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Karwa Chauth fasting can be injurious to your health. A nutritionist explains why

Updated on:3 November 2020, 17:33pm IST
Karva chauth is one of the hardest fasts to keep. And yet millions of Indian women observe it. But is it really healthy? Let’s figure out.
Nikita Bhardwaj
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It’s not just the lack of water or food that’s to blame for the pitfalls of this fast. Image courtesy: YouTube/YRF Films

In the midst of these festivities, where all you married women are concerned about your karva chauth look, there is one more thing to think about. And that is how healthy it is to keep a karva chauth fast? Well, we don’t want to offend anyone’s emotions or beliefs, but starving yourself for an entire day without even a sip of water comes with its own sets of repercussions. 

The problem doesn’t just lie in skipping meals, but it’s the lack of water that’s a big blow. On top of that, eating fried and sugary foods, which usually make for the post-fasting meal, isn’t that great of an idea either. But you don’t have to take our word of it, because we got a nutritionist to answer all your karwa chauth fasting concerns.

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Is it healthy to keep a karva chauth fast?

The answer is fairly straight-forward for nutritionist Manisha Chopra. And it’s a big-fat NO.

Fasting means not eating anything. And even if you are eating something then it should be light as your gut gets a little slow when you fast. But in the karva chauth fast, women traditionally start the day by eating fried foods like mathi and sugary fenni that too at four in the morning, when usually our gut is not awake to process all this.

karwa chauth
A heavy meal during fast won’t benefit you at all. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“Women eat all kinds of carbs and sugar to ensure that they won’t feel hungry for the entire day which is not how a fast is devised. And that’s why it’s not a healthy way to start your day,” she says. 

According to Chopra, our body needs something after every two hours, especially fluids. But in this fast drinking fluids is also prohibited which leads to dehydration.

She explains that when there is a huge gap between the meals, the cortisol level increases in our body due to which women experience headache, bloating, irritability, acidity, and acid reflux. This takes too much of a toll on the body. 

“Breaking the fast is another problem. Due to this gap between meals, your gut is already under attack from acid. And after breaking the fast, women tend to eat puris, dal makhni, and other fatty and sugary stuff. This can worsen the gastric issues,” she says.

She adds that, “Not eating food can be manageable as in the morning you would have in any case exceeded the amount of calories your body actually requires. Due to heavy pre- and post-fast meals the gut has to work really very hard. And instead of getting the benefits of fasting, we end up with the side effects of bingeing,” she warns.

Chopra explains that post 6 PM our body shuts itself down and even our metabolism becomes slow. Since, the fast is broken in the late hours like 8 or 9 PM and we usually go to sleep after that, we tend to feel grumpy and gaseous the next day.

karwa chauth
Fasting can make you gassy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“I think this fast is not fast. But it’s a ritual that we are follow, so we can change the trend by changing the pattern of what we eat,” she says.

Not all women should keep Karwa Chauth fast, says Chopra

“Women who have diabetes and who are pregnant should definitely avoid this fast. Pre-diabetics can experience a major drop in their glucose levels which is not great for their health. Also, pregnant women can have major acid reflux which can also be intolerable for the baby. Plus, if you won’t eat then where will the baby get his/her dose of food?” she says.

“If you are pregnant then keep a fruit-based fast and eat after every two hours and don’t forget to take fluids,” she explains. 

There is a healthy way to keep a Karva Chauth fast
  • Eat light for your sargi meal. You can have cold pomegranate, some dates, yogurt, and raw coconut. 
  • In the evening, when you are done with the prayers, you can have coconut water with two dates. 

    karwa chauth
    Keep coconut water handy during karwa chauth fast. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock
  • When you are about to break your fast, first have a glass of lemon water. That’s because your body will be stressed from not eating for a long time and lemon water will kick start your gut. Have one more date and some more water to replenish the fluid lost by your body. If you want, you can eat a chapati as well.
  • The next morning start your day with a glass of lemon water.

“This is the right way of fasting if you actually want the benefits of a detox. Take this day as another day of diet and you’ll just be fine,” she concludes.

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Nikita Bhardwaj Nikita Bhardwaj

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content.