Ever since the news about celebrity chef Paula Deen having Type 2 Diabetes was announced, I have been reading a few articles on it. For those who aren’t aware:
Paula Deen is a TV chef who is known for overly generous use of butter, lard, sugar to cook “Comfort Food”. She was diagnosed with Types 2 Diabetes three years ago and only recently revealed it to the public. There’s quite a bit of controversy around whether or not she should have hid it so I wanted to weigh in:
Being diagnosed with any health condition is never easy, regardless of who you are. It can definitely take a while to come to terms with the reality of it and figuring out what the next step is. I get that. However I’m guessing her decision to stay private about it also had something to do with the fact that her cuisine is linked to Type 2 Diabetes.
What exactly is Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t properly use the insulin which the body makes. Insulin is the hormone made by the pancreas, which helps the body use glucose (aka sugar) from food/drinks. The buildup of glucose in the blood can lead to serious health complications such as improper cell function, harmed organs and increased risk of heart disease. While there are very few instances of Type 2 diabetes that can be attributed to genetics alone, the development has a stronger link to our exercise habits, eating patterns, and weight. Unlike Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 is referred to as ‘slow-onset’ diabetes.
Each to their own but I personally think that Paula Deen’s approaching her diagnosis less than optimally. Although she is a paid spokesperson for the diabetic drug Novo Nordisk, drugs alone aren’t the answer. I’m no doctor but I do know that lifestyle modifications are always the first line of prevention and treatment for Type 2 diabetes. In other words, feel free to continue popping those pills but also modify your eating habits and start incorporating regular exercise into your days.
As of now, Paula has no plans to make any major changes to her cooking methods. Am I the only one who finds it ironic that the spokesperson for a diabetic drug company simultaneously cooks calorie-laden, decadent dishes…and also slightly hypocritical?? When you are promoting a style of cooking and the use of certain ingredients, don’t shy away from the reality of it: foods high in fat and sugar contribute to Type 2 Diabetes.
“Honey, I’m your cook, not your doctor. You are going to have to be responsible for yourself.” – Paula Deen
She’s right she’s no doctor. While I’m all for moderation, there’s a limit especially when your life is on the line. She is in the public eye so if anything, she should consider her diagnosis as an opportunity to educate her viewers and those who can learn from her situation. Much of the reason why people don’t adopt a healthier lifestyle is because of lack of knowledge. In addition to using her status to promote medication, I hope that Paula will eventually introduce healthier recipes on her show as proof that it is possible to enjoy delicious food without having to deep-fry a cheesecake or chugging melted butter. Sure she once banked on her ‘comfort’ style of cooking but there’s no reason why she can’t now bank on being a celebrity chef who teaches the public ways to change their eating habits to manage/treat diabetes.
And that, my friends, is my $0.02.