Intermittent fasting 101: What is it and can it work beyond Ramadan?

With the end of the Holy Month almost upon us, many of those who fast during Ramadan have no plans to give it up just yet. (Shutterstock)
Updated 13 June 2018
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Intermittent fasting 101: What is it and can it work beyond Ramadan?

  • The worldwide trend of intermittent fasting has made headlines in recent months, but what is it?
  • Intermittent fasting (or IF) is an increasingly popular diet technique

JEDDAH: With the end of the Holy Month almost upon us, many of those who fast during Ramadan have no plans to give it up just yet. The worldwide trend of intermittent fasting has made headlines in recent months — you will have heard of this latest diet craze, but what is it?

Intermittent fasting (or IF) is an increasingly popular diet technique, but as with any dietary change, it is advisable to consult with your doctor if you wish to give it a go — especially if you have pre-existing health issues.

The day is divided between an eating period and a fasting period — just like Ramadan — although, unlike Ramadan, small snacks and water are allowed during the day.

How do I practice intermittent fasting?

The easiest method is the 16:8 ratio technique. It means skipping breakfast, fasting for 16 hours and limiting the eating period to eight hours.

What should I eat?

During the fasting period, you can eat very small quantities (think nuts or fruits) and drink water. During the eating period, the best way is to have two good-sized, healthy and balanced meals and a snack in-between.

Pros of intermittent fasting

IF teaches you what hunger actually is, therefore, you only eat when you are hungry — at least that’s the idea. Moreover, you should eat less because of the shorter eating period, the metabolism is boosted and the body burns more calories and more fat. Additionally, with IF, there is less muscle loss than other weight loss techniques.

Cons of intermittent fasting

Because of the long fasting period, your energy levels might decrease and you might become angry, unproductive and hungry, leading you to binge eat when the time comes. This causes an excess in your caloric intake and problems in digestion.

Can I work out?

Working out after a light meal or on an empty stomach will help you burn fat, however, if you have not eaten any carbs during the eating period, you will lose muscle mass because your body will start burning proteins, so make sure to eat balanced meals.


US issues health alert on romaine lettuce

In this file photo taken on May 2, 2018, Romaine lettuce is displayed at a grocery store in San Anselmo, California. (AFP)
Updated 21 November 2018
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US issues health alert on romaine lettuce

  • Health officials in Canada said they had also identified 18 people stricken with the same strain of food poisoning in two provinces, Ontario and Quebec

WASHINGTON: US health officials warned consumers Tuesday not to eat any romaine lettuce and to throw away any they might have in their homes, citing an outbreak of E. coli poisoning.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued the warning against all Romaine lettuce just two days before the Thanksgiving holiday, when American families gather and feast together.
“Consumers who have any type of romaine lettuce in their home should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick,” the CDC said, after 32 people were reported sick from E. coli poisoning in 11 states, with 13 of them hospitalized. One of those had suffered kidney failure.
Health officials in Canada said they had also identified 18 people stricken with the same strain of food poisoning in two provinces, Ontario and Quebec.
“This advice includes all types or uses of romaine lettuce, such as whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine, and bags and boxes of precut lettuce and salad mixes that contain romaine, including baby romaine, spring mix, and Caesar salad,” the CDC said, noting that it had not been able to pinpoint precisely where the suspect leaves had originated.
“If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine or whether a salad mix contains romaine, do not eat it and throw it away,” the CDC said.
It advised anyone who had stored romaine lettuce in their refrigerator to wash down the shelves where the leaves had been kept.
No deaths have so far been reported.