Tom Hanks has been battling a health problem since 2013 when he disclosed that he has type 2 diabetes. He admits to having danced blindly through life, part of the “lazy American generation,” without worrying too much about his diet and health.
Now he suffers from a serious disease, which has been eye opening for the actor. He says that doing an extreme diet, which resulted in dramatic weight gain and weight loss for movie roles, likely played a large part in his diabetes diagnosis.
Eating all that food that wasn’t good for him, and then not exercising to maintain whatever weight he did gain, could not have been healthy, he says. Hindsight is 20/20, and Hanks calls himself an “idiot” for not seeing the red flags and making changes sooner to stall the onset the disease.
Hanks had some idea that this was coming down the line because since the age of 36, his doctor had been warning him about high blood sugar numbers. Years later, the doctor told him that he’d “graduated” into type 2 diabetes, a diagnosis that cannot be reversed and requires insulin and major lifestyle changes to manage.
Type 2 diabetes is a lifelong disease. The pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, or it doesn’t properly use the insulin that it does make, and the end result is sugar that builds up in the blood instead of being used for energy.
If you are predisposed to Type 2 diabetes, as Hanks has said he was, you can still develop it no matter how careful you are with your diet and overall lifestyle choices. A healthy lifestyle can delay the onset of diabetes, and very seldom can a diagnosis can be reversed, but that isn’t the normal path and progression of the disease.
Avoiding bad food and unhealthy diets is simply a wise choice to make in order to prevent diabetes and the onset of other diseases. You can never go wrong by eating whole healthy foods.
The Diabetes Diet
A diet rich in whole grains and fiber and non-starchy plant foods, along with a limited intake of sugars – even from certain fruit – can help keep blood sugar levels in diabetics stable. Maintaining a slower increase in blood sugar and insulin is the fundamental goal in diabetes management.
Avoiding processed foods, junk foods, refined carbohydrates, trans fats, and simple sugars is encouraged, and some diabetics can’t have them at all. Every case is different as every individual is different.
A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, whole grains, and legumes is a great place to start if you have diabetes and can’t get access to a dietician to help you plan the foods you should eat.
Watch for hidden sugars; they’re in so many products, such as cereals, tomato sauce, and breads. Become an avid label reader and know what’s in your food. Eating whole foods eliminates this worry because they have one ingredient: the food that it is.
“Tom Hanks Before and After Weight Loss,” PK Baseline- How Celebs Get Skinny and Other Celebrity News web site, August 17, 2016; https://www.pkbaseline.com/tom-hanks-weight-loss, last accessed September 2, 2016.
Chai, C., “Tom Hanks and Type 2 diabetes: Here’s how you can stave off the disease,” Global News web site, May 18, 2016; http://globalnews.ca/news/2708965/tom-hanks-and-type-2-diabetes-heres-how-you-can-stave-off-the-disease/, last accessed September 2, 2016.