'The Happy Diabetic' chef cooks it up at the Iowa State Fair

'The Happy Diabetic' chef cooks it up at the Iowa State Fair

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Aug. 17 cooking demonstration coincides with UI research to combat diabetes
Chef Robert Lewis holding a platter of vegetablesChef Robert Lewis, "The Happy Diabetic," will demonstrate how to make Mediterranean Chicken of Love, his favorite dish (pictured here), at the Iowa State Fair Saturday, Aug. 17. Photo by Ryan Ruisch.

Put down that fried-whatever-on-a-stick and sample celebrity Chef Robert Lewis’s “Mediterranean Chicken of Love” dish at the Iowa State Fair—all while learning about new research at the University of Iowa to combat the disease.

Known as “The Happy Diabetic,” Lewis will demonstrate how to make the healthy and tasty dish at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17 in the University of Iowa exhibit space of the Varied Industry Building.

Diagnosed with type-2 diabetes more than 15 years ago, Lewis inspires other diabetics with his passion and culinary expertise. His recipes adhere to common healthy elements such as low carbohydrates, high fiber, fresh vegetables, lean meats, and appropriate portion sizes. Currently working on a third cookbook, he speaks at health fairs, hospitals, and drug-sponsored events around the country.

“I just love this dish’s lush Mediterranean flavors, the various fresh vegetables, and of course the delicious lean chicken, and I just know fair goers will too,” Lewis says of his signature dish.

While noshing on Lewis’s healthy vittles, fairgoers can learn how to participate in the Glycemia Reduction Approaches in Diabetes: A Comparative Effectiveness (GRADE) study. GRADE researchers are seeking volunteers to compare the benefits and risks of common diabetes drugs combined with metformin, the most commonly prescribed medication for type 2 diabetics. The study will last approximately five years.

The UI is one of 38 sites throughout the country participating in the National Institutes of Health-sponsored study, which aims to enroll 5,000 patients nationwide diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Participants will receive free glucose testing supplies, study-related clinic visits, and medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration during the study.

“GRADE differs from any prior research in that it will perform a head-to-head comprehensive comparison of the most commonly used drugs for diabetes over a long period of time,” says William Sivitz, UI professor of internal medicine and principal investigator at the UI site. "The study will not only determine which medications most effectively control blood glucose levels, but also determine individual patient characteristics that are associated with a better or worse response to the different medications. This should provide understanding of how to personalize the treatment of diabetes.”


Tamara Lowe, Internal Medicine, 319-384-8103
Jennifer McConnell, Internal Medicine, 319-356-7506


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