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Onam 2021: Dos and don’ts for diabetics to follow during festivities

"Abnormal sugar levels can cause various cardio metabolic disorders, suppress one’s immunity and can make the patient fall prey to bacterial and fungal infections," said Dr Mudit Sabharwal

Onam, Onam SadhyaIt is impossible to imagine Onam without Onam Sadhya, which is significant for its 26 dishes spread across a Banana leaf. (Source: Getty images/Thinkstock)

Onam is celebrated every year by the people of Kerala in the month of ‘Chingham’. This festival marks the return of the demon king Mahabali. The reign of King Mahabali was considered a golden period for Kerala. Therefore, this festival is marked by grandeur, delicacies, and absolute joy among the people of Kerala.

In India, festivals are always associated with elaborate feasts and splendor, and Onam is no different. Everyone likes indulging in scrumptious food amidst the festivities and celebrate with their family and friends. But if you are a diabetic, you need to be mindful of the very specific dos and don’ts during celebrations, which includes everything from keeping a close tab on what you consume and your daily practices to keep your sugar levels in check.

“Abnormal sugar levels can cause various cardiometabolic disorders, suppress one’s immunity, and can make the patient fall prey to bacterial and fungal infections. Amid the ongoing Covid situation, it is important to keep your vitals in check, like diabetes, or any other co-morbidities can have a worsening effect upon your health if it is accompanied with Covid,” said Dr Mudit Sabharwal, Consultant Diabetologist and Head – Medical Affairs, BeatO.

Here’s a list of do’s and don’ts that will enable you to efficiently manage diabetes, as shared by the expert

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The Dos

Eat healthy– It is impossible to imagine Onam without Onam Sadhya, which is significant for its 26 dishes spread across a Banana leaf. While you may want to savour each and every one of them, it is better to avoid the ones which are deep-fried and opt for those which are boiled or grilled instead. You can also substitute the unhealthy snacks with fruits and nuts, and satiate your hunger pangs in a healthy way.

Stay Hydrated– It is important to stay hydrated at all times. Especially during this hot and humid season, we frequently feel the urge to drink something to quench our thirst. However, if you are a diabetic, it is advisable to only consume drinks that are water-based or have diet soda in them, to keep your sugar levels in check. Consuming drinks that are too sugary and carbonated can lead to a rise in your sugar levels. You can also consume herbal teas to boost your immunity and ensure the best detoxification.

Stay Active and stress-free– Staying active and stress-free plays a major role in keeping your sugar levels in check. You should follow a fitness regime on a regular basis to avoid obesity, high blood pressure and other diabetes-related chronic conditions.


Check your blood sugar and take your medicines on time– Always keep your sugar testing kit with you during the celebrations and check your sugar levels on the go. It is also important to take your insulin dose and other diabetes-related medicines on time to avoid any complications.

The Don’ts

Avoid desserts/sweets– We all want to indulge in Indian sweets during festivals. Be it mithai, barfi, or other delicacies, they all hold a special place in our hearts. However, we shouldn’t forget about the dangerous effect they can have on our sugar levels. It is advisable to only consume the ones that are prepared with natural sweeteners, like stevia if we want to satiate the sweet tooth in us.

Avoid FastingFasting can cause a drop in your sugar levels. Fasting during religious events might seem unavoidable but you should always keep your health in mind.


Avoid Feasting– Festivities can be overwhelming, and can often make you forget about the need to restrain yourself from overeating. Eating too much food can lead to a rise in your blood sugar levels. Make sure to stay alert, and eat a healthy and nutritious diet in moderation to keep your calorie and fibre intake in check.

Make the most of the festival of Onam by keeping your sugar levels under control. Monitor them on a regular basis and keep following the practices recommended by your physician or health coach.

First published on: 21-08-2021 at 12:30 IST
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