Chaka Khan lost 60 pounds and improved her diabetes with a vegan diet.
by China DeSpain
Categories: Eats, Music, Vegan
Tags: .
Photo: Debby Wong /

She shocked viewers with her slimmed-down, catsuited appearance at the “American Idol” finale last month, and Chaka Khan is opening up on exactly how she achieved her new look.

The legendary singer credits the change to her new vegan diet, which included a four-month juice fast. Now 60 pounds lighter, Khan told HuffPo that the weight loss was necessary to manage her medical conditions.

“My weight loss had to occur, because I was diagnosed with Type-2 Diabetes and I also had high blood pressure,” she said. “And I’ve been on medication for that since last year until the beginning of this year.”

Khan also explained that she needed to improve her health to care for her granddaughter.

“I ended up going, ‘Oh, no, no, no, no, this is enough. I can’t live like this.’ And I have a new little daughter to raise [my granddaughter], I adopted her so I have to be here…[She] was really my first and major influence to lose weight and get healthy so I can be here for her. What I did was stopped eating and went on a strict unconditional fast for a couple of months. And went off meat, became vegan, stopped all the dairy, stopped all the meat.”

Khan’s also approaching her career with new vigor, now that she’s in better shape. She’s celebrating 40 years in the industry by recording new music, as well as pursuing other opportunities.

“I’m not playing it so safe. I feel like I have no boundaries, musically, right now. There are none. Any restrictions that I place upon [the music], I place them on myself…A lot of doors have opened significantly for me since I dropped the weight. And I have mixed reactions to that, but I’m going to strike the iron while it’s hot. So there’s been lots of meetings with lots of people. I’m coming out with a perfume line called, Khanasutra, a line of candles, and Chaka Lips for the holidays.”

The one weight-loss side effect that she’s not concerned with? Her status as a sex symbol.

“Well, I’ve always been a sex symbol. When I was fat I was a sex symbol. Some men like it that, you know. But I don’t think about that. That’s so far from my mind right now.”

About China DeSpain

China DeSpain is a San Antonio-based writer and blogger. She loves pop culture, animal rights, health and fitness, international travel, books and wigs. Follow China on Twitter: @ChinaDeSpain

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  • Carol D. Durante

    It is hard to stop eating meat! I tried it last week and all I wanted was some meat!!! Too funny!! I guess I better try another diet, becuz I can’t do the vegan thingy. LOL

    • Iris M. Gross

      What you mean to say is you don’t WANT to do the vegan thingy. Nothing funny about it. Just admit it and feel good about your choice, because it is a choice. You don’t want to go that far to achieve that particular goal, and you have to be OK with that & not apologize for your choices. But don’t ever say you “can’t”, as in not allowed or not able.

    • Jenny Holiday

      I want to be HEALTHY so i GOT TO DO THE VEGAN THINGY. :-) If It took me trying several times to quit smoking and I havent smoked for 20 years—I think i can take a CONSTANT TRY AND RE-TRY of this. Thanks for the inspiration Chaka.

  • Cornelius Lassin

    Great story..thanks for sharing

  • Evelyn

    That’s a great testimony! You go, Chaka!

  • Jasmine

    so proud of you

  • Wanda Johnson-Lamon

    You look great, I’m sure you feel great too! Wonderful testimony.

  • Cat G

    KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK! So proud of you and hopefully your testimony and your kindness in sharing how you did it, will help many. Blessings unto you! Must be nice to know you did it yourself and not with the help of a doctor and a skalpel! Kudos!