Some Muslims experience health issues from long-term fasting

Recommended by Alicia Purdy

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, Aug. 6 2012 3:00 p.m. MDT

An Afghan man waits for customer during the holy month of Ramadan in the city of Jalalabad east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, July 26, 2012. During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food and drink during the daylight hours, breaking their fast after sunset and although it is a time of deprivation, Muslims consider Ramadan to be a joyful season.

Rahmat Gul, Associated Press

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Our take: The Muslim holy month of Ramadan is a time of fasting from dawn until dusk from all water and food. When the sun goes down, Muslims are then allowed to eat and drink without restriction. However, medical professionals have expressed concerns about a cycle of fasting and then potentially overeating when the fast is broken. Dietician and Muslim observant Nour Zibdeh explains why some Muslims gain weight during the fast and how to avoid health issues that arise for some adherents.

Muslims across the world are fasting from dawn to dusk for the holy month of Ramadan. Weight gain and health problems related to overeating have been reported during the month, and medical professionals are warning against eating too much to break the fast. Host Michel Martin speaks to dietician Nour Zibdeh about the best ways to eat during Ramadan.


Now we want to take a different look at the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. As you might imagine, health issues arise for just about anybody who is not drinking or eating from sunrise to sunset, whether you're a world-class athlete or not. Dehydration and indigestion are just two concerns, but you might be surprised to hear that Ramadan is also a month when people can end up eating too much, even wind up in the hospital.

We wanted to talk more about the best ways to eat during the month, so we've called upon Nour Zibdeh. She is a practicing Muslim and a registered dietician. She owns her own practice called Nourition in Northern Virginia, but she joins us on the line from Amman, Jordan, where she's visiting friends and family.

Nour Zibdeh, welcome to the program, and Ramadan Mubarak to you.

Read more about how Ramadam fasting may cause health issues on NPR.

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