Remaining healthy and fit when fasting

Dr. dr. Fiastuti Witjaksono, Sp.GK, MSc., MS
Dr. dr. Fiastuti Witjaksono, Sp.GK, MSc., MS. (Priv. Doc.)

Jakarta, IO – Multiple examples of research have confirmed that proper and consistent fasting has various health benefits. One of these is that it repairs and regenerates the digestive tract. University of Indonesia Faculty of Medicine/Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital Jakarta’s clinical nutrition specialist Dr. dr. Fiastuti Witjaksono, Sp.GK, MSc., MS, reported in the “Healthy and Fit Fasting” exposition held on Thursday (31/03/2022) that when you fast for 14 hours, the body’s food reserves, specifically glucose, glycogen, fats, and proteins will be consumed. Fasting also allows the digestive tract to rest. 

“When you’re not fasting, you will usually eat three large meals a day, have snacks several times, or even be nibbling continuously while you’re awake. Fasting allows the digestive tract to rest and to improve its regeneration, reducing its workload. It also helps with losing weight: the average weight loss after one month’s fasting is 0.88 kg to 1.6 kg. However, we need to be alert: if we’re not consistent with our eating patterns, our weight will bounce back up 0.32 kg to 1.13 kg just within two weeks after Ramadan,” dr. Fiastuti said. 

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Fasting is also effective in maintaining the levels of blood glucose and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, while increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. “Furthermore, research shows that Ramadan fasting lowers systolic blood pressure in hypertension patients by 6%-10%, and lowers diastolic pressure by 3.8%-10%. However, fasting has multiple challenges, including hunger, thirst, malaise, lowered strength, less stamina and constipation. This usually spurs people to break their fast with high-sugar, high-fat foods, which will increase their risk of catching non-communicable diseases.”