Fasting Or Feasting – Don’t let your Diabetes suffer

Fasting is a common religious practice followed by all Indian communities, in their own ways and is often followed by religious gatherings and feasting. Fasting is practiced for the cleansing of the body and the soul. With India growing as Diabetic capital of the world, it’s the need of the hour to plan out a balance between our cultural roots and a healthy tomorrow.

People with diabetes are usually discouraged to fast, but this has a great psychological impact, as it’s against their beliefs. Discussing frankly with your doctor about this and the need for tailored modification of your medications can really help bridge the barriers to achieving treatment goals. Detailed discussion on dietary substitutes is equally important, as most of us are unaware of the healthier options that can be incorporated into the fasting diet plan.

Impacts of Fasting:- Sudden Low sugars (hypoglycaemia), Sudden surge in sugars ( hyperglycaemia), Dehydration,  Increased tendency to form clots (thrombosis), lastly Diabetic Ketoacidosis.

How to prevent these –Keep well hydrated, Take plenty of fruits and salads, and Avoid fatty food when breaking the fast. Consume less amount of caffeinated drinks ( tea/coffee/cola), as they cause dehydration. Consult your doctor to titrate your medicines and insulin accordingly and change their timings according to the major meal of the day.

How to avoid Hyperglycaemia while feasting – Drink plenty of fluids with minimal sugar and alcoholic contents, snack on nuts, salads , roasted vegetables and non-vegetarian preparations.  Pick on non-fried, milk or ‘paneer’ based sweets.

Food tips to avoid rapid fluctuation in blood glucose levels – your meals should be composed of complex carbohydrates, proteins and fiber i.e , which provide “slow-release” of calories throughout the fasting hours.  Avoid high-calorie sugary drinks, replace them with milk or buttermilk, coconut water etc.

Try not to miss your exercise routines during the festive season. Do not stop your Diabetes medication without consulting your doctor.

Self glucose monitoring at home is a good guide to help you keep a check on your diabetes and take appropriate action if the readings are falling out of target.