Effects of Greek orthodox christian church fasting on serum lipids and obesity

Sarri, Katerina O.; Tzanakis, Nikolaos E.; Linardakis, Manolis K.; Mamalakis, George D.; Kafatos, Anthony G.
January 2003
BMC Public Health;2003, Vol. 3 Issue 1, p16
Academic Journal
Background: No study to date has focused on the impact of Greek Orthodox Christian fasting on serum lipoproteins and obesity yet. Methods: 120 Greek adults were followed longitudinally for one year. Sixty fasted regularly in all fasting periods (fasters) and 60 did not fast at all (controls). The three major fasting periods under study were: Christmas (40 days), Lent (48 days) and Assumption (August, 15 days). A total of 6 measurements were made during one year including pre- and end-fasting blood collection, serum lipoprotein analyses and anthropometric measurements. Results: Statistically significant end-fasting total and LDL cholesterol differences were found in fasters. Fasters compared to controls presented 12.5% lower end-total cholesterol (p < 0.001), 15.9% lower end-LDL cholesterol (p < 0.001) and 1.5% lower end-BMI (p < 0.001). The end- LDL/HDL ratio was lower in fasters (6.5%, p < 0.05) while the change in end- HDL cholesterol in fasters (4.6% decline) was not significant. Similar results were found when the pre- and end-fasting values of fasters were compared. No change was found in control subjects. Conclusions: Adherence to Greek Orthodox fasting periods contributes to a reduction in the blood lipid profile including a non-significant reduction in HDL cholesterol and possible impact on obesity.


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