Tom Hanks' ability to gain and lose vast amounts of weight for movie roles helped him win Academy Awards, but the yo-yo dieting also likely contributed to his developing diabetes, a top doctor tells Newsmax Health.
However, there are simple steps the superstar actor can take to reverse his disease, says David Brownstein, M.D., a nationally renowned holistic doctor.
Hanks surprised his fans by revealing on The Late Show with David Letterman this week that he has Type 2 diabetes. Hanks, who is relatively trim, does not fit the stereotype of an overweight, inactive person struggling with the disease.
“You don’t have to be overweight to get diabetes,” Dr. Brownstein said. “Type 2 diabetes is the most common type and it is increasing at epidemic proportions throughout the U.S.”
While Hanks has never been considered fat, he is known for his ability to gain and lose weight depending on what a role called for. He has won two Best Actor Oscars and has transformed his body several times. Examples include putting on 30 pounds to play a softball coach in A League of Their Own, and losing 50 pounds to pay play a man stuck on a deserted island in Cast Away.
Everyone’s body has a metabolic “set point,” used to regulate bodily functioning, Dr. Brownstein said. If someone gains too much weight, that set point may remain stubbornly high, despite the person’s losing weight, he said, leading to insulin resistance and diabetes.
Hanks, 57, revealed he has been dealing with high blood glucose levels since age 36, but only recently was diagnosed with diabetes. He volunteered the information to Letterman after the talk show host complimented him on how trim he looked. Hanks reportedly is 6 feet tall and weighs about 185 pounds.
High blood sugar readings may indicate the actor is dealing with insulin resistance, which is the name given when the body’s insulin begins to lose its ability to effectively metabolize glucose, said Dr. Brownstein. Insulin resistance is often a precursor to Type 2 diabetes.
Some 25.6 million adults in the U.S. have diabetes, the majority of whom have the Type 2 variety. The disorder can be managed with medication, including sometimes insulin, and weight loss. But even more important than weight loss is the person’s ability to change the way they eat, said Dr. Brownstein, author of the bestselling book The Guide to Healthy Eating.
Hanks should immediately eliminate all forms of wheat from his diet, even whole wheat, as well as refined sugar, Dr. Brownstein advises. In addition, Hanks should undergo a “milk thistle” liver detoxification program, because the liver produces glucose. He should also have a hormone evaluation to make sure his thyroid gland is functioning properly, he said.
The actor needs to be sure he is consuming adequate iodine, said Dr. Brownstein, adding, “Iodine is very important for insulin sensitivity, and we’ve been able to take people off of insulin by giving them the proper amount of this mineral.”
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