WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J., May 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced its partnership with celebrity chef Art Smith on Taking Diabetes to Heart, an educational program to help people living with type 2 diabetes better manage the disease. Smith, who lives with type 2 diabetes, will be traveling the country "cooking up" some of his favorite delicious diabetes-friendly recipes, sharing tips for diabetes management, and encouraging people living with type 2 diabetes to work with their health care provider to develop a personalized diabetes-management plan with goals that are right for them. Smith will also be challenging local restaurants and food trucks in select cities to make at least one of their menu items diabetes-friendly.
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Smith, the former personal chef to celebrities and past contestant on the hit shows "Top Chef Masters" and "Iron Chef America," was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2008, when he weighed more than 325 pounds. After his diagnosis, Smith worked with his health care provider to develop a personalized diabetes-management plan and learned simple ways to make some of his favorite dishes more diabetes-friendly. By sticking to this plan, Smith lost more than 100 pounds and now has his diabetes under control.
"As a chef living with type 2 diabetes, I know that managing the way you eat is critical and can be difficult, but it doesn't have to be," Smith explains. "That's why I'm working with Merck on Taking Diabetes to Heart to share my diabetes-friendly recipes that the whole family can enjoy and to work with restaurants and food trucks to make some of their menu items more diabetes-friendly."
By challenging restaurants and food trucks in select cities to feature diabetes-friendly dishes, Smith is also helping to show people with diabetes that they can still enjoy eating delicious meals, even while they are dining out with friends and family.
"Healthy eating is important for people with type 2 diabetes, but it's just one part of a comprehensive diabetes-management plan," says Robin Goland, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at Columbia University and Co-Director of the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. "People with type 2 diabetes should speak to their doctor about a treatment planincluding diet, exercise and, if necessary, medicationthat will help them maintain good control of their blood sugar and better manage the disease."
Most people living with diabetes are aware of the importance of managing high blood sugarone of the defining characteristics of diabeteswhich can lead to serious long-term health problems. However, for individuals on certain diabetes medications, low blood sugar can be caused by skipping meals or excessive exercise, which can make you feel shaky, dizzy, sweaty, hungry, and, sometimes, faint. If you have type 2 diabetes, talk to your health care provider if you experience these symptoms. Your health care provider can recommend changes to your meal plan, exercise plan or medications to address your low blood sugar.
"Merck has remained committed to helping people with type 2 diabetes understand how they can better manage the disease through patient education and practical steps," said Peter Alberti, U.S. marketing leader, Diabetes Franchise, Merck. "We are thrilled Chef Art Smith is sharing his story and demonstrating to people and food providers some simple, tangible ways to make healthier choices."
Visit www.TakingDiabetestoHeart.com for Art's delicious diabetes-friendly recipes, questions to ask your health care provider during your next visit, information about how restaurants and food trucks in your area are participating in the program, and more resources, such as tips on cooking and grocery shopping, to help type 2 diabetes patients and their caregivers better manage the disease.
About Art Smith
Art Smith is an award-winning cookbook author, executive chef and co-owner of 5 restaurants, including Table Fifty-Two in Chicago, Art and Soul in Washington, D.C., Southern Art in Atlanta, Joanne Trattoria in New York, and LYFE Kitchen restaurants in Palo Alto and Culver City, CA.
As the former personal, day-to-day chef to celebrities, Smith has received some of the culinary profession's highest awards and has made regular television appearances on programs such as "Top Chef," "Top Chef Masters" and "Iron Chef America." This year, Art has also released his newest cookbook, "Art Smith's Healthy Comfort." Art is working with Merck on the Taking Diabetes to Heart program to help people living with type 2 diabetes better manage the disease.
About Taking Diabetes to Heart
Taking Diabetes to Heart is an educational program from Merck to help Americans living with type 2 diabetes understand that small, but important, changes in their lifestyle can help them better manage the disease. For more information on Taking Diabetes to Heart, as well as tips on living a diabetes-friendly lifestyle, visit www.TakingDiabetestoHeart.com.
About Type 2 Diabetes
Nearly 26 million people in the United States have diabetes, and 90% to 95% of these people have type 2 diabetes.One of three American men and nearly 2 of 5 American women born in 2000 will develop diabetes sometime during their lifetime.
When someone has type 2 diabetes, the body does not make enough insulin and/or the insulin that the body makes does not work properly. This causes blood sugar levels to become too high, and the body may also keep making sugar even though it does not need it. Once a person has type 2 diabetes, it does not go away, and having diabetes can lead to serious complications, such as heart disease and stroke.
Patients also can reduce their risk of serious complications of diabetes by managing the ABCs of diabetesA1C, also known as blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Type 2 diabetes patients should work with their health care provider to talk about their blood sugar goals and develop a personalized diabetes-management plan that's right for themincluding diet, exercise and, if appropriate, medicationand stick to that plan.
Today's Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer care and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.