Paula Deen – An Opportunity for Education

Paula Deen has been all over the news this week…as you may know, she went on the Today Show on Tuesday to announce that she was diagnosed with Type II diabetes three years ago.  She also used the opportunity to announce that she is now a paid spokesperson for a diabetes drug.  And have you heard about her son’s new cooking show where he takes her recipes and makes them “lighter, lean, yet still delicious” ?  I’d like to see what the lighter, leaner version of a Lady’s Brunch Burger actually is.  This little breakfast treat includes a donut, bacon, eggs, and a beef patty.  Yikes!  I think my arteries just clogged up a little.

Deen has told critics that she has always told her followers to eat her cooking recommendations “in moderation“.  While it seems that Deen waited to announce her diagnoses until she had an endorsement signed, there is a silver lining.  Deen has people talking about Type II diabetes–a disease that 25.8 million Americans have (that’s 8% of the population).  More people may talk to their doctor and get tested and the attention brought upon diabetes by Deen’s revelation may make people more aware of eating and exercise habits.  Deen told USA Today that, other than adding in daily walks and avoiding sweet tea, she hasn’t made many dietary changes saying, “I don’t want to spend my life not having good food going into my pie hole.”  Deen is choosing to modulate her diabetes through a drug rather than committing to a healthy lifestyle.  I’m not sure that’s the kind of diet and lifestyle message that is needed to combat diabetes.

Forks Over Knives posted a short YouTube video of Dr. Neal Barnard (founder and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine PCRM) talking about Type I and II diabetes and a brief overview of the science that supports that a plant-strong diet can help diabetes patients to bring blood sugar levels down, take off pounds, and follow a manageable and healthy eating plan.

Deen’s journey will, most likely, be a public one that will continue to unfold.  Maybe she’ll bypass butter, peach cobbler, banana pudding, and pumpkin pie and instead get her fix from the flavored lip balms she sells that come in all of the above flavors.


Questions:  What’s your take on Paula Deen?  Is she the appropriate spokesperson for a diabetes drug?  Should she re-create her recipes or stick with her signature cooking style?

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