After dealing with blood sugar fluctuations for years, Tom Hanks has discovered that he has type 2 diabetes. He made the announcement on the David Letterman show on October 7, saying, "I went to the doctor and he said, ‘You know those high blood sugar numbers you’ve been dealing with since you were 36, well, you’ve graduated. You’ve got type 2 diabetes, young man,’” reported ABC News on October 8.
In contrast to type 1 diabetes, which impacts the pancreas cells that produce insulin, type 2 diabetes affects how the body metabolizes sugar. And as Tom said in a recent interview, type 2 diabetes can be controlled. However, the diagnosis means lifestyle changes.
“Type 1 diabetes is very bad. Type 2 diabetes is controllable,” said Tom. “You’ve just got to lose weight and exercise a lot and change everything you eat and never ever ever ever ever have any fun whatsoever.”
To look realistic in different roles, Tom became a yo-yo dieter. He gained weight for “Captain Phillips,” then lost weight for “Philadelphia.” Tom gained 30 pounds to star in "A League of Their Own" - and then lost 55 pounds to appear in "Cast Away." Did all those weight fluctuations have an impact on Tom's transition from pre-diabetes to diabetes? Yes, said expert Dr. Holly Phillips, according to U.S. News & World Report on October 8.
And that yo-yo dieting also can make it harder to lose weight, says a nutritionist.
"Actors losing and gaining weight repeatedly, although admiral in showing the dedication to their craft, just isn't a good thing," expert nutritionist Ian Marber told the UK Telegraph on October 9. "Dramatic changes in weight interrupts the metabolic rate. Even if you're losing, or gaining, at a less dramatic speed repeatedly, say at a loss of five to 10 pounds, it still 'confuses' your metabolism," he warns.
Tom's doctor told him to lose weight, but the actor is dubious about how much weight he can shed.
"My doctor said 'If you can weigh as much as you weighed in high school you will essentially be completely healthy and will not have type 2 diabetes,'" said Tom to David Letterman. "And I said, 'Well, I'm gonna have type 2 diabetes cause there is no way I can weigh as much as I did in high school.'"
And the fact that he's gone through those weight fluctuations and is older will make it that much harder, said Ian.
"I suspect those actors who have lost weight and put it back on regularly will find it much harder to take off extra pounds when they're older," he adds.