In the holy month of Ramzan,many in the city are observing daily fasts. After an entire day of abstinence,iftar,or the breaking of the fast,becomes a celebration of sorts with family members coming together to enjoy a banquet. Health experts the world over have recognised the many benefits of fasting in lowering toxins and cholesterol,as well as reducing weight and fat. However,they warn that it is important to have a basic understanding of how the bodys metabolism works in a fast.
Dr Abhay Mutha,founder-president of Diabetes Care and Research Foundation,says that diabetic patients must take particular care when it comes to fasting. The body first uses up the available glucose to produce energy. Once the glucose stores are over,however,the body begins to use fat deposits, says Dr Mutha. This is when the benefits come in,for when the body burns the fat deposits,it helps to lower cholesterol levels,remove toxins and lose weight. The danger for diabetic patients,however,lies in their impaired ability to control blood sugar levels. Diabetic patients run the risk of sudden hypoglycemia,or low sugar while fasting, he says.
He adds that,besides the risk of low blood sugar,most people run further risks while breaking their fast because they think they can eat whatever they want,and as much as they want. This could lead to problems like hyperglycemia,or excess sugar,and dehydration.
Dr Mutha also recommends that Type 1 diabetic children,elderly diabetics,diabetic patients on higher doses of insulin and diabetic patients with complications such as renal failure,ischemic heart disease,severe infections,and gastritis should not fast at all.