arrow11 Comments
  1. Kathy
    Apr 10 - 8:10 pm

    As someone who loves her food, I love my brain more. So interesting, and something to pay attention too.

    • Azni
      Apr 10 - 8:56 pm

      I fast every Ramadhan but not the whole month, on average abt 2-3 weeks continuosly. First 2 days is difficult. I get massive headaches but after that its a breeze. Of course i get my hunger pangs at certain times of the day but when I get through those times, its ok. The challenge is the temptation to eat or drink! I hardly noticed my moods when I’m fasting but working (in the office) has not been a problem. I’ll definitely pay attention to myself when its time to fast!

  2. Iman
    Apr 11 - 2:44 am

    This is very interesting Katie. Just to share something here, I’m a muslim and muslims fast every year for a whole month. We do not eat or drink or consume anything during the day (from dawn to sunset roughly around 14 hours). But in Islam, its not just about refraining self from eating and drinking, its also about tranquility. From my experience, during the fasting month, I’m more calm and relax. If you want to read some medical explanations (in Muslims’ perspective) here is one of the links http://www.masjidtucson.org/submission/practices/ramadan/medicalbenefits.html

    For me, fasting can benefit us physically and mentally. It could be challenging in the beginning, but it will definitely get easier. It definitely tests our mental strength!

  3. Adam Siddiqui
    Apr 11 - 11:35 am

    Hi Katie,

    Thank you very much for the post. I also fast during Ramadan, which made this article all the more interesting to read.

    You mentioned you haven’t found human research on the benefits of fasting, I’m sure there are countries that have researched this (for example, certain Muslim countries like Malaysia or Turkey, since many will be fasting during Ramadan).

  4. Adam Siddiqui
    Apr 11 - 11:36 am

    Sorry, forgot to add I thought this was a very interesting article. I actually have research interests in nutrition and mental health, so I was happy to see an article on the overlap between them.

  5. Emilie Reas
    Apr 12 - 2:39 pm

    Katie – it’s great to see some accurate, well-researched coverage of the benefits of fasting. I’ve been practicing a form of intermittent fasting (one large meal each day) for about 5 years and feel fantastic! Interestingly, when I incidentally fell into the lifestyle while traveling years ago I was actually unaware of its mental and physical benefits. I was simply struck by how much more energy and mental clarity I had, so have since kept it up. It’s fascinating to hear of all the research supporting my own personal experiences!

  6. Joe Muir
    Apr 14 - 7:16 am

    Thanks Katie!

  7. grrlscientist
    Apr 14 - 11:57 am

    i am not familiar with the nutritional literature, but i am surprised that the muslim nations haven’t published more research into the benefits (and downfalls) of fasting.

    i try to fast at least 2 weekdays per week and restrict my caloric intake during the other 2 or 3 days. the weekends? i try to eat when i am hungry, although the social aspects of eating cannot be overlooked and are rather powerful incentives to eat even if i am not particularly hungry. (sigh!)

    i have bipolar disorder, type I (unmedicated). fasting generally helps me manage this disorder. i tend to experience a slight elevation in mood and in my feeling of well-being when i fast or restrict my caloric intake to less than 500 calories per day (usually 200 calories). however, i have to be careful that my fasting doesn’t trigger a manic state (which i usually experience as extreme anxiety combined with terrifying nightmares or sleeplessness.) this is part of the reason i don’t usually fast on weekends.

  8. Angela
    Apr 16 - 10:24 am

    Interesting post! I wonder whether fasting impacts differently on people with different metabolisms/body types?

  9. Bill
    Apr 16 - 8:53 pm

    I always noticed the mental benefits of fasting and that is one of the reasons I do it. I sometimes feel so peaceful during I fast I don’t want to eat again:-)

  10. dan
    May 01 - 11:51 pm

    When fasting, I have found that the hunger feeling can be removed by drinking a few glasses of water, and once that horrid hunger feeling has gone, that seems to be when the mood and depression improvements kicks in. It’s almost like I am a different person.

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