4 Steps to Managing & Improving Your Diabetes This Ramadan 

from “Ramadan focused diabetes education; a much needed approach,” by M. Hassanein. Hassanein, 2015, Journal of Pakistan Medical Association, 65, 77. Copyright 2015 by “Journal of Pakistan Medical Association”.

Dietary Food Choices Make a BIG Difference: Adjusting Your Ramadan Diet For Safe Diabetes Management While Fasting 

Your food choices at Suhoor and Iftar have a profound impact on the management of your diabetes. Download our FREE Ramadan meal-planning guide to help you eat the healthy, fuelling foods you need to experience your healthiest Ramadan, ever inshAllah!  Additionally, ensure you adhere to the following nutrition guidelines specifically for patients with diabetes:

  1. PORTION CONTROL: Be wary of large portions of carbohydrates, including rice, potatoes, bread, naan, etc. At your meals, ensure that you do not exceed 1 handful of carbohydrates. You may find the following Harvard Healthy Plate diagram helpful to help control your carbohydrates:

  1. Be particularly vigilant to hydrate aggressively during non-fasting intervals. Keep a water bottle with you during Taraweh and aim to drink 10 glasses of water.
  2. Instead of eating 2 huge meals at suhoor and iftar, try to split your iftar meal into 2 smaller meals. Aim to eat 3 smaller meals during non-fasting intervals, instead of 2 huge meals.
  3. Be wary of simple refined sugars like sugar in desserts and white bread or rice. Simple sugars are particularly concerning for patients with diabetes because these simple carbohydrates spike your blood sugar immediately after eating. For patients with diabetes, your blood sugar may drop below the normal range after eating simple sugars. For patients with diabetes, try using stevia as a diabetic-friendly sugar replacement in desserts, tea or coffee. Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages and choose water, milk or stevia-sweetened tea instead.
  4. Swap simple carbohydrates for complex carbohydrates higher in fibre including wholegrains, legumes (chickpeas, beans), nuts, vegetables and fruits. These carbohydrates will raise your blood sugar slower and more controlled.
  5. Balance carbohydrates with non-starchy vegetables, like leafy greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. Experiment with cooking your vegetables in different ways to find cooking styles you enjoy! Boiling, sautéing, grilling or enjoying raw over salads are diverse ways to enjoy vegetables.
  6. Do not exceed 2-3 servings of fruit a day. Enjoy 1-3 small dates or 1 large medjool date to break your fast as 1 serving. Try to break your fruit servings between your suhoor and 2 iftar mini-meals. Balance your intake of fruits with other food groups, for example, yogurt or cottage cheese to increase protein content and make you feel fuller longer.

For more healthy meal ideas and iftar and suhoor guidelines, download our FREE Ramadan meal-planning guide here.

 

References 

  1. Mojaddidi, M., Hassanein, M., & Malik, R. A. (2006). Ramadan and diabetes: evidence‐based guidelines. Prescriber, 17(17), 38-43.
  2. Salti, I., Bénard, E., Detournay, B., Bianchi-Biscay, M., Le Brigand, C., Voinet, C., & Jabbar, A. (2004). A population-based study of diabetes and its characteristics during the fasting month of Ramadan in 13 countries: results of the epidemiology of diabetes and Ramadan 1422/2001 (EPIDIAR) study. Diabetes care, 27(10), 2306-2311.
  3. Hassanein, M., Bravis, V., Hui, E., & Devendra, D. (2009). Ramadan-focused education and awareness in type 2 diabetes. Diabetologia, 52(2), 367.
  4. Zabeen, B., Tayyeb, S., Benarjee, B., Baki, A., Nahar, J., Mohsin, F., … & Azad, K. (2014). Fasting during Ramadan in adolescents with diabetes. Indian journal of endocrinology and metabolism, 18(1), 44.
  5. Hassanein, M. (2015). Ramadan focused diabetes education; a much needed approach. J Pak Med Assoc, 65(5 Suppl 1), S76-S78.
  6. Ahmed, M. H., Husain, N. E., Elmadhoun, W. M., Noor, S. K., Khalil, A. A., & Almobarak, A. O. (2017). Diabetes and Ramadan: A concise and practical update. Journal of family medicine and primary care, 6(1), 11.
  7. Benaji, B., Mounib, N., Roky, R., Aadil, N., Houti, I. E., Moussamih, S., … & El Ghomari, H. (2006). Diabetes and Ramadan: review of the literature. Diabetes research and clinical practice, 73(2), 117-125.
  8. Hui, E., Bravis, V., Hassanein, M., Hanif, W., Malik, R., Chowdhury, T. A., … & Devendra, D. (2010). Management of people with diabetes wanting to fast during Ramadan. Bmj, 340(22), 3053-3053.
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