Pune: As the holy month of Ramadan begins, feasting after sunset during the ‘iftaar’ parties that follows the day-long fasting can not only lead to piling up of the kilos for those watching their weight but in more serious cases, play havoc with blood sugar levels for diabetics. Dieticians and diabetologists have a word of caution for diabetics, who intend to fast during the month. Doctors say with few precautionary measures they can keep themselves away from further complications like hypoglycemia and dehydration. Chief diabetologist at Ruby Hall Clinic, Dr Abhay Mutha, suggested diabetes patients to consult their doctors in advance before beginning on fasting. “The most important thing is to consult your doctor and draw up a plan for diet during fasting month, as well as regulate medicine timings. For diabetics especially, they should keep in mind that iftaar (breaking the fast) should be light and strictly avoid fried foods. Stick to light food, fruits and keep water intake high . Those patients who have pre-existing problems like gastritis or take high insulin doses should avoid fasting,” he said.
He advised patients not to gorge on a lot of non-vegetarian food and requested people to stick to home cooked food, rather than eating at the food stalls. “We are not aware what oil the food vendor might be using, so avoid eating outside food,” said Mutha.
Dr Geeta Dharmati, president of Indian Dietician Association, Pune advised that moderation is the key. “People should have a balanced diet that includes the right combination of protein and carbohydrates. Start with eating a good morning meal consisting of foods like roti, milk, dates and lots of water. After breaking the fast, rather than eating at once, it better to eat in small quantities at regular intervals,” advised Dharmati. She said that adding, fruits like apple or fibrous food stuffs are best at the time of fast-breaking, would help in slow rise of sugar levels in the body.
Diabetologist Shailaja Kale said, “Go for at least a 20-30 minute walk after dinner, do simple home exercises like warm-ups and stretches besides yoga. If a diabetic must fast, the thumb rule should be no fried foods and no sweets, except fruits in moderation during fasts,” she said.
General physician Avinash Bhondwe advised a pre-fasting blood sugar check-up and follow up in a fortnight. “Sometimes even the best laid plans go haywire and that’s why one should seriously look for warning signs. Like feeling of thirst, dizziness and profuse sweating. If ones sugar levels go abnormal, usually signs that follow are mouth going dry and numbness which need immediate attention, ”
- Eat food items like grains, barley, wheat, oats, millet, semolina, beans, lentils, bran, green peas, apricots, prunes and almonds.
- Avoid big meals and eat slowly.
- Drink prune juice to avoid digestive problems.
- Drink at least 35ml of water.
- Avoid deep fried food and red meat as it causes acidity and digestion problems.
- Have proper protein intake after exercise.
- Diabetic patients should be more careful and avoid hypoglycemia (low sugar level in blood).