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. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130507/NY08613LOGO ) 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.