Stories and interesting facts about 10 famous people with diabetes

Actors, writers, musicians and Nobel Prize winners: diabetes even happens to celebrities. Here's a list of VIPs and great performers who live with diabetes. It’s not a question of people with diabetes following their example just because they happen to have it too - it's simply a list of interesting facts and sometimes rather bizarre anecdotes - about their diets and habits.

People with diabetes can win a Nobel Prize or a gold medal at the Olympics. One would never know that some personalities in sports, music and cinema have lived with diabetes for years. It just shows that people with this condition are completely normal and capable of attaining amazing goals in their professional lives.

Diabetes and the life of an Oscar winner

Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks, 57, announced that he has diabetes during an interview on David Letterman's Late Show in 2013. Apparently it's because of bad weight management as a result of his work. In 1992, he gained 13 kg to play the part of baseball player Jimmy Dugan in the film A League of Their Own. In 2000, he had to lose more than 20kg to shoot Cast Away. It's a physical imbalance that is one of the causes of diabetes, according to experts.

Bronze diabetes

The Nobel Prize winner and writer Ernest Hemingway committed suicide in 1961, having survived diabetes, skin cancer, hepatitis and two plane accidents. The author of "The old man and the sea" had hereditary hemochromatosis, also known as "bronze" diabetes. It's a hereditary condition that's a result of a metabolic anomaly, which causes significant amounts of iron to collect in various organs, like the intestine and the pancreas.

5 meals a day to manage diabetes

The main therapy followed by super-fit actress Halle Berry for keeping her diabetes under control is the 5 factor diet. On the anti-diabetes menu are 5 meals a day based on 5 different food groups: lean protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, good fats and a sugar-free drink.

No eating before 3 pm to control diabetes

The first rule of thumb: never eat before 3 pm. As part of the daily routine to manage his diabetes, tenor Luciano Pavarotti, who died in 2007, abstained from eating any food until early afternoon, when he would eat a "lunch" of steak and salad. And for his anti-diabetes dinner, the famous opera singer would have a piece of fish with salad.

The Kremlin diet

Mikhail Gorbachev, the last president of the Soviet Union, lived with his diabetes by following a strict diet known as the Kremlin diet: he only ate cold meals like salads and raw vegetables. As an alternative, simple food like oatmeal soup and risotto were always served, which were well within the rules of a diet for people with diabetes.

Diabetes and Vichy water

The French painter Paul Cézanne, one of the fathers of the Impressionist movement and of modern art, died in the early 1900s as a result of diabetes. In his later years, he was no longer able to distinguish between green and blue as a result of his condition, and tried to contain it by regularly undergoing treatment with the thermal waters in Vichy.

Fight diabetes with a photo in the fridge

Elizabeth Taylor also had diabetes, although she never confirmed it. The actress, who was considered the most beautiful woman in the world in the 1960s, went on a diet at the end of the 1980s and wrote a book about it called "Elizabeth takes off". It was a diet similar to ones around today for dealing with the effects of diabetes. To discourage herself from straying from it, the actress glued a photo of herself at her heaviest inside her fridge.

Diabetes and snowboarding

Despite suffering from diabetes and having to go to the toilet up to 12 times a night when he was a child, Chris Southwell is ranked in the top 20 in the world in snowboarding. To keep his condition under control, he eats 3 meals a day: for breakfast he has fruit and cereal, for lunch a plate of pasta or similar to recharge his carbohydrates, and soup or vegetables for dinner.

Whether it's breast stroke or butterfly, you can swim with diabetes

Woody Allen, the film director, writer and actor has lived with diabetes for years by following a diet and exercise regime that's now become well-known. Every morning he walks around the streets of New York for half an hour, and when work allows, he jumps in the pool and does a few lengths, but it's always strictly breast stroke or butterfly.

A "special" case of diabetes

Cathy Freeman is an Australian sprinter and Olympic champion with diabetes. Thanks to her super-fit physique, she can allow herself a few of the small transgressions normally not permitted for people with diabetes. She doesn't avoid bananas in her diet, even though it's a fruit that's high in sugar that could seriously affect people with her condition who are much less fit, were they not to take the usual precautions.

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