Fasting during Ramadan is an important religious practice for Muslims around the world. However, for individuals with diabetes, fasting can present some challenges. As a registered dietitian, I want to share some important tips for diabetics who plan to fast during Ramadan.
Plan Your Diet: During the fasting period, your daily calorie requirements are divided into sahur, iftar, and one or two small snacks. It's important to have sahur and eat as close to that time as possible. Choose high-fiber foods like whole wheat bread, chapati, brown rice, beans, legumes, and some form of protein like eggs, boiled or grilled chicken or fish. Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary drinks and desserts.
Exercise: Physical activity is important, even when fasting. Take a 30-minute walk soon after sahur or an hour after iftar. Avoid strenuous activities a few hours before iftar when your sugar levels are low.
Medications: Individuals on lifestyle modifications, oral hypoglycemic tablets, or insulin must continue their proper schedule of meals and monitoring sugar levels. Those on two or more medications must have the dosage and timing altered.
Sleep: Aim to get at least 6-7 hours of sleep during the day or between iftar and sahur.
Monitor Blood Sugar: Test your sugar levels at sahur, two hours after sahur, midday, mid-evening, just before iftar, and two hours after iftar. If your sugar level falls below 70 millimoles per liter or shoots up to 300 milligrams per dl, you must break your fast immediately.
When to Break Your Fast: Break your fast if you feel symptoms of hypo or hyperglycemia or if your sugar level is less than 70 millimoles per liter.
In summary, fasting during Ramadan is possible for diabetics, but it requires careful planning and monitoring. Follow these tips to ensure a safe and healthy fasting experience. As always, consult with registered dietitian if you have any concerns.