Managing Ramadan Fasting for Diabetics
O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard against evil (The Holy Quran, 2:183)
The city is decked up with Haleem and Harees centres, and mosques are decorated with bright lights. It’s Ramadan time again! As we are all getting ready for the holy month of fasting, there are a few of us who don’t share the same excitement and it is not because of slack in faith.
Every year, as the holy month of Ramadan approaches, diabetics have numerous doubts and apprehensions on fasting. Yes. Diabetics are increasing by the year and it’s a major decision for them to opt for fasting. Yet, with the support of their families and doctors, many diabetics have successfully completed their fasting without any major complications.
For those who are trying hard to maintain normal blood sugar levels, here are a few quick facts related to diabetes and fasting along with gastronomical treats that are not hard on your blood sugars.
Some Quick Facts about Fasting for Diabetics:
- Diabetics who fast are prone to certain complications that can even be life-threatening. Complications such as hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels), hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels), and dehydration are risks that loom large upon the unmanaged diabetic who fasts.
- After a fasting period of about eight hours, the body starts to use the stored energy to maintain normal levels of blood glucose. For diabetics, this becomes difficult due to their disease condition. This can lead to hypoglycemia. If you are unaware of your low sugar levels, you might lose consciousness, have a seizure, or go into a coma.
- After breaking the fast during Sehri or Iftar, the risk of becoming hyperglycemic is very high. Higher blood sugar levels can lead to increased thirst and fatigue, headaches, nerve damage, and kidney damage.
So, it is imperative that you get a thorough evaluation of your diabetes before you take up fasting. Doctors at Apollo Sugar Clinics have over the years helped numerous diabetics to fulfil their duty as a Muslim – Fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.
But first, we would like to inform that if you fall into the below-mentioned categories, you may have to consider opting out of Ramadan fasting.
You may have to opt out of fasting if:
- You were admitted in the hospital for hyperglycemia (high blood sugars) in the last six months.
- If you had diabetic ketoacidosis in the past.
- If you have Type-I Diabetes.
- If you have any complication like nephropathy, severe diabetic foot or retinopathy.
- If your sugar levels are erratic and are not under good control.
If you do not have any of these complications mentioned above, you can start fasting after consulting a diabetologist or an endocrinologist; however, here are some foods to avoid and some foods to choose.
|Foods to Avoid||Foods to Choose|
|Poori’s ,Aloo parathas , Rotis with ghee||Phulkas , Methi roti , Gobi parathas|
|Desserts : Ghulab Jamun , Rasgulla, Balushahi, Shahi tukuda||Small portion of milk sweet, nuts|
|Fruit juices , Carbonated drinks||Whole fruits , Plain water , lemon juice, buttermilk|
|Cooking Curries with excessive oil.||Start with measuring the oil used in curry and bring down gradually. Reduce 5 tbsp. to 3 tbsp. Increase onions, tomatoes and spices for flavor.|
|Deep fried red meats like Mutton, Beef, and organ meats.||Grilled or simple curry with Skin out chicken , Egg whites , Fishes|
|Cutlets, minced meat, deep fries pakoras , Samosas.||Baked samosas with whole wheat. Include pulses like Rajma, Soyas, black channa for stuffing rather than potatoes (with skin intact).|
|For recipes like Briyani, and Pulav made of Basmati rice and oil, control rice intake and limit the oil used in cooking. You can also enjoy chicken which is cooked separately with less oil and flavored Pulav.|
You have to immediately consult a doctor if you have symptoms like:
- Sweating, chills, or trembling.
- Tingling or numbness.
- Blurry vision.
- Shortness of breath.
It is important to choose foods that are low on the glycemic index as these foods promote a steady rise in the blood sugars. These include whole grain bread, low sugar cereals, lentils, beans, and complex carbohydrates. Apart from these, it is vital to consume a lot of fluids before breaking the fast to reduce the risk of dehydration, kidney stones, and blood clots. Drinks that are sugar-free and decaffeinated are preferable. It is also advised that you consume your Sehri meal as late as possible (just before sunrise). As tradition demands that we use dates and milk, a diabetic should not consume more than two to three dates per day.
If you have any queries regarding your blood glucose control, please feel free to contact Apollo Sugar Clinics for a thorough assessment.