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Guide to Diabetes

Food Choices for Ramadan

Balanced diet

Your diet during Ramadan should not differ significantly from your normal healthy balanced diet which should be followed all year round. Your eating patterns (times) may be very different to normal but it should contain food from all the majr food groups and try not to eat excess food at Iftari or Sehri.


Don't break your fast with a feast or you may put on weight instead of losing it.



Ramadan is about self-discipline and self-control, feasting during the non-fasting hours can be unhealthy. 

Balanced diet

Those observing the fast should have at least two meals a day, the pre-dawn meal (Suhoor) and a meal at dusk (Iftar). It should contain foods from all the major food groups:

  • fruit and vegetables

  • bread, other cereals and potatoes

  • meat, fish and alternatives

  • milk and dairy foods

  • foods containing fat and sugar


At Dawn (Sehri) (before beginning to fast)

Meals should be formed around starchy carbohydrates e.g.

  • Rice
  • Chapattis/ Wholegrain breads
  • Potatoes
  • Lentils
  • Cereals

Starchy Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose after eating and therfore have a direct effect on your blood glucose levels. Starchy carbohydrates are a good source of energy and should be included the diet, however to prevent high blood glucose levels after eating try to avoid large portions of these foods.Try eating whole grain sources of starchy carbohydrates, lentils/ and or oats as these foods release energy slowly (they have a low glycemic index) which help to maintain your blood glucose levels and feel less hungry.

  • Dehydration Avoid drinking tea or coffee at Sehri as caffeine acts as a diuretic and stimulates faster water loss through urination. Sugar free drinks should be used to quench the thirst or sweeteners used. Try to avoid sweet or salted lassi made from full cream milk, mango pulp, tropical juices and fizzy drinks.


At Sunset (Iftari) (ending the fast) 

  • Traditionally a eating a date and/ or drinking a glass of water signifies the end of the fast. Dates are source of energy and fibre. Having a sensible portion will prevent high blood glucose levels. A sensible portion is 1-2 dates.

  • Constipation Drink plenty of water at when ending your fast and eat fibre rich foods including wholegrain carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables with skins.

The main meal is eaten afterwards, if you are following a balanced diet then normal weight should be maintrained. if you are overweight you may find that you lose some weight if you are reducing your potions and being more active. inparticular reducing potions of fatty e.g. samosas, pakoras, chevda and sugary (e.g. burfi, jalebi food will help you acheive this)


Hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose levels) 

Even after taking all precautions, a person with diabetes may experience low blood glucose levels during the month of Ramadan. See How to recognise the symptoms of low blood sugar).


These symptoms should be treated and the fast must be ended
Treatment for hypoglycaemia:

  • 100-120 ml Lucozade Original

  • 200-300ml Lucozade Sport

  • 150- 200ml Orange juice

  • 150- 200ml Cola (non-diet variety)

  • 2 tubes Glucogel

  • 5 - 6 Lucozade / Dextrose Tablets

After you have treated the low blood glucose level you must follow this with eating some slow release carbohydrate e.g.

  • 1 – 2 pieces of fruit
  • 2 plain biscuits
  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1 small chapattis

Other Complications

Some common health complications (i.e Heartburn, headache) that can arise from fasting and how to prevent and deal with them are given on the NHS Choices website- see link Website