Background: Ramadan fasting is associated with some lifestyle changes. A lack of nutritional needs knowledge or the improper performance of fasting, particularly in relation to time, type and amount of food intake, can cause disorders such as indigestion, bloating, constipation, headaches and other clinical problems.
Objectives: To investigate the general knowledge regarding dietary factors associated with Ramadan fasting and its related complications.
Patients and methods: This prospective, non-interventional, observational study was conducted from April to July, 2012 to coincide with the month before and the month of Ramadan. The initial participants were 600 fasting and 588 non-fasting people (aged 18 - 65 years, BMI 18.5 - 40 kg/m2) chosen by random cluster sampling in Tehran, Iran. A questionnaire of Ramadan fasting nutritional knowledge was developed and validated in a pilot study. The Likert scale was used two weeks before Ramadan and during the third and fourth weeks of Ramadan to estimate Ramadan-related complications. Seven-day, 24 - hour food recalls were used to assess food intakes.
Results: The lowest level of general knowledge was identified in the context of foods associated with hunger (22.1%) and hypoglycemia (24.8%) and the highest level of general knowledge was identified in reference to unsuitable foods for Sahar (91.4%). During Ramadan, all attributed complications increased in fasting subjects (P < 0.001). High calorie, carbohydrate, fat and protein intakes in the Ramadan diet were associated with some gastrointestinal and sleep complications (P < 0.05).
Conclusions: Despite the relatively high level of knowledge in the context of the general principles of a diet to prevent Ramadan-related complications, practical training in regard to the amounts of nutrients
associated with Ramadan-related complications is both necessary and recommended.
Zhaleh Shadman 1, Mahdieh Akhoundan 2, Nooshin Poorsoltan 2, Mohsen Khoshniat Nikoo 2, Bagher Larijani 1, Camelia Akhgar Zhand 1, Mozhdeh Soleymanzadeh 1, Zahra Alsadat Seyed Rohani 1, Zahra Jamshidi 1