Author Liton Ali on how to fuel your body during Ramadan
Ramadan is — by design — a big challenge to daily life. But in today’s world, where most people continue their hectic work life throughout the holy month, and then refuel at night with energy-dense foods, the challenge is even more significant. Balancing work, late eating and sleep can be very disruptive to our physiology, and despite what people assume about fasting, people often gain weight, not lose it. One academic study in Nutrition Journal found that 59.5% gain weight overall.
Liton Ali, author of Fast Food 30 and the forthcoming Super Shrink Me, has used wearable tech and the latest science on blood glucose to lose 25kg in the last 10 months, even spending an entire month eating only fast food. He has created a ten-point “Ramadan revolution” plan to use data-driven eating to make it a month of feeling healthier and more energetic than you’d expect. The key is to focus not just on food, but activity and sleep too.
Start your fast with nutrient-dense foods - indirect sources of energy keep your energy levels up for longer.
Don’t try and fill a fuel tank - You don’t have one but can use your bodily fat for energy.
Low-intensity activity after suhoor (before dawn) and iftar - evidence shows that 10-20 minutes of movement after eating helps balance your blood sugar and energy.
Keep an eye on your portions - ****Don’t gorge, and give your brain time to catch up with your stomach.
Reduce carbohydrates at iftar - after a fast, your body absorbs sugar quickly and you end up with too much in your system.
Get better sleep - although your routine is disrupted, sleeping well will help your body recover.
Hydrate - get the right amount of water into your body and try dioralyte to replenish electrolytes.
Avoid processed foods - convenient foods are more tempting than ever, but they’re easily absorbed.
Don’t drink caffeine at iftar - coffee interferes with sleep and helps to dehydrate you.
Build a routine - 30 days of being out of whack is an opportunity to make a change for the better.