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Diabetes UK Ramadan calendar and online videos

We have produced a Ramadan Calendar for 2012 to give advice and tips for people with diabetes about fasting during the Muslim holy month.

The Koran requires fasting during the month of Ramadan from sunrise to sunset; however, people with diabetes do not have to fast during Ramadan, and we encourage them to speak to their Imam about their personal situation.

The Diabetes UK 2012 Ramadan Calendar gives all the sunrise times, and also offers helpful advice for people with diabetes who are planing to fast for Ramadan, which this year begins around 19 July (subject to the moon).

Dietary advice

Raj Chandarana, Head of Equality and Diversity  for Diabetes UK, said, "Although Muslims who have diabetes do not have to fast, many will choose to do so. The major problem during the fast is the potential onset of hypoglycaemia.

"Those who fast should eat food that is absorbed relatively slowly, such as basmati rice, pitta bread, chapattis and dhal, before they begin the fast. Choosing these types of foods and fruits and vegetables will help keep blood glucose levels more even during the course of the fast.

"People should also check their blood sugar level more frequently than usual so that they can, if necessary, break the fast if their blood sugar levels become too low.

Healthier options

"How people break their fast is also important. People should avoid eating a lot of sweet or fatty foods and aim for healthier options such as low GI foods, vegetables and fruit. They should also try to eat these kinds of foods again towards the end of the feasting period, just before sunrise, and they should drink plenty of fluids, particularly sugar-free and decaffeinated drinks, to avoid dehydration."

Online discussion

We also recommend a series of online videos featuring studio discussion with diabetes healthcare professionals and an imam, which look at the health and religous issues surrounding diabetes and fasting for Ramadan. The video is produced by healthcare educators Optimal Clinical and features input from Diabetes UK.

Raj added, "Whether or not to fast during Ramadan is a question Muslims with diabetes agonise about each year. This discussion brings together the medical and religious perspectives on Ramadan and diabetes, debunking some myths in the process."

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