While preparing to play Steve Jobs in the 2013 movie Jobs, Ashton Kutcher went on a strict raw fruit and vegetable diet—and it led him to be hospitalized twice, according to his wife Mila Kunis. In a new episode of Hot Ones on YouTube, Kunis shared new details about the way Kutcher's extreme eating habits affected his health.
Previously, Kutcher appeared on this show himself and said that he'd developed pancreatitis after drinking too much carrot juice. So, host Sean Evans asked Kunis about her memories of the experience. “He's downplaying it," she replied. “He was so dumb. He also, I think, only ate grapes at one point.”
She continued, “It was so stupid. We ended up in the hospital twice with pancreatitis. So, fact check, yes. It was really dumb.”
In his 2019 Hot Ones episode, Kutcher recalled the painful experience. “I was studying [Steve Jobs's] eating habits and his behaviors and was told that he drank a lot of carrot juice. So I started drinking carrot juice non-stop, like, all day long,” he said. “Two weeks before we went to start shooting, all of a sudden I had this pain in my back. And through the night it got worse and worse and worse. I ended up in the hospital on the maximum dose of Dilaudid because my pancreas was, like, crazy out of whack.”
Pancreatitis is a condition in which the pancreas becomes inflamed, and it can be either acute or chronic (meaning it comes and goes multiple times or is an ongoing issue). For most people, pancreatitis is a painful but short-term illness that goes away within a few days with treatment, which might include pain medication (like the Dilaudid that Kutcher received), the Mayo Clinic explains. Severe bouts of pancreatitis can be exceedingly painful and lead to serious complications, such as kidney failure, infection in the pancreas, and damage to the pancreas that can increase your risk for diabetes or pancreatic cancer.
It's not entirely clear how restrictive eating habits or malnutrition might cause pancreatitis, but researchers have noted that it's not an uncommon condition among people with eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. Pancreatitis occurs when digestive enzymes that the pancreas makes become activated inside the organ, causing inflammation and damage. Some studies have shown that malnutrition can cause damage to pancreatic cells and ducts, possibly making pancreatitis more likely. But experts are still investigating the exact mechanisms involved.
So if you notice any symptoms that could be signs of pancreatitis (such as intense back or upper abdomen pain along with a fever, nausea, vomiting, tenderness, or a rapid heart rate), you should follow Kutcher's example and get medical attention.
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