Diet For Diabetes During Ramadan

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Fasting during Ramadan is a must for all healthy Muslims. Sick people like diabetes are exempted from the duty of fasting. However, many Muslim diabetic patients wish to fast during Ramadan.

From MyHEALTH, Ministry of Health Malaysia
For diabetic patients who wish to fast, diet management should be taken into account. First of all, they are encouraged to train themselves to fast in Rajab and Sha’ban before the actual fasting month, Ramadan, is coming. Medical officers, dietitians and pharmacists have to do health screening and education programs to Muslim diabetic patients. The patients should understand well about the complications they may face and diet management before they proceed to fast. 

Do not miss Suhur. Meal during Suhur should be taken as late as possible before Imsak and should be balanced with adequate complex carbohydrate and fiber. Do not delay the time of breaking fast. Limit the intake of high sugary food such as sweets, simple sugar, candies, dried fruits, cakes, cookies, ice cream and canned fruits. Take 2 dates in advance as part of carbohydrate source when breaking fast. Patients are encouraged to take main course after Maghrib prayer. The meal should be balanced with complex carbohydrate, protein and healthy fat with no saturated fatty acids. Do not overeat after the fast is broken. After Tarawih, take a simple snack before sleep.

Include vegetables during Suhur and Iftar. 1-2 servings of fruits are recommended. Limit or say no to fried and high fat foods such as coconut milk, fried chicken, fried noodles and fried rice. Limit salt intake as to reduce the risk of dehydration. Drink enough water, 30-40ml/kg of body weight is enough. This is to replace the lost of water when fasting during the day. Frequently check lips, dry or cracked lips could be the symptoms of dehydration.  

Weight changes might occur. Thus, check weight daily and inform dietitians of a change of more than 2kg. Patients should aware with the symptoms of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia. If any complications happen, break the fast immediately and seek for medical help. Do not force yourself to fast. Do test blood glucose levels before and 2 hours after Iftar, before Suhur and at mid day.

The above picture is an example of menu planning for diabetic patients who wish to fast during Ramadan. Though, patients have to see dietitians to get their specific menu planning because each patient has different recommended calories. The calories are based on the patients’ conditions include patients’ weight and drugs taken.

Practical Management of Diabetes during Ramadan Fast. (2007). Libyan Journal Medical, AOP: 071008 
Diabetes – Ramadan dan Ubat. (2014). MyHEALTH, Ministry of Health, Malaysia


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