A dietitian, Mrs. Oluwakemi Olanrewaju, has advised Nigerians to avoid heavy meals immediately after fasting.
Olanrewaju, in an interview with our correspondent also advised Nigerians to avoid experimenting or trying new foods after fasting, saying this could make digestion harder and may make a person feel ill.
“Fasting is a longstanding part of many religious traditions, whether a person is fasting or not, the body still needs energy. During fasting, the liver will use the last of its glucose reserves. With no carbohydrates coming in, the body creates its own glucose using mainly fat.
“Some studies have found that people who are overweight or obese lose weight and body fat during fasting. If you are overweight and would like to lose weight and keep it off, then making plans to maintain a healthy diet and get active when fasting is finished.
“It is generally safe to go without eating for a day unless other health conditions are present. Water is especially important; eating a large meal immediately after a fast can strain the digestive system, so, it is best to eat small meals. Chew each bite of food thoroughly; go for foods that are easier to digest. Avoid experimenting or trying new foods after a fast can make digestion harder and may make a person feel ill,” she said.
The expert also advised those fasting to go for foods with low fat and to also avoid consuming foods or drinks with added sugars.
She said, “when breaking the fast, go for plenty of fluids, low fat, fluid-rich foods and foods containing some natural sugars for energy. Foods like water, milk, fruit juices or smoothies, dates, fruits and soups are beneficial to the body during fasting.
“After breaking the fast, meals vary between different cultures and traditions but try to make sure the foods you eat provide a balance of starchy foods, including whole grains, fruit and vegetables, dairy foods and protein-rich foods like meat, fish, eggs and beans.
“After a long fast, it is natural to want to treat yourself but try to keep the amount of fatty, sugary foods and drinks you have to a small amount. Remember that you only have a relatively short time each day to eat and drink to provide your body with all the essential nutrients and fluids it needs to be healthy, so, the quality of your diet is especially important during fasting.”
She added that fasting could be risky for people with diabetes, a history of eating disorders, those using medications that they must take with food, children and adolescents and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
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Eating too big of a meal after fasting
This is especially a big mistake if you do a longer fast, say for more than 24 hours. Eating a big meal immediately after a long fast will cause your blood glucose and insulin levels to spike.
Raw vegetables, beef, and occasionally eggs and nuts can be difficult for some people immediately post-fast, says Fung. And anything fried or greasy should also be avoided until you get your digestion revving with gentler foods.How do you break a fast properly? ›
Since your body has been without food for so long, it may not be used to producing the digestive enzymes you need to properly break your food down. Try some bone broth soup and well-cooked vegetables as the first meal after a long fast. Another idea is to sip on some broth for an hour, then eat a small first meal.Can I eat whatever I want while intermittent fasting and still lose weight? ›
A person can eat what they want when following an intermittent fasting plan. However, to reach health and weight management goals, it is a good idea to follow a balanced, high protein, high fiber, vegetable-rich diet during the eating periods.Should you eat a big meal after a long fast? ›
It's generally recommended to break a fast with a smaller, balanced meal or snack to avoid these issues. Start with moderate portion size and focus on nutrient-dense foods. This approach allows your body to adjust to food intake gradually, supports stable blood sugar levels, and helps prevent digestive discomfort.Does it matter what you eat after a fast? ›
When someone starts eating again, their glucose levels increase, and the body transitions towards using carbohydrates as fuel. Therefore, it is more important what someone does and does not eat when fasting and less significant what they eat when breaking a fast.What is the best meal after a long fast? ›
- Soup. I promised you hard food, didn't I? ...
- Yogurt & smoothies. Unsweetened yogurt is a great way to break a fast. ...
- Avocados & whole fruits. Speaking of fruits, this list wouldn't be complete without the world's greatest super-fruit, avocado. ...
- Nuts. Nuts are good sources of protein. ...
You can add small amounts of avocado and olive oil to your diet right away. It'll help the digestive process and repair your stomach lining after the fast. After 48 hours you can start introducing complex carbs into your diet. You can now also start adding fish and meat, eggs and dairy, if you are so inclined.Are eggs good to break a fast? ›
Eggs are a great way how to break a fast.
It can be a great way to start with eggs because they can make you feel full quickly. They are natures SUPERFOOD, with am amazing amino profile and fats to help fuel your brain. Eggs are easy to cook; you can go for a boiled egg, scrambled egg, or an omelet.
- There are specific measures for fasting blood sugar. ...
- Complex carbohydrates help control blood sugar. ...
- Exercise helps your body regulate blood sugar. ...
- Managing stress can help avoid blood sugar spikes.
The beauty of oats is that they're a great source of fibre and a small amount of protein. Like veggies, cooked oats may be easier to digest, if you have a sensitive stomach, after a fast.What is the best food to eat after a 16 hour fast? ›
Some of the best foods to consume while breaking a fast include diluted apple cider vinegar, bone broth, spinach, kale, eggs, fish, nuts, chia seeds, dried fruits, cooked broccoli, cooked cauliflower, watermelon, bananas, and fermented foods like unsweetened yogurt.Why is 16 hours the magic number for fasting? ›
Both 12-hour fasting and 16-hour fasting can be effective for weight loss, but 16-hour fasting may be more effective because it may lead to a greater reduction in overall caloric intake (through a more condensed eating window) and promote more significant reliance on fat burning.Why am I not losing weight on 16 8 fasting? ›
You're Not Eating Enough During Your Eating Window
If you're hungry all the time, you will end up snacking—even during your fasting window—which will break the fast and eventually lead to weight gain.
Some evidence suggests intermittent fasting is about as effective as daily calorie restriction without time restraints. However, if you take fasting to the extreme, intermittent fasting may risk disordered eating, rebound eating that causes weight gain, and sleep disturbances.Why is my stomach getting bigger after fasting? ›
It was found that when in a fasted state, the belly fat adapted to protect its energy stores. During fasting, the fat tissues provide energy to the rest of the body by realising fatty acid molecules. However, the belly fat became resistant to this release of fatty acids during fasting.What should you eat after a fast? ›
- Bone broth.
- Cooked vegetables.
- Fermented foods.
- Does coffee break a fast?
It appears that fasting for a short time can produce ketosis, which is a process that occurs when the body doesn't have enough glucose for energy, so it breaks down stored fat instead. This causes an increase in substances called ketones. This, coupled with fewer calories consumed overall, can lead to weight loss.Should I weigh myself after fasting? ›
Weigh yourself in the morning
“[Weighing yourself in the morning is most effective] because you've had adequate time to digest and process food (your 'overnight fast'). It won't be affected by what you've eaten or haven't quite processed yet,” says Lauren O'Connor, registered dietitian and owner of Nutri Savvy Health.