Ramadan suggestions for diabetes patients
People with diabetes or those at risk of developing diabetes are required to consult their doctor before the Ramadan in order to be able to fast without health risks. Prof. M. Temel Yılmaz, M.D., Chairman of the Turkish Diabetes Foundation; Director of Diabetes Treatment and Research Center at Institute of Experimental Medicine of Istanbul University; and a member of Sabri Ülker Foundation Science Committee, emphasizes key points for diabetes patients should consider during Ramadan.
This year, the fasting time lasts up to 17 hours. Fasting for a long period of time can pose a health risk, especially for people with diabetes or those at risk of developing diabetes. Prof. Yılmaz has been studying diabetes and its effects on fasting and health for many years. He says it is possible for people with diabetes, latent diabetes, people with insulin resistance, and diabetics who are not on medication
Consulting to your doctor before fasting is a must
Prof. Yılmaz advises people with Type 2 diabetes who do not take blood sugar regulation medication that they may fast as long as they consult their doctor. Prof. Yılmaz said: "People with diabetes should have detailed examinations before fasting. The health status of the patient should be assessed based on a number of issues: what type of diabetes he or she has, if there is organ damage, whether or not insulin is being used, and if so, which protocol he or she follows. If the patient takes blood sugar regulation medication and/or insulin, it is necessary to rearrange their doses for the fast and to shift the dosage closer to the iftar. In addition, blood sugar should be monitored frequently during fasting, and patient should adhere to his or her nutrition program."
Should consume salad at suhoor
Prof. Yılmaz emphasizes that people with diabetes who fast during Ramadan should not skip suhoor, and provides advice on how to eat at suhoor. "People with diabetes should have a breakfast-style meal. Consume only whole grain rye or whole wheat bread. Eat salt-free or low-salt cheese and olives (salty olives make you thirsty). Eggs should be consumed at suhoor. In addition, plenty of fresh vegetables such as greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and carrots must be served. Eat low-glycemic seeds and nuts, preferably unsalted, such as walnuts, hazelnuts, and almonds. They increase blood sugar slowly and prevent hunger. Fresh or dried fruit can also be consumed in small portions, but should be avoided if you feel raising blood sugar quick."
Walk at least half an hour after iftar
Prof. M. Temel Yılmaz reminds us that eating after long hours of fasting may cause a sudden increase in blood sugar. For this reason, he recommends breaking the fast with a slice of whole grain bread, olives, soup, or a bowl of salad. "After eating foods that control a feeling of hunger at iftar, take a break before starting your main course. Avoid foods with excessive fats and carbohydrates at iftar. Salad is very important because it supports one's daily need for minerals, vitamins, and fluids. Consume fruit very carefully and as slowly as possible to prevent a peaks in blood sugar. Walking may help to reduce blood sugar. Walk at a brisk pace for 30-60 minutes after iftar, and don’t forget to drink plenty of water."