x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Eid feasts can be a struggle, admits UAE diabetic

Temptation is all around at Eid but one diabetes sufferer knows to exercise control.

Diabetes sufferer Mohammed Naji Abdullah will try a bit of everything on the first day of Eid, but only eat small portions. Sarah Dea / The National
Diabetes sufferer Mohammed Naji Abdullah will try a bit of everything on the first day of Eid, but only eat small portions. Sarah Dea / The National

ABU DHABI // Mohammed Naji Abdulla knows just how important it is to maintain his sugar levels.

The 31-year-old Emirati had Type 2 diabetes diagnosed eight years ago, and while he anticipates being faced with temptation during the Eid Al Fitr festivities, Mr Abdulla said he will be celebrating with caution to avoid dangerous side-effects to his condition.

"On the first day of Eid there is so much food; sweets, desserts, traditional food everywhere," said Mr Abdulla, of Jumeirah, Dubai. "You go from house to house visiting family and friends and you are expected to eat so much."

He admitted he would probably "try a bit of everything" on the first day of Eid to join in with the celebrations but said he sticks to small portions.

"You cannot control the food that is being offered but you can control the portions that you eat," said Mr Abdulla.

During family gatherings at Eid, he tends to avoid sweets or high-calorie food his doctors have warned him about.

Mr Abdulla, who is director of international business for du, said he tended to have a rule of eating "85 per cent healthy, 15 per cent unhealthy".

"It can be a struggle," he said. "But, then again, diabetes is a daily challenge. You need to find a balance to control your condition."

It is about finding a healthier alternative to satisfy sweet cravings, Mr Abdulla said.

As in previous Eid celebrations, he will have fresh fruit salads and small portions of sweets.

The alternative, he said, is not worth the risk.

Daily exercise will also help keep a healthy balance during the four days of festivities, he said. "Exercise will compensate for all the extra calories," he said. "I will try to do at least a 30-minute walk each day. I would recommend the same for anyone else who has diabetes."

jbell@thenational.ae