Halle Berry health: Star had to totally ‘re-spin’ lifestyle due to diabetes diagnosis

Moonfall: Official Trailer starring Halle Berry and John Bradley

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Type 1 diabetes is a long-term condition where blood sugar levels (glucose) rise too high as the body cannot produce enough insulin – a hormone that is essential in breaking down sugar and fuelling our bodies. Although individuals with diabetes still produce glucose from food, there is no insulin to allow it into the body’s cells, causing dangerously high sugar levels which can put individuals into diabetic comas. Berry was diagnosed with the condition in her early 20s. Since then there have been conflicting reports over whether she suffers from type 1 or type 2 diabetes, but regardless of the type, the actress and former model has been vocal about the highs and lows of her condition.

“It was a moment I’ll never forget,” Berry said when speaking about her diagnosis. “I had to re-spin the way I lived my life and have carried that with me ever since.”

In the past the star has also been reported to talk about the “inconvenience” of her condition, saying that her need to inject with insulin has interrupted important meetings and jobs.

Back in 2020, Berry spoke about the “risk” she felt concerning COVID-19, as individuals with diabetes were said to be at higher risk of “serious illness”, if they caught the contagious virus.

In an interview at the time Berry said: “I do feel at risk. I’m very strict about quarantining and who is in my bubble.

“We have a whole section of the house: When you go out in the world and buy something, it has to sit in this purgatory.”

It has not just been Covid that Berry’s diabetes has put her more at risk of. Whilst filming John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, which was released in 2019, the actress broke three ribs.

Initially worrying that she had some type of bone cancer or early osteoporosis, the star soon found out the incident may have been linked to her diabetes.

She said: “I couldn’t understand why this was happening to me when I was really physically fit. I have a propensity to fracture bones faster than other people”. According to recent research, people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are at a higher risk of bone fracture and may have more difficulty healing from a breakage.

Despite these various challenges, one of the main ways which the star states has helped her cope with the condition is nutrition, specifically a ketogenic diet.

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes, according to the NHS can include the following:

  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Peeing more than usual, particularly at night
  • Feeling very tired
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Thrush that keeps coming back
  • Blurred vision
  • Cuts and grazes that are not healing
  • Fruity-smelling breath.

Over time, if high blood sugar levels are not monitored, they can damage the heart, eyes, feet and kidneys. These are known as the complications of diabetes.

Talking about her decision to follow a strict keto diet Berry said: “Because I’m diabetic, nutrition has been a big part of my life and for the past almost 30 years I have been following the ketogenic lifestyle.”

In simple terms, the keto diet is a low-carb diet with the idea that individuals get more calories from protein and fats rather than carbohydrates. Berry went on to claim that the diet offers benefits such as weight loss but also gives her more energy and better mental performance.

In reference to keto, Berry encouraged her seven million followers to not think of it as a diet, but more of a lifestyle change. However, despite the star’s high praise for the specific lifestyle, the keto diet has come under scrutiny in the past.

In 2019, Journalist Stephanie Nuzzo followed Berry’s keto diet for a week and revealed that she felt nauseated for the first two days while also experiencing headaches and fatigue. Writing a story concerning her findings she said: “Using a combination of Berry’s Instagram account and interviews with her trainer, I formed an idea of the actress’ food plan and ran with it.”

“I drank coffee in the morning with a teaspoon of MCT oil and unsweetened almond milk. My meals were usually made with eggs or a meat protein along with vegetables, avocado and cheese. Occasionally I used tofu noodles or shredded zucchini instead of grains. The tofu wasn’t bad, but zucchini is not even a close substitute for pasta.”

Diabetes UK explains that those with type 1 diabetes should not have to monitor their diet in the slightest due to their condition.

This is because type 1 diabetes can be relatively well managed, due to the advancement of technologies such as insulin pens and pumps. These devices help individuals to inject themselves with insulin. An insulin pump specifically is a battery-operated device that gives you insulin regularly throughout the day. It’s an alternative to injecting but it’s only available to people with type 1 diabetes.

Saying this, the website continues to say that individuals should try to include some carbohydrates in their meals, as without this, blood glucose levels may drop too low. Healthier carbohydrates include:

  • Wholegrains
  • Starchy foods
  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Unsweetened yoghurt and milk
  • Nuts and seeds.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, foods and drinks high in sugar can increase blood glucose levels extremely quickly. This includes fruit juices. Instead, type 1 diabetics should aim to drink water, sugar-free and diet soft drinks.

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