How Larry King Keeps His Blood Sugar in Check

Find out what three rules this TV and radio host follows to help manage his diabetes.

Health Monitor Staff
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After surviving a heart attack and bypass surgery in 1987, TV and radio host Larry King thought his health troubles were over. But in 1995, King was stunned when his doctor told him he had type 2 diabetes. Before his heart attack, Larry admits that “I wasn’t a very good patient. After that, I became a very good patient.” He gave up his three-pack-a-day smoking habit, got his weight down and adopted a healthier lifestyle.

There were no warning signs that he had diabetes; it was discovered during a routine physical. “Diabetes is a silent killer,” Larry shares. “That’s one of its problems.” And that’s one reason why Larry is doing his part to disseminate information about the disease.

In the meantime, Larry is keeping his blood sugar in check with a three-pronged approach to managing his disease—“good food, exercise and meds” he declares. “Three rules, and none of them are hard.” 

Rule #1: Eat what you love.
Since his diagnosis, Larry steers clear of some old staples (liver with fried onions, lemon meringue pie) and piles his plate with fresh fruits and vegetables. These days, blueberries often top his cereal, salads are a lunchtime mainstay and lean meats are his preferred protein. And one of his cardinal rules makes healthy eating a whole lot easier: “I won’t eat anything I don’t like, and I won’t eat bland food.” The TV icon has also learned it’s not just what you eat, but when you eat it that helps with blood sugar control. He’s long abandoned the old standard of three meals a day for frequent small meals: “If you go for a long period without eating, you can get very lightheaded.” In case of a blood sugar low, Larry keeps juice or candy like M&Ms handy.

Rule #2: Keep exercise fun.
King shoots for at least a half hour of activity a day. His favorite exercise? Dancing! Something he’s been known to fit in as many as three times a week: “I like swing, a lot of the Latin dances, and I like to dance to Sinatra. I like dancing where you touch the other person, where we can sway.” 

Rule #3: Be a model patient.
The septuagenarian never fails to follow his treatment plan. It’s just one part of his model-patient approach that also includes regular checkups: “I have my eyes and legs checked every six months. The doctors look for signs of any weakness,” shares Larry, who also stresses the importance of doing your homework. “Once you have diabetes, knowledge is a great protector,” he says. “Good information is readily available. Take advantage of that. The more you know, the better off you are.

“Just…be wise,” adds Larry. “Really. It’s your body so take care of it. You only go around once.” 

April 2013