Is long-term fasting beneficial or harmful?

With the arrival of Ramadan, the most asked questions are, How will we be fed? What does being hungry / thirsty for a long time cause in the body? Should athletes fast or not? There are questions like.

The issue of fasting with performance anxiety, especially in football players, is one of the controversial issues in Ramadan. I will talk about the results of scientific studies on the effects of fasting in football players on performance, but first, there are a few things I would like to tell about the long fasting period.

Is long-term fasting beneficial or harmful?

Intermittent fasting, which is translated into Turkish as the intermittent fasting diet, which has been popular in recent years outside of Ramadan, is a program that many people benefit from. Although this program does not basically tell you what to eat, it is a diet in which meal and hunger times are adjusted. I am talking about this because Ramadan fasting and feeding times are almost the same. Although there are several types of intermittent fasting diet, the most comfortable one is 8-hour feeding and 16-hour fasting. The difference from Ramadan fasting is that it is possible to take fluids during fasting. Provided that this diet is under expert control, it is used in cancer patients, weight loss, anti-aging detox programs and some intestinal therapies and provides benefits. For this reason, not the length of the fasting/fasting period in Ramadan, but the lack of fluid intake and uncontrolled eating during the feeding period can cause problems in terms of metabolism.

Does fasting reduce performance in athletes?

There are many studies on the effects of Ramadan fasting on football players. Most of the studies focused on investigating the effects on the performance of the athlete and the biochemical values ​​of the athlete. And they all came to different conclusions. However, in a 2006 study by FIFA’s medical evaluation and research committee F-MARC. No negative effects were found on the nutrition, biochemical parameters and performance of fasting young male football players. However, this study was carried out in a controlled camp environment, and as a result, the athlete’s nutritional, sleep and physical conditions were evaluated and adjusted well.

Watch out for the nocebo effect!!

In another study, fasting and non-fasting football players were compared. In this study, which was carried out in a month of Ramadan in which the fasting period is 14 hours, the fasting group and the non-fasting group were given the same nutrition and fluid program. It’s just set to be different when they eat. There was no negative effect on variables such as diet intake before, during and after Ramadan, sleep quality and training load. However, a decrease in sprint performance was observed in fasting people.

Depending on this decrease, it was concluded that the effect of nocebo should be taken into account.

As a result ,

It is important to plan nutrition and give physical and psychological support that will bring the athlete to maximum performance during the worship process he does according to his belief. The points to be considered in nutrition and fluid adjustment will come in our second article.

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