A Physician’s guide to make fasting easier for diabetics during Navratri.

A Physician’s guide to make fasting easier for diabetics during Navratri.

If you are a diabetic or have a relative who is suffering from diabetes then this article is for you. You will get all the information you need on fasting and diabetes. What diet plans to follow, recipes for Navratri, What will happen if you fast? Is it safe for diabetics to fast? What do you need to take care of? What are the dos and don’ts for fasting with diabetes during Navratri? 

Medical advice during fasting for a diabetic patient

1. Tailor-made treatment plan:

  • Discuss with your doctor about your fasts. For how long you intend to do them/ what sort of dietary restrictions you intend to practice? 
  • This is going to help modify the drug/insulin dosages as per your lifestyle. 
  • It is of utmost importance as strict adherence to your medications is the key to a good sugar control.

2. Reschedule your medications/insulin doses

  •  Usual doses of anti-diabetic drugs include twice a day or thrice a day dosage. But with dietary restrictions, you might not be able to take medications at the designated times. 
  • With proper consultation from the doctor, you can get these timings adjusted so as to match the timing of food and drug intake.

3. No self-adjustments

If you are on insulin do not reduce the dose or cut down on the dose of medications. The biggest complication that happens is your blood sugar level will shoot up.

4. Assessment and awareness of risk factors involved

  • If you have a history of diabetic ketoacidosis in the past three months, or you have been hospitalised for either hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemia (very high blood sugar), Then it is advisable for you to not fast.
  •  If you have Hypertension, kidney disease or any other associated medical disorder then you are at an increased risk for complications when fasting

5. Customised diet plan depending upon the type of fast and your associated risk factors

  • Consult a nutritionist for a customised diet plan to help you fast. diabetic and wish to fast during Navratri.

6. Nutritional advice

  • The common practice of eating large amounts of food (unrestricted), that is rich in carbohydrates and fats is discouraged. 
  • The “permissible foods” that are a part of the Navratri Thali are usually starchy and fat-rich. A simple solution to this would be to modify your thali so it consists of foods high on complex carbs and cooked with the least amount of oil. Feeling overwhelmed with all the medical jargon? Find easy to cook recipes and diet options below. 

7. Exercise advice

  • Normal levels of physical activity are permitted like light walks. 
  • Excessive physical activity that involves calorie burning like jogging, running, strenuous exercises run a high risk of causing low blood sugar levels. 
  • These are discouraged and should be avoided.

When can fast cause problems for a diabetic?

If you are following a healthy routine in diet and lifestyle then this festive month should be a cakewalk for you. Most health problems arise from

  • Inappropriate diet
  • As a consequence of overeating
  • Or under eating
  • And insufficient sleep

Even if you are fasting, being a diabetic your diet should not differ much from a healthy, balanced diet. The aim is to fast in such a way that the body still receives its due energy and nutrients in sufficient quantities. You should also be aware of what happens to your body when you fast, being a diabetic? This knowledge will help you understand your disease better and thus control it in a responsible manner.

Below are a few key points to remember. 

Diet do’s and don’ts during Navratri

  • The basic rule is to resist temptation and avoid fried foods like Navratri specialities made from potatoes and arbi (colocasia) as they can send your blood sugars for a toss.
  • It is advisable to consume small meals at regular intervals of 3 hours to avoid a drop in your blood sugar levels.
  • Try to consume foods that are high in fibre and have a low glycemic index. These will give you a feeling of fullness and not your blood sugar levels won’t shoot up.
  • Bottle gourd, pumpkin, leafy vegetables, salads, apples, skimmed milk, curds, cucumber, citrus fruits can be incorporated in the diet, in small portions.
  • Try to consume lots of fluids to keep yourself hydrated. However, refrain from consuming commercially available fruit juices as they are packed with artificial sugars. 
  • Buckwheat flour (kuttu ka atta) can be used for making non-fried items like dosa or chapati. It does not raise blood sugar levels rapidly.

Not a diabetic but wish to fast for the sole purpose of losing weight? or to start your healthy living resolution? check the Gastroenterologist’s word on intermittent fasting

Prefer to listen?

When should a diabetic not fast?

It is imperative to know when not to fast or when to discontinue fasting. 

