She’s one of the Food Network’s most popular hosts. For years millions of aspiring home chefs have tuned into Paula Deen’s shows, bought her books and strived for her Southern culinary perfection. Even as the country slowly collapses under the weight of an obesity epidemic, Deen continued to take to the airwaves peddling her yummy, yet artery clogging recipes. She continued to push an unhealthy diet to American viewers even as she fell victim to the perils of an unhealthy diet.
Recently Paula Deen revealed to the world that she has Type 2 diabetes….and has had it for three years. Immediately there was public outrage towards Deen for concealing her status and continuing to fatten up America. Causing even more outrage was the fact that Deen made the announcement the same day she began a new campaign as a paid spokesperson for Novo Nordisk called Diabetes in a New Light, and the same month as the debut of her son Bobby Deen’s show on the Cooking Channel called “Not My Mama’s Cooking,” which fueled talks of Paula Deen simply wanting to make a buck.
Fans of the Southern butter queen agreed and were none too happy about Paula Deen’s admission, with one fan taking to her Facebook page to say:
“[Y]ou have lied to the public for the past three years — during this time you opened two buffets in Harrah’s casinos, written books and had your TV show! … You are/were a PUBLIC FIGURE and lied to your public by not coming out and saying you were diabetic! oh, but I guess you would have lost the buffets at the casinos which I know rack in $$$.”
When she appeared on the Today show Deen didn’t seem to take her critics or diabetes that serious at all saying that she was on the program to let people know diabetes “is not a death sentence, ” and rebuffing critics saying, “Honey I’m your cook, not your doctor. You are going to have to be responsible for yourself.” She also went on to downplay the seriousness of the disease by comparing diabetes to Russian Roulette saying “It’s about heredity. It’s about age, lifestyle, race. I’m the only one in my family who has it. My grandmother cooked and ate like I ate, and she didn’t have it.” It may be okay for Paula Deen to downplay the seriousness of Type 2 diabetes, but for millions it is serious business.
About 26 million people in the United States have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC estimates another 79 million Americans over age 20 have pre-diabetes, or elevated glucose levels. There are two major forms of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 2 is the most common. Type 2 is often called adult-onset diabetes because it develops over time due to low activity levels and a poor diet that causes excess body weight. Diabetes can lead to kidney failure, blindness, lower limb amputations, heart disease and stroke. It is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, according to the CDC.
Still think it’s not a death sentence now Ms. Deen?
Do you think Paula Deen is making light of diabetes? Does she have a responsibility as a public figure to promote healthier eating, especially with her diagnosis?