there are plenty of opportunities to recharge with food and liquids that provide energy, which preserves muscles but also helps with weight loss.”

So, fast is good for our health?

Dr. Mahroof says yes, but with one condition.

“Fasting is good for our health because it helps us focus on what and when we eat, but although a one-month fasting period may be good, it is not advisable to do it continuously.”

Family having dinner together
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Image caption Fasting during Ramadan allows you to replenish energy supplies every day, so that the body does not burn valuable muscle tissue.

“Continued fasting is not good for losing weight in the long term because, eventually, the body will stop converting fat into energy, and instead it will do so with muscles.” This is not healthy and results in the body entering in. starvation mode ‘”.

The doctor suggests that outside of Ramadan, the episodic fast , or the 5: 2 diet, that is, fasting for a couple of days a week between healthy eating days, would be a healthier alternative to fasting continued for many months at a time.

“The Ramadan fast, properly performed, should allow you to replenish your energy supplies every day, which may mean you lose weight without your body burning valuable muscle tissue .”

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Rava Desk

Rava is an online news portal providing recent news, editorials, opinions and advice on day to day happenings in Pakistan.


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