  • Monitor your blood glucose levels regularly when fasting and immediately break your fast if your blood glucose level falls to <60 mg/dL and seek treatment. Any further delay can make things worse.
  • The fast should be discontinued if the blood glucose level exceeds 300mg/dL
  • Avoid fasting on “sick days” as the body is already low on resources due to the sickness and dealing with another stress like fasting will accentuate the illness.
  • If you are living alone then you should refrain from fasting. A condition called “hypoglycemic unawareness” is the reason for this. Patients get unconscious when their blood sugar level falls. Not all diabetics show this but for those having a history of this, fasting should be avoided.
  • In case of pregnancy, liver diseases, kidney problems, heart diseases, strokes, fasting is out of the question.
  • Low blood sugar levels can occur with patients of advanced diabetes and in some hypertensive patients consuming certain medications. If you have suffered from an episode of low blood sugar level, three months prior to fasting then you should not change your routine. It is more dangerous if you are a patient of recurrent hypoglycemia, the Gods will understand and forgive you for your shortcomings

A healthy, discipline lifestyle is the key to managing diabetes and having good sugar control. Fasting isn’t difficult if done taking all precautions and adhering to medical guidelines.

If you have any queries or comments feel free to connect with me.

Have a happy and healthy Navratri 

This blog is written as a part of #MyFriendAlexa2020 challenge by Blogchatter

Medical Disclaimer: The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and don’t delay seeking help because of something you read here on doctormommyspeaks site.

Dr. Rahat Sayyad
Dr. Rahat Sayyad

Physician, Author, Host of Doctormommyspeaks Parenting Podcast and a mom of two. I am here to offer my help in the form of well-researched articles, expert interviews with Gynecologist, Paediatricians, Nutritional Therapists, Psychologist, Parenting Coaches, etc on my Podcast and website.

For more resources on health and nutrition visit my podcast and subscribe using your favorite app.

Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsAnchorSpotifyStitcherRadio PublicPocketCastsTuneInBreakerDeezer

You can connect with Doctormommyspeaks below.

Looking forward to connecting with you on Instagram.

Check my Pinterest board for more such insights.

Share this post on twitter with a single click below.

Tweet to @DrMommySpeaks

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. jainnehas

    I am very thankful to you for writing and sharing this. My mother in law is diabetic. Our two important festivals are coming. This will surely help.

    1. mummatalks

      This is a very informative and a very well written detailed post. We generally tend to ignore informing doctors about our fasts which can actually hamper our health if v are on medication.

  2. Harshita

    A very informational post. My mother-in-law is diabetic and I am going to share this post with her!

  3. Tina Sequeira

    Perfect fasting tips for diabetics. #MyFriendAlexa #TinaReads

  4. Very detailed and helpful guide for diabetics. Thanks for sharing, Dr. Rahat.

  5. Fasting is difficult to diabetic people. Noting down your tips and sharing. Thank you doctor.

  6. Nupur

    I always thought fasting is a strict no for diabetic patients. But you’ve correctly highlighted, that the first step should be to consult with a physician and take the right measures to make it a successful & safe fast.

  7. aditi

    Thanks for sharing this information. Diabetic patients should know these things before keeping a fast.

  8. I am a type 2 diabetic but I am not on insulin. I frequently have just a glass of milk and some fruits in the night. I recently did a blood test and fbs was 117 (normal between 50 to 100) and post prandial was 169 (normal < 140). My hba1c was 7 which is adequate control. I walk for half an hour every day but it is infrequent. Your tips came in very handy for me. Thank you.

    1. Dr. Rahat Sayyad

      Your sugar control and lab values are near normal. Keep it up. I rarely find patients who stick to a routine and the restrictions that DM requires them to. Felt good as a physician after reading your comments 😊

  9. Very useful article! It will help all those who are struggling with diabetes and fasting during festival season. Thank you for writing this one!

  10. Snigdha

    This is very much informative. Diabetic patients should know all these before keeping fasting.

  11. Very informative post. I have a joint family and two of my mother in laws are diabetic. They do fasting but many a times their sugar level gets disturbed. This post has given me a lot information that I can share with them.

  12. Sabiha

    Really very relevant tips.My sis in law is diabetic and these are very helpful.

I'd love to know your thoughts