One-Third for His Food

The Washington Global Health Alliance studied the effects of eating less – daily caloric restriction in particular – on the rates of ageing and mortality. As in most scientific research, the initial studies were conducted on animals – monkeys in particular. Two hundred monkeys were used and provided with healthy food consisting of all main nutritional components. The monkeys were divided into two groups, where the first group was left without any restriction on the quantity of food intake to eat and get full, while the second group was not allowed to eat to fullness, as the food provided was reduced in 30%.


Researchers followed up with the general health and wellness of the two groups for years. Initial results indicated that reducing food intake in 30% for the second group led to a reducing the inner body temperature, slowing down of metabolism and delaying appearance of ageing signs compared to the first group.


Dr. George Roth, a participant in a similar study at the National Institute of Ageing, said that this was not the first study on the subject but it confirms the results of previous studies that proved the link between feed restriction in different animals and rodents like mice and the decreased rates of different illnesses, increased strength of the immune system, delay in the appearance of signs of ageing and lifespan extension.


Moreover, Dr. Joseph Kemnitz from the University of Wisconsin said that the results of all similar studies conducted to date proved that eating a healthy diet in small quantities can lower the rate of age-related health conditions and may even extend a lifespan – God willing.


Dr. Barbara Hansen, the director of the Obesity and Diabetes Research Center at the University of Maryland, pointed that all the studies conducted during the last 15 years on different animals proved that food restriction led to lower rates of different illnesses in general, and heart disease, diabetes and cancer in particular.


The world reveals to us every day the benefits of diet and feed restriction, as the West has arrived at this fact after thorough experiments and precise scientific research. Experiments taught the West about this fact while we received it from God’s prophet (PBUH) about 14 centuries ago. The prophet, the honest and trustworthy who doesn’t speak from his own inclination, said “The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat a few mouthfuls, to keep him going. If he must do that (fill his stomach), then let him fill one third with foodone third with drink and one third with air.”


Despite the fact that moderation is a solid principle in our religion and the teachings of our Sharia, “eat and drink but be not excessive,” extravagance in food and drink has dominated our societies – save those who have been spared. The rates of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure have gone up so high in Arab and Muslim societies that they have become even higher than global rates.


Experience and research lead the West to God’s laws of the universe to be beneficial for the wise ones. One of these laws is moderation in food and drink or even reduction of food intake in general. Nutritional and health awareness has spread in so many Western societies, and those who care about their wellbeing started following a balanced diet in calculated quantities. It is our duty to follow these rules that not only fall under keeping the fidelity given to us by God, which helps us in our quest to worship and construct God’s kingdom on earth, but also comes as an acceptance of God’s commands “eat and drink but be not excessive” and the prophet’s teachings “It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat a few mouthfuls, to keep him going.” It was narrated that Al-Muqawqis – ruler of Egypt – sent a doctor to the prophet (PBUH). The doctor was said to have stayed in Medina for a while, and the prophet did not visit him once for medical help. The doctor was surprised, and when asked about the reason, the prophet said “We folks don’t eat unless we are hungry, and when we eat we don’t get full.”


Moderation in food and drink is one way of avoiding illness… It is health, verdure and bless for following one of God’s laws of the universe. It is a reward, gift and forgiveness from God in the hereafter for following his commands and abiding by the customs of his prophet PBUH.


Okaz Newspaper – Sunday 16 Muharram 1417 AH falling on 2 June 1996 AD