Diabetic patients who fast during Ramadan are likely to be at risk of major health complications. Hence they should fast only if their doctors consider them fit enough.
The month-long period that is typically marked by long fasting hours during daylight hours is followed by grand feast each evening after sunset (Iftaar), which can be continued till pre-dawn (Sehri).
Such long gaps between meals that range from 12 to 15 hours may lead to metabolic changes in the body, which can pose serious health problems for diabetes patients.
If diabetic patients want to keep the fast during Ramadan, it is always better to consult doctor to take all necessary precautionary measures while fasting.
Diabetes is a health condition that occurs when sugar rises in the blood as a result of deficiency in the insulin hormone or the resistance of the body cells leading to the accumulation of glucose in the blood.
Consumption of carbohydrates such as sugar, rock sugar, palm sugar, honey and sweetened condensed milk should be limited.
However, carbohydrates with a low glycemic index such as brown rice, full grain bread and vegetables are better options than white rice, non-full grain bread or potatoes.
While breaking the day-long fast, the body needs to be well hydrated and one should drink sugar-free and decaffeinated fluids.
“It is important for a diabetic to take natural sugar in the form of fruits instead of juices,” renowned dietician and nutritionist Ritika Samaddar said.
At Sehri one should eat food in small quantities. Avoid sweets, fried snacks and foods that have high salt or sugar content. Also, one should not sleep soon after dinner. A minimum two-hour interval should be maintained.
It is important to take a balanced meal with 20 percent to 30 percent of it as protein. A good idea would be to include fruits, vegetables and salads in your meals and to use healthier cooking methods such as baking and grilling.
The Sehri should include more proteins and less carbohydrate with lots of fruits, whole grain bread, whole grain low sugar cereals, beans and lentils.
Combine the pre-dawn food with proteins like eggs or dal which gradually releases energy through the day. To make up for the whole day, a wholesome meal consisting of carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats is important.
For diabetic patients, the decision to fast should be made keeping in mind religious guidelines for exemption and after careful medical consultation to ensure a safe and healthy Ramadan.