Living with Diabetes in India is a skill one learns to master with frequent festivities and exchange of sweets along with occasion based fasting periods like Ramadan, Navratri or even individual days of fasting depending on faith and religion. Maintaining healthy blood glucose levels demands a proactive approach amidst all the delicacies being served at every Indian occasion.
Fasting is considered to be a crucial part of one’s belief in God and is believed to purify you. Even diabetics tend to fast, forgetting; they need extra care to ensure their blood glucose remains under control. Let us see how blood sugar levels can be maintained easily during fasting.
Impact of Fasting on People With Different Types of Diabetes
As compared to type 2 diabetics, people with type 1 diabetes are at higher risk because of their insulin dependency. When they fast, the amount of insulin they take needs to be adjusted. They risk hypoglycemia if they don’t cut back enough, but they risk hyperglycemia if they cut back too much. When compared to persons with type 2 diabetes, people with type 1 diabetes have a higher risk of dehydration and diabetic ketoacidosis.
Fasting is the best insulin sensitizer for women with gestational diabetes who aren’t on treatment, especially if they aren’t on insulin. As a result, women with gestational diabetes are told to not restrict their calorie intake for a limited time. Dehydration is a risk that pregnant women must consider, taking into account their blood pressure and any oedema.
Is Fasting Safe for People With Diabetes?
Yes, in some cases, however, it depends on your overall health. In the end, whether or not to fast is a personal decision. If you do decide to fast, you should visit your doctor or health coach to ensure that you are able to appropriately take care of yourself.
Changes that Occur in Body During Fasting
Studies suggest that our bodies enter fasting mode eight-ten hours post a meal. Initially, it utilises the stored source of glucose and then breaks down body fat to use up the energy. Usage of body fats may lead to weight reduction, which in turn reduces cholesterol levels and blood pressure. This helps in controlling blood sugar spikes as well.
Although fasting changes your eating pattern drastically, it becomes even more important to take a balanced diet consisting of nutritious food items from each food group and avoid eating excessively. Diabetes care requires equal attention towards the time you break your fast.
Avoid sugary and fatty foods such as Indian sweets, cakes, samosas and puris, as sudden calorie and fat load after a fast can make you gain weight and even raise your blood sugar levels.
Management of diabetes when you are fasting must be guided by your personalised diabetes educator so that you don’t experience discomfort and are aware of all the risks involved. It is important to keep a strict regular check on your blood sugar levels.
During fasting, your blood sugars may drastically change and hence constant monitoring will help you take the necessary action.
Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water during your fasting time.
It is very unlikely that your blood glucose level spikes up following a meal after a few hours of fasting. And even if it happens, the spikes are not very high. As far as fasting for a month is concerned, you are given medications before the evening meal (in the case of Ramadan, it is Iftar) which help you to control the spike and maintain the blood glucose in normal range.
Avoid self-medication at all costs as it can do more harm than expected. Your does must be adjusted only by the doctor before you begin your fast.