Eating Dates on Ramadan: A Keto Perspective

I wanted to talk about eating Dates during Ramadan, in the context of staying in Ketosis. I know a lot of Muslims on Keto are thinking about this too. We all know that it’s Sunnah to break the fast with Dates, according to the hadith as narrated by Abu Dawood:

“If you have a date, break your fast with it, if you don’t have it, break the fast with water as it is purifying.”

The Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)

I don’t have to go on a lengthy discussion on the nutritional benefits of Date fruits (Tamir). We acknowledge its health benefits: it has anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber! It’s just not Keto-friendly. It’s high carb because it’s high in fructose. Fructose is another form of glucose, which we limit on a Ketogenic Diet.

One piece of date has approximately 7-10g net carbs. So if you’re doing Standard Keto, that’s already half of your daily carb allowance. How can you stay in Ketosis during Ramadan? The truth is, you might need to switch to Carnivore Keto if you really want to stay below 20g net carbs.

That said, Ramadan only comes once a year. We’ll be dry fasting for at least 14 hours. If we eat sensibly after our fasts, we can still reap the benefits of a low-carb diet even if we’re kicked out of Ketosis. It’s still way better than how we used to indulge in the past.

The Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:
“The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat a few morsels to keep him alive. If he must fill it, then one-third for his food, one-third for his drink, and one-third for air.”

(al-Tirmidhi –saheeh by al-Albaani)

So here’s a suggestion: eat one piece of date fruit to break the fast, then strive to keep everything else low carb and in moderation. Ramadan was never about daily feasts, it was about mindfulness of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), repentance, and empathy to people less fortunate. In fact, you’ll be fulfilling another important commandment from Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) as it’s also in the Holy Quran to eat in moderation.

“and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)) likes not those who waste by extravagance”

Surah al-A’raaf 7:31

Tips for Staying Low Carb and Energetic During Ramadan

  1. Eat a filling Suhoor. Make sure to eat, try not to skip this meal as it will make fasting more tolerable. I suggest eating something with fat, like fresh Avocados, Avocado shakes, Chia seeds with cream, Keto bread with butter, eggs and some form of meat. Fat will fuel you as you go about your day after Fajr. Activated Chia seeds are also very filling and can help you stave off hunger pangs for longer.
  2. Avoid caffeine before Suhoor to avoid its diuretic effect. This way you won’t pee so much, and you won’t get dehydrated during the fast.
  3. Gently break your fast, don’t gorge yourself. Opt for soft meals like soups but keep it low carb.
  4. Try not to eat too much before Taraweeh, so you won’t feel drowsy during the long prayer. It’s also harder to do rakats when we have a full stomach. Imagine burping and acid reflux during Sujood. Yikes!
  5. You can try to drink Bulletproof Coffee before Taraweeh for energy and mental clarity. This way you can focus on the Taraweeh prayers. Use cocoa if you’re not a fan of coffee.
  6. For dinner, eat meat, leafy greens, and nuts. Make sure that you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs. Drink plenty of water and replenish your electrolytes. This is the time to take your multivitamins or medications.

Lastly, remember that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will not burden us beyond our capability. Do not overthink it. He knows what is in our hearts and intentions. Verily, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is the best of planners.

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