With the holy month of Ramadan drawing to a close and Eid Al Fitr feasts just around the corner, medical experts are reminding UAE residents to go easy on sweets and tasty treats during festivities this week.
Lama Tabasha, clinical dietician at Burjeel Hospital, Abu Dhabi, recommended planning and preparing a diet ahead of time to avoid unhealthy food choices.
“Binge-eating and overeating are what most people tend to do after a long fasting month. This is why it is very important to be prepared this year by setting your health-related goals that include diet and lifestyle modifications.”
Tabasha noted that a balanced diet is a non-restrictive one covering all the main food groups — without any starvation.
“MyPlate, a guidance tool developed by the US Department of Agriculture, can help you balance your diet, with half of your plate being vegetables, 1/4 lean proteins, and 1/4 starches focusing on whole grains. Eid is known for its sweets and treats. You can still enjoy having Eid treats but try to control your portion. Don’t deprive yourself but learn to control yourself, as balance is always the key,” Tabasha said.
For people with diabetes
Dr Tejaswi Kotakonda, internal medicine specialist at Aster Hospital, Muhaisnah, pointed out that Eid celebrations are a challenging time for diabetic individuals.
“Since our body is accustomed to a Ramadan timetable, an overindulgence in food and sweets during Eid might cause digestive problems, including abdominal pain, heartburn, and even diarrhoea. People with diabetes should ensure that they do not consume sweets at all or eat them in moderation. Medical emergencies due to high blood sugar levels are frequent following Eid. The risk is higher for those who have type 1 diabetes,” Dr Kotakonda said.
“It is also important that people manage the intake of salty, fried, and greasy food during Eid. It is advisable that people eat a balanced meal, consisting of proteins, vegetables, fruits, legumes, and water. Hydration is key. During Ramadan, due to fasting, people have been taking in small quantities of water. It is time for us to take more fluids,” the doctor stressed.
Don’t treat food as reward
Dr Hardik Parmar, gastroenterologist at Medeor Hospital Abu Dhabi, noted that fried and fatty food can lead to gastric problems.
“People tend to fill their stomachs. Don’t treat food as a reward. It can endanger your efforts to develop a healthy diet in your life. The aim should be to satisfy your hunger and not to get lured after looking at the large spread of delicacies. One should start with lighter meals like fresh fruit juices, dates, vegetables, etc. One should be active by doing lighter exercise, like walking in between meals. Later, one can have heavier meals.”
Dr Parmar added that people need to address their sleeping patterns, and also not go to bed immediately after meals.
“There should be at least two to three hours between the last meal and sleep. Be mentally prepared for the change in lifestyle and accept the change.”
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