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Diabetes and fasting

There may be times when you decide to go on a fast.

This could be:

  • if you are fasting or only allowed fluids before or immediately after your medical procedure or surgery
  • for religious purposes—such as Ramadan or Lent
  • to achieve a weight goal or ‘detox’ your body.

If you are considering fasting, it is very important that you talk with your doctor on how best to manage this.

It is possible that during fasting, a person with diabetes could develop high blood glucose levels if they don’t take their medication, or if they are less physically active than normal.

Discuss with your doctor or diabetes educator any difficulties that you may have faced during previous fasts and how you coped with them. They can advise you on any adjustment of medication that may be required to help you fast safely.

Fasting and managing your diabetes during Ramadan

During Ramadan foods and fluids are allowed only at night, so fasting extends from dawn to sunset. Longer gaps between meals and greater amounts of foods—in particular, a higher intake of carbohydrates—may lead to major swings in blood glucose levels.

If you have any concerns, discuss these with your doctor or diabetes educator.

Featured resources

Blood glucose monitoring fact sheet

Checking your blood glucose levels can help you manage your diabetes. You will be able to see what makes your numbers go ‘up’ or ‘down’.

Available in other languages Download now
Surgery and hospital stays fact sheet

Planning and managing your diabetes before, during and after a procedure or surgery can reduce the risk and prevent complications such as infections and delayed wound healing.

Download now
Caring for your diabetes in hospital

It is important that your diabetes is well managed in hospital, regardless for the reason for your admission. Always let your nurses and treating doctors know that you have diabetes.


Diabetes Australia acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of this Country. We recognise their connection to land, waters, winds and culture. We pay the upmost respect to them, their cultures and to their Elders, past and present. We are committed to improving health outcomes for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people affected by diabetes and those at risk.

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