Ramadan fasting is a religious obligation. Therefore no randomized controlled trial was done to ascertain its benefits, and data available in literature relies on before-after studies(8). Most of studies published are on young individuals, conducted in heterogeneous communities of diverse cultural back grounds and diverse dietary habits [2, 8–13]. No large-scale studies have yet been done in Middle East and North African MENA countries including Saudi Arabia . Those countries are witnessing an "epidemic" of type 2 diabetes mellitus which is strongly related to obesity . For those countries, Ramadan fasting is theoretically a golden opportunity to adopt healthy life style and dietary habits which will lead to weight reduction, better control of diabetes and its complications and perhaps other biochemical changes associated with metabolic syndrome [17–19].
This pilot community-based study aimed to look at weight changes and its relation to different variables related to food consumption, dietary habits and behavior as reported by a representative group of Saudi families living in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The sample of studied families was distributed across Jeddah and represented all of the socio-economic groups of Jeddah's community Table 1.
Most of Muslims' families believe that Ramadan is a month of "giving" and generosity. Therefore it is not surprising that there is a gap between knowledge and interest in rationalizing consumption and expenditure Figure 1. This gap should be bridged by more behavior/nutrition education programs especially designed to our local community about the concept mentioned above. The nutrition educationalists and perhaps social/religious leaders should be involved in filling the gap. This was supported by the finding in Table 2 which showed that knowledge has a significant impact on rationalizing expenditures. Similar observation of increase food consumption in Ramadan was noticed in Algerian study  and Moroccans youngsters living in Spain .
Social reasons headed the lists of reasons behind increasing expenditure during Ramadan followed by psychological reasons, charity and finally religion. This indicates the importance of changing the above behaviors to healthy behaviors which include education of local community that social gathering should not be always accompanied by more food intake.
Unlike other Muslims in MENA countries [2, 12, 19], the studied Saudi families increased the frequency of meals from 3 outside Ramadan to 5 in Ramadan Figure 3. Unfortunately, the "Sohor" meal is one on the top. This particular meal is always followed by late sleeping for at least 5 hours. In Tunisia, the main meal is breakfast and not "Sohor" .
As noticed by other authors in previous studies in various Muslim's countries most Muslims usually increase food consumption particularly proteins and fat but not carbohydrates [4, 9, 20] as observed in Saudis. Almost all of Saudis have dates at breakfast time (97.7%), followed by soup and Sambosa (93.6%). The dates are too sugary and the Sambosa is fatty as it is usually fried and filled with minced meat. Soup is usually prepared using meat and chicken, Figure 4.
Breakfast meal is rarely bought from outside (1.7%). This is a healthy behavior and should be supported assuming that the family will change the bad cooking habit like frying and avoid the fatty and sweaty items. A similar trend was reported by Guerrero Morilla et al. . In Table 3, 32.9% of families reported that there is always remaining food. This indicates again the need for more efforts on educating the local community to avoid over spending in Ramadan.
In contrast to breakfast meal, Sohor meal which is the main meal contains rice as a main food almost 80% of responding families. It is commonly cooked using meat. The most traditional dish in Saudi Arabia is "Kabsah" which is rice plus meat. It is of high calories and fat contents. "Kabsah" is commonly bought from fast-foods traditional shops and not cooked at home. In Ramadan less vegetable and fruits were consumed in both breakfast and "Sohor" meals.
These practices and dietary habits of Saudis are different from other MENA countries such as Tunisia , Algeria , Egypt , Jordan , Turkey  and Iran . This variation in food expenditure, food consumption, increase meals frequency, the bad food preferences may explain the contradicting finding in this study compared to the previously mentioned studies in which weight loss and not weight gain was reported. It may not be a surprise therefore that 59.5% of the sample reported weight gain in Ramadan rather than no change or weight loss. Unfortunately, only half of them correlated that weight gain to the consumption of extra-food and the choice of fatty and sugary foods. This supports the previous findings of studies conducted on Saudis two decades ago which indicated that Saudi Muslims increase their energy intake compared to Indians Muslims [2, 7] and .
In view of the findings of this study, it is believed that weight gain and not weight loss is the problem in Saudi Arabia which is a developing Muslim country with high prevalence rates of diabetes mellitus which amounted to 23.7% as reported by Al Nozha et al.  mainly Type II which is strongly related to obesity. On the long term the current dietary habits are not healthy to the Saudi community particularly diabetics and may contribute to higher prevalence rates of diabetes-related complications on long term. Theoretically, Ramadan fast model is a good model for behavior modification  and health promotion. It is a good opportunity for not only maintaining weight but also to reduce it in obese and overweight individuals [4, 13, 18, 19]. In Jeddah, Saudi Arabia these goals are not met for many reasons described above. The gap between knowledge and practice should be filled by more nutrition education about reducing the numbers of meals, improving the dietary habits, improving the quality and quantity of food intake, and increase instead of current decline in physical activity. Education awareness campaigns may not succeed unless it is accompanied by policies which enforce the media to reduce the amount of foods advertisement about foods. Social researchers should work on changing the concept of many Muslims that Ramadan is a month of having more foods at night to compensate for the fasting periods. Diet in Ramadan should not differ very much from a healthy normal diet which maintains normal weight and if one is over-weight, Ramadan is a good time to shed some pounds. More research is needed in Saudi Arabia and adjacent Gulf Countries GCC to study the observation of changing the fasting month of Ramadan from a month of fasting to an "over-eating" 's month.