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Ministry of Health
Ramadan and Health > Diabetes
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Dietary Advice
The alterations in the meal times and changes in the doses and timings of your medication during Ramadan affects your blood sugar. Knowing what your blood sugar is during Ramadan is important in order to avoid problems of high or low blood sugar. Regularly check your blood sugar or urine sugar, at least once daily at different times of the day.

Most health problems are likely to arise from inappropriate diet or as a consequence of over-eating and lack of sleep.

There is no need to eat excess food at Iftar (the food eaten in the period immediately after sunset to breakfast), dinner, or suhoor (the light meal generally eaten about half an hour to one hour before dawn). There are 2 reasons for this:

The aim of Ramadan is to not ea
t or drink during sunlight hours if you then over eat it can be seen as a reflection of weak discipline.

The body adapts to your requirement and will reduce the metabolic rate (the rate at which your body uses energy from food) Most people are less activ
e while fasting. Therefore if you eat a balanced diet and eat smaller portions of food it is enough to keep a person healthy and active during the month of Ramadan.

This advice is for everyone not just people with diabetes.

You should aim to include food from the major food groups: bread and cereal, (carbohydrates) milk and dairy products, fish, meat and poultry, beans, vegetables and fruits.

Eating fruit before a meal is good practice. (Remember 5 portions a day)

What you eat in Ramadan should not be much different from what you normally eat but should be as simple as possible.

What you eat should be such that normal weight is maintained, neither losing nor gaining. However, if you are overweight, Ramadan is an ideal time to try to normalize your weight.

This year the hours of fasting are longer.

At Dawn (Suhoor)
Try to eat complex carbohydrates, e.g., whole meal bread, wholegrain bread, or slow digesting foods at Suhoor. This is so that the food lasts longer about eight hours and you are less hungry during the day.

These complex carbohydrates are found in foods that contain grains and seeds like barley, wheat, oats, millet, semolina, beans, lentils, whole meal flour and unpolished rice.

At Dusk (Iftar)
In contrast, refined carbohydrates or fast-digesting foods last for only three to four hours and may be better taken at iftar to restore blood glucose levels rapidly. Fast-burning foods include those that contain sugar and white flour. Dates are an excellent source of sugar, fibre, carbohydrates, potassium and magnesium and have been recommended since the days of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) as a good way of breaking the fast.

Do not eat dates in excess try to eat no more than 2-3 pieces of dried dates as this will greatly increase your blood sugars causing hyperglycemia

Diet Cola, Orange squash and no added sugars drinks are better as those containing sugar, if taken on an empty stomach will make your sugars high, even before you eat.

Hypoglycemia low blood sugars
If the dietary advice and instructions for medications are observed, the chances of sudden changes in blood sugar level are reduced.

Even after taking all precautions, a person with diabetes can experience low blood sugar levels (hypo’s) during the month of Ramadan. This can be dangerous.

These symptoms should be treated and the fast must be broken

After you have treated the low blood sugars you must follow this with eating some starchy carbohydrate either as a snack or meal. E.g. chapattis, rice, biscuits, bread. Contact your diabetes team for advice.

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