The Need for Diabetes Management During Fasting in India

Fasting is an important spiritual practice. When you have diabetes, you may be wondering how fasting will affect your diabetes. It is important to control diabetes before beginning fast to reduce risk of hypoglycemia/ hyperglycemia. During the holy month of Ramadan people change their eating habits. This may affect blood glucose levels in a way that can make diabetes patients feel very unwell.

What are the Risks of Fasting for Ramadan if You Have Diabetes?
  • Hypoglycaemia-Low blood glucose levels
  • Hyperglycaemia-High blood glucose levels
  • Dehydration-Lack of fluid in the body
Tips to Manage Diabetes in the Holy Month of Ramadan
Before beginning fast, try to avoid fried foods and oils instead drink plenty of water and eat 3 portions of fruit.
  • While breaking fast with dates and milk, if diabetes is present dates should be limited to a maximum of 3.
  • Limit or avoid sweets and fried foods at the start and break of your fast.
  • Try to fit in 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
  • Fill up on starchy foods like rice, chapatti, couscous, wholegrain bread.
  • Eat foods higher in fibre as these are more filling and can prevent constipation.
  • Drink lots of fluids before fasting commences.
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Fluids and Dietary Advice
The fasting and feasting nature of Ramadan can encourage the consumption of large, carbohydrate-heavy meals, and sugary drinks and treats that can impact blood glucose levels potentially increasing the risk of complications in patients with diabetes. Providing dietary advice and meal planning can help patients with diabetes to follow a healthy balanced diet during Ramadan, reducing the likelihood of these complications. It may also lead to lifestyle changes that favor weight loss that may continue once fasting has stopped.

Dietary Advice for Patients with Diabetes During Ramadan
Divide daily calories plus 1-2 snacks if necessary
Ensure meals are balanced
  • 45-50% carbs
  • 20-30% protein
  • < 35% fat
Include plenty of fruit, vegetables and salads
Minimize foods that are high in saturated fats : Ghee, samosas, pakoras
Avoid sugary desserts
Use small amounts of oils when cooking Olive, rapeseeds
Keep hydrated between sunset and sunrise by drinking water or other non – sweetened beverages
Avoid caffeinated and sweetened drinks