How to Manage Diabetes during Ramadan

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A major change in the dietary pattern happens during Ramadan compared with other times of the year. Fasting Muslims are required to refrain from consuming water and food from sunrise to sunset, which is a relatively a long period. Diabetes occurs when blood sugar rises in the blood because of a lack in the hormone insulin or the resistance of body cells, which leads to the accumulation of glucose in the blood. Diet during Ramadan for people with diabetes should not differ significantly from a healthy and balanced diet. The nutritional advice should be tailored to their special needs and medical problems. It should aim at maintaining a constant body mass.

The decision of fasting or not is dependent on the case of each diabetic patient and the advice of the physician. Some diabetic patients can fast in the holy month of Ramadan if they follow a designed diet by their physician that matches their medical diet in order to ensure that they are safe and healthy even while fasting. The diet is designed to propose a healthy food program and to modify the medicine timings and the blood glucose level.

When it comes to diabetic patients, no ‘one diet’ can be used by all similarly. Each case of diabetes is different from the other, and the way the body responds differs too. However, most importantly is that is for people with diabetes to eat enough to keep nourished, but taking in mind that the kind of food is healthy.

Carbohydrates provide a lot of energy, but they affect sugar level particularly for people with type 2 diabetes. Carbohydrates with a low glycaemic index such as brown rice, full grain bread and vegetables are better options than white rice, non-full grain bread or potatoes.

Healthy Iftar options in Ramadan should include:

• Whole grain cereal, low-fat milk, cottage cheese with sliced peaches topped with toasted almonds
• Plain Greek Yogurt flavored with blueberries and cinnamon, whole wheat toast with nut butter.
• Foul (a hearty Middle Eastern breakfast dish made of lentils or fava beans), small serving of sliced fruit
• Whole wheat roti (unleavened bread) and egg khagina (a Southeast Asian dish)

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