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Randy Jackson Tackles Weight Loss, Diet, and Diabetes

American Idol judge reveals how he lost 100 pounds and tamed his diabetes. Plus, a slimmed-down recipe and his iPod playlist!

Randy Jackson's Weight Loss continued...

Health experts approve Jackson’s approach. “We know that Americans can lose weight, they just can’t sustain their weight loss,” explains Francine R. Kaufman, MD, head of the Diabetes Center at the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles and a distinguished professor of pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California. “Jackson’s message is to do ‘the best I can today and keep pushing each day,’ and that’s the right one.”

Knowing yourself also helps. Obviously, he can dish it out as an Idol judge, often calling contestants’ renditions of classic tunes “pitchy,” but even at his heaviest Jackson was no easy target for ticked-off Idol wannabees. “If someone called me fat, I was like ‘Dude, I’ve got a mirror, you ain’t telling me nothing I don’t already know.’”

So what finally clicked for Jackson, who was looking pretty large when Kelly Clarkson took home the title in 2002 and comparatively svelte when David Cook brought down the house at the end of season seven last May? “I barely recognize myself when I look back at old shows,” he says. “Although the transformation may have seemed abrupt to viewers, I had been trying to lose weight for a long time.” He’s tried as many diets as there have been finalists over the years. “Liquid fasts. Bee stings. Urine of pregnant women. You name it. I have tried it,” he says, exaggerating a bit. “The problem is that those diets don’t work for people who have the disease of obesity.”

Randy Jackson's Diabetes

Getting diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2001 was the final straw for Jackson, who had no choice but to start taking his health seriously. And while this set him on his current path, there were -- and still are -- some bumps along the way. “The struggle continues,” he says. “It never ends.”

At the time of his diagnosis, Jackson found himself in the emergency room after feeling tired, thirsty, sweaty, and dizzy for five days. He was 45 at the time.

Even though he was at higher risk for type 2 diabetes due to his weight, ethnicity, and family history, the diagnosis caught him off guard. Both his parents had what he calls “the sugar,” but, ever protective of their children, they didn’t really share much about their struggles with the disease.

Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes and the form most closely associated with obesity. It occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells do not properly use the insulin. Over time, high blood sugar levels may harm the eyes, kidneys, nerves, or heart.

“When you grow up with ‘the sugar’ in your family, there are a lot of decisions you could make, such as cut back on this or cut back on that and do more of this or more of that, but you never think it will happen to you,” he says.

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