During fasting hours and after having Suhoor, human body starts to use the energy storage in order to regulate blood glucose levels in the body within the normal range which may lead to the risk of hypoglycemia for patients with diabetes, especially when taking insulin or diabetes pills. This may also lead to the risk of high blood sugar after consuming large meals at Suhoor and Iftar (breakfast) which may cause several health problems in the short and long term.
Divide up your calories throughout the day, and try to have three small meals a day instead of one large meal for Iftar. This may reduce blood sugar level and protect against abdominal distress after eating. You should not skip Iftar or Suhoor or the third meal between the two main meals.
Follow a healthy diet which includes five servings of fruits and vegetables at least, with very small amounts of sweets and starches.
Avoid fats, simple sugars, soda, sweetened beverages, fast food, full-fat yogurt, salty and fried foods as well as pastries. You can eat oven baked pastries instead.
Enrich your Suhoor meal with low glucose foods such as; whole grain bread, beans, chickpeas , soybean, unpeeled bean, lentils, kidney beans, oats, potatoes, peanuts, milk, low-fat or skim yogurt, eggs, green apples, plums, peaches and grapefruit. All can maintain the normal blood sugar and make you feel less hungry during the day. It is preferable to delay Suhoor meal as much as possible.
Drink an adequate amount of fluids such as; water, skim milk and natural sugar-free juices. This may help to compensate the fluids lost during the day and prevent dehydration, kidney failure and blood clots.
Make sure to have your daily intake of carbohydrate at Suhoor meal instead of Iftar.
Break your fast with dates. Starting your Iftar with three dates is enough as dates are rich in simple sugar.
You can use coconut sugar to make sweets instead of white sugar. It is possible to eat dark chocolate, in moderation, as it contains a very small amount of sugar.
You can eat some desserts, in moderation, like; pudding, custard, fruit salad with a half teaspoon of honey, grilled qatayef stuffed with white cheese and half a spoonful of honey. Moreover, avoid eating sweets that are rich in sugar and fat.
Avoid powdered, creamy and canned soups as they contain harmful chemical preservatives and salt. Healthy soups are made of legumes and vegetables such as; carrots and broccoli. It is advised to use fresh instead of canned vegetables.
Have a salad dish after soup as salads are rich in fiber which reduces the intake of starches.
Do not exercise while fasting. You can do some exercise an hour after Iftar.
Wear proper footwear and do not walk barefoot in the house to protect the feet from wounds and injuries that may develop diabetic foot infection.
Always observe blood sugar and blood glucose levels 2-4 hours after fasting, and try to do this several times during the day. If blood sugar levels are too high or too low, then you should break your fast immediately, even a few hours are left for Iftar.
In case of a sudden hypoglycemia, you should immediately eat high sugar foods: tablespoon of honey or jam, sugar water, fruit high in sugar such as grapes or dates. In the case of fainting, the patient with diabetes must be transferred to the nearest medical center.
If blood sugar levels are too high, avoid eating foods that contain carbohydrates and eat foods instead that may reduce blood sugar level such as; garlic, onions, broccoli, vegetables, some drinks like ment, hibiscus, lemon without sugar. In the case of fainting, the patient with diabetes must be transferred to the nearest medical center.
In both cases, you should retest to ensure the blood glucose is within the normal level. It should be noticed that insulin injection does not break the fast, therefore it should be taken in a timely manner.
If you have diabetes, you should consult your doctor before fasting and you should follow his instructions regarding the best time to take your diabetic medication.
Here are some important guidelines for people with diabetes to stay healthy while fasting during Ramadan :
May Allah make the fasting easy upon you, and may you spend this holy month of Ramadan with full health and wellness!