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Diabetes Metab. 2006 Dec;32(6):617-24.

Effect of Ramadan fasting on fuel oxidation during exercise in trained male rugby players.

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Unité de Recherche de l'Institut Supérieur du Sport et de l'Education Physique, Kef, Tunisie.



The aim of this study was to assess the effect of Ramadan fasting on substrate oxidation in trained athletes during moderate-intensity exercise.


Nine trained men (age: 19+/-2 yr, Height: 1.78+/-0.74 m) were tested on three occasions: during a control period immediately before Ramadan (C), at the end of the first week (Beg-R), and during the fourth week of Ramadan (End-R). On each occasion, they performed submaximal cycle ergometer exercise, with work-rates that were increased progressively (loadings corresponding to 20, 30, 40, 50, 60% of Wmax). Steady-state substrate oxidation was evaluated by indirect calorimetry.


Participants showed significant decreases in body mass and body fat at the end of Ramadan, relative to initial control values (P<0.001). The daily food intake was also reduced during Ramadan (P<0.01). Haemoglobin concentrations and hematocrit were significantly higher at the end-Ramadan, both at rest (P<0.001 and P<0.0001 respectively) and after exercise, (P<0.05 and P<0.01 respectively) compared to control measurements made before Ramadan. At the end of Ramadan, our subjects had increased their fat utilization during exercise. The cross-over was observed at a higher intensity at the End-R (35% vs. 30% of Wmax, P<0.001). For the same power output, the Lipox max was also higher at the End-R, compared to control value (265+/-38 vs. 199.1+/-20 mg/min, P<0.001).


Ramadan fasting increases the lipid oxidation of trained athletes during submaximal exercise. The increased fat utilisation may be related to decreases in body mass and body fat content.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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