Weighing In on the Paula Deen Debate

By January 20, 2012Nutrition

In case you haven’t turned on the TV or read the news, the Queen of Southern Cuisine, aka Paula Deen, has been hiding her diagnosis of Type II Diabetes for the past few years. She says the reason is because she wanted to come to the table with something. So, is the multi-million dollar endorsement from Novo Nordisk, the pharmaceutical giant that supplies her diabetes mediation, the something she was waiting for?

I’ve never watched her cooking show because there is no way in hell that I would ever cook that way and feed myself or others the poison that she concocts. As I did my research (online not in the kitchen), I was appalled to see her actually make a bacon and egg-topped burger sandwiched between two glazed doughnuts, aptly named, The Heart Attack. WHAAAT!?!

So, it is not a shocker that she was diagnosed with this disease and as she put it on the Today Show, it is not a death sentence. However, Type II Diabetes is a miserable disease and can have severe complications like impaired vision, skin disorders, and neuropathies that could lead to amputations.

On a positive note, Type II Diabetes is preventable and also reversible, which brings me to my point of social responsibility. I am not trying to blast Paula Deen (a la Anthony Bourdain) for teaching thousands, if not millions of people to cook unhealthy, artery-clogging food. However, I do find it, at the very least, distasteful that she reveals it to the public only when she gets in bed with this pharmaceutical company and cashes in on her diagnosis. To be in the public eye for so long, I would expect someone to feel morally obligated to their loyal fans. In this case, I feel that Paula has only given the message that it is okay to eat unhealthy, become obese, and develop a preventable disease because there’s a drug that will help fix it all (which of course it doesn’t). Maybe creating a new show or cookbook that is geared toward health instead of disease would be nice? Or, should we as viewers become more selective to the programs we watch and cookbooks that we buy? There’s my two cents. Want to “weigh in” on this debate?

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