Should You Eat Carbs When Fasting?

by | October 11, 2021, 14:47 IST


Although fasting is a very traditional and customary ritual and most people fast for spiritual purification, there is no denying that if you keep yourself nutritionally in check, it can be therapeutic for the body as it can act as a form of detox and keep you healthy as well, says Gurpreet Kaur, Clinical Nutritionist, Cloudnine Group Of Hospitals, Chandigarh. It is significant to choose the right food while you are on a fast diet to prevent yourself from being deficient in important nutrients as it can make you likely to develop health ailments like weakness, heart problems, skin issues, defective bone growth, etc. 

Avoiding carbohydrates will be the last thing you need to do during fasting as it provides energy to the brain and muscles and make you energetic and more productive throughout the day. So, make sure you are getting enough right kind of carbohydrates, proteins, minerals and vitamins from different sources and be vigilant about selecting healthy foods rather than munch on processed foods. Kaur gives more details about the importance of carbs in one’s diet.

About Carbs

Carbohydrates play a vital role in our growth system. It is an important nutrient source that not only provides energy to muscles and the brain but using the right kind of carbs in the diet can effectively help to provide essential nutrients, build the desired body or accelerate fitness goals. There are two types of carbs - slow and fast carbs which depends on the Glycemic Index (GI) which is the rate at which carbs get digested as compared to glucose secretion.

  • Fat carbs have a high GI and release energy at a much higher pace and get used quickly which makes you feel hungry often and add to weight gain issues. Fast carbs include processed foods such as bread, sugars, starchy vegetables, fruit juices etc.
  • Slow carbs have a low GI and release energy slowly into the body and help to maintain a “satisfied” feeling as your blood sugar levels are maintained.

Make Fasting Healthy


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There are various food options that include slow carbs and few tips to make your fasting healthier:

  • Because you are fasting, you tend to eat lesser food than usual and feel hungry at odd times. Eating slow carbs foods can help you keep fuller for longer as they take longer to digest and break down.
  • Combine high carbohydrates like potatoes and sabudana (widely used in fasting) with other fibrous vegetables like spinach, cabbage, tomatoes, capsicum, bottle guard, etc. Also, try to bake, roast or grill vegetables instead of deep-frying them.
  • Kuttu is a brilliant combination of carbohydrates (70-75 per cent) and protein (20-25 per cent). It is also rich in proteins, B-complex vitamins and minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper and manganese. Use it to make chapatti instead of gorging on puris.
  • Samak rice is extremely easy to digest and provides energy, contains a high amount of fibre, B-complex vitamins and important minerals like iron and magnesium.
  • Try and adopt healthy snacking and don't binge on puris, sabudana vada, potato chips, and other delicacies as they are loaded with sugar, salt and fat content, Instead, opt for roasted makhana as they loaded with antioxidants or a mixture of nuts (almonds or raisins or walnut/ baked chips, roasted peanuts, etc.)
  • Eat plenty of seasonal fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat small meals and do not starve yourself. This will help maintain blood glucose levels and prevent you from feeling low.
  • Keep yourself hydrated. Drink lots of water and fluids like coconut water, lemon water, and buttermilk without adding sugar. These beverages will keep you satisfied for a long time.

Fasting For Weight Loss


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There are many women who want to shed extra calories. Then fasting will be the perfect time to start their fitness journey. For losing weight and staying healthy, the purpose should be on sourcing the right kind of carbs, which releases energy slowly and helps you in the long run. Hence, for that, it is important for you to focus on getting more slow carbs in your diet such as whole grains, seeds and nuts, beans and legumes, vegetables etc. It also tends to be high in fibre.

Fasting In Pregnancy

That being said, should a pregnant woman fast, considering she needs a host of nutrients she will miss out on when fasting? Women during pregnancy should be very careful when it comes to fasting because it is not only the mother who needs all the essential nutrients but also the need of the fetus for healthy growth and development. So while a liquid-only or no-food fast is not a healthy option for pregnant women, they can opt for a fast where one eats various healthy foods at appropriate intervals. But one thing should be remembered by all pregnant ladies that they should not go hungry for long intervals as for the baby, all the nutrition depends on the mother. It is very important to take carbs during pregnancy while fasting. Pregnant women with illnesses such as diabetes, anaemia, high blood pressure should avoid fasting as it could lead to various other complications. 

Also Read: This Is What You Should Eat While Fasting To Avoid Weight Gain
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