Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

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!

Diabetes Symptoms Can Be Invisible

Jackson feels fortunate that he caught his diabetes when he did. “Things can jump up and surprise you,” he says. “I thought I had a cold,” he says, still shocked seven years later that he didn’t make the connection.

Jackson’s case isn’t unusual. “You can function reasonably well until things are about 90 percent down,” Buse says.

“A normal blood sugar is 100 milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL), and it’s rare to have symptoms until your blood sugar is twice as high as that.” When Jackson found himself in the ER, his blood sugar was more than 500 mg/dL. Plus, when there are symptoms, they are pretty nonspecific, such as waking up at night to urinate, blurred vision, and fatigue. And even these signs don’t always show up.

“Of the six or seven million people who have diabetes and don’t know it, almost none would have any symptoms,” Buse says. That’s why many people don’t know they have it until they have a stroke or a heart attack.

“More people probably know who Kelly Clarkson is than realize that diabetes is connected to cardiovascular disease and stroke,” Jackson says.

Randy Jackson's Gastric Bypass Surgery

Jackson has teamed up with the American Heart Association to lead the Heart of Diabetes campaign (, which provides information and tools to help people with type 2 better manage their disease.

He also leads childhood obesity prevention and treatment programs in East and South Los Angeles.“Obese kids are made fun of in school and we are trying to lighten their loads,” Jackson says. “We want to get to them and teach them to adopt healthy lifestyles before they need gastric bypass surgery.”

In 2003, Jackson chose to undergo gastric bypass surgery, in which a surgeon creates a smaller stomach pouch to curb food intake by stapling a portion of the stomach. Put another way: The once-larger stomach is now the size of a golf ball. As a result, a person feels full sooner and eats less.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
Home Healthcare

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner