It is not safe for everyone living with diabetes to fast, especially those who have poorly-controlled diabetes, a senior adult diabetes educator at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has advised.
Diabetics should work closely with their healthcare team as ongoing monitoring is essential for those who choose to fast during Ramadan,” urged Amani Ajina.
“For many individuals, fasting during the holy month of Ramadan has numerous health benefits; however, for individuals with diabetes, fasting is a more complex topic and can have serious health risks,” she stated.
“Ideally, individuals with diabetes should consult their doctor or health educator before Ramadan begins. Their healthcare team can help them determine if it is safe to fast and can also provide important advice about physical activity, nutrition, safe glucose levels, and guidance around changes to the dosage and timing of any medications,” Ajina suggested.
Successful blood sugar management is the key to living well with diabetes and fasting should be approached with care.
“Blood sugar testing is an important part of diabetes care and monitoring blood sugar levels frequently is particularly important for diabetics who fast because during Ramadan eating, sleeping, and exercise patterns are significantly altered. During the holy month, we advise all fasting diabetics to monitor their glucose levels throughout the day and night to ensure their levels are within a healthy range,” she noted.
Appropriate blood sugar levels vary throughout the day and from person to person.
Ajina recommends diabetics check their blood glucose several times throughout the day and night and in particular at noon, before the Iftar and Suhoor meals, and again two hours after Suhoor.
“Blood glucose testing is an important part of managing diabetes. As a general rule, we tell patients to test their blood glucose just before they eat and again approximately two hours after their meals. This allows the patient to see how that meal affected their blood sugar,” the senior adult diabetes educator observed.
“Patients with diabetes must ensure they eat the Suhoor meal and they should eat sensibly – being mindful of the types of food eaten as well as the quantity. Overeating at Iftar or Suhoor could cause a sudden increase in blood glucose levels. It is also important to drink adequate fluids during non-fasting hours, ideally choosing water or another sugar-free beverage,” said Ajina.
A healthy and balanced diet during Ramadan is recommended for everyone, but especially for those who have diabetes or are pre-diabetic.
Meals should be started with a small amount of simple carbohydrates, such as dates or milk.
The Suhoor meal should be had as late as possible and include foods rich in complex carbohydrates, such as whole grain bread or vegetables.
Normal levels of physical activity can be maintained for most diabetics who choose to fast, but exercise during fasting hours, especially before Iftar, is generally discouraged as it may lead to hypoglycemia, Ajina added.
For tips and information about living well with diabetes during Ramadan, and throughout the year, visit
The website contains information on fasting with diabetes and many helpful resources, including our diabetes cookbook, with diabetic-friendly versions of recipes for popular dishes such as biryani and thereed.
The Ministry of Public Health, HMC, and Primary Health Care Corporation have reminded members of the public about the Ramadan Health website and companion smartphone and tablet app.
The Ramadan Health website is Qatar’s first online resource devoted to health and wellness during the holy month.
Visit the Ramadan Health website at, or download the app to your phone or tablet by searching for ‘Qatar Health’ (available for iOS and Android operating systems).