Diabetes and Ramadan
eptember marks the start of Ramadan, the month of fasting in the Islamic year.
The Diabetes Dietitians have useful answers to a list of questions on how to cope with food, diabetes and fasting
| Can I fast safely?
Yes, but you will need to take care to avoid
high blood glucose levels and possibly hypos (low blood glucose levels of less than 4 mmol/l). Do not fast if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Many people with diabetes are able to fast safely, e.g. those who are controlled with diet alone.
If your diabetes is controlled with tablets or insulin and you wish to fast, please ask for advice at your Diabetes Clinic to make sure you keep safe and well.
Will I need to change my insulin or tablets?
Yes. Your tablets and insulin are designed for when you are eating during the day. Make an appointment with your Diabetes Clinic 2-3 weeks before Ramadan to discuss how to adjust your medication.
What about hypos?
A hypo is a low blood glucose level (below 4 mmol/l). If your insulin or diabetes tablets are not correctly adjusted, hypos will happen when you fast. The symptoms include dizziness, a cold sweat, blurred vision, headaches and numbness around the lips.
Untreated hypos can cause you to pass out; do not ignore the warning symptoms.You will not have hypos if you are treated with diet alone or with Metformin alone.
Why are my glucose levels always high after a big meal?
Foods like chapatti, rice and bread are digested into glucose. The bigger your meal, the higher your blood glucose level will go. Try to eat little and often to control your diabetes.
Some foods are absorbed as glucose more slowly e.g. yogurt, fruit, maltloaf, basmati rice and certain breakfast cereals and porridge. Including some of these foods at breakfast time before fasting may help your diabetes control.
Rich foods, which contain more fat and sugar will also cause high blood glucose levels, just have them in small amounts.
If you open your fast with dates, remember to have just 1or 2.
May I have some sweets / methai?
Sugary foods put your blood glucose level up quickly. It is best to try and keep these for special occasions like Eid or you may wish to cut them out altogether.
During Ramadan foods like paratha, naan, samosa, pakora, sweet rice and ghee are used often. Keep these foods just for special occasions.
Retun to your healthy diet after Eid.