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Diabetes And Ramadan 

(20th June 2014)

Ramadan this year starts on or around 27th June 2014 until or around the 28th July  2014.  Due to ramadan falling in the summer month the period of fasting is much longer at the beginning 15 hours + see Diabetes calendar (DUK)

It is especially important to speak to your diabetes team before you start fasting if you are on tablets and/or insulin. You can still make an appointment to see them and receive tailored advice to help keep you safe this Ramadan.

ramadan Booklet

Download our "Looking after diabtes during Ramadan A guide for patients booklet for more advice" 

Test your blood glucose 2-4 hours after you begin your fast.

You should test your blood glucose levels and keep in touch with your diabetes team as needed. It is advised to monitor your blood glucose and this will not break your fast, but if your glucose levels fall below 4mmol/l you will need to end your fast.

If you decide to fast this year you may be at risk from hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose levels less than 4 mmol/l) if you are on some medications and / or insulin. Sometimes people can also have high blood glucose levels during this time, which can lead to health problems in the short and long term.


Now’s a good time to stop smoking for Ramadan and for life.

Food Choices For Ramadan


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 aare 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

Useful links


Looking after Diabetes during ramadan- A Guide for patients

Leicestershirediabetes booklet series August 2012 Download Document