Primary Care Physician
Dr. Orrange received her BA in Biology at the University of California, San Diego, and a Masters Degree in Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. She received her MD from the USC Keck School of…
Paula Deen and Diabetes: Are you Offended?
Posted in Diabetes Type 2 by Dr. Sharon Orrange on Jan 19, 2012
Paula Deen’s show and cookbooks are heavily laden with fat, rich cream, bacon, meats, and cheesy pastas. Should we be surprised that she has adult onset diabetes? No. Should we feel weird that she knew it for three years, did her cooking show without mention of lower carb options or the importance of eating that stuff in moderation? Maybe. Is it weird she made the announcement only with the paid backing of Novo Nordisk who makes insulin and other diabetes products? Yes.

Novo Nordisk makes Novolog and Levemir insulin, Prandin and Victoza among other diabetes products. Paula Deen is now a paid spokesperson for them. Novo Nordisk is doing quite well financially with this current increase in adults being diagnosed with diabetes. Novo Nordisk playing a role in a show promoting fat filled, high carb, and meat filled dinners should make us all feel weird.

Adult onset diabetes should be thought of as a preventable illness. Don’t get me wrong, some of my patients work their butts off to prevent the onset of diabetes, yet eventually need medications. Remember though, that adult onset diabetes first declares itself as insulin resistance or “pre-diabetes.” At that point, a diet and exercise regimen, avoiding the kinds of food Paula Deen cooks on her show, can help prevent the onset of diabetes and the need for insulin. It would have been nice for diabetic Paula Deen to mention modifications that can be made to her recipes, which she now intends to do, without the incentive pay from Novo Nordisk.

Now, does every adult watching her show know that food is bad for you? Sure. It is our responsibility to know that yummy foods like the ones she makes should only be eaten in moderation. Similarly, I have kids who watch skateboard stunts on TV (on Jackass) and end up in the ER with a broken wrist. Some of it is our responsibility.

What are your thoughts? Diabetes is no joke. It is still the number one reason people are on dialysis for diabetes related kidney failure, the number one cause of non-traumatic limb amputation, the cause of blindness, and of course increases your risk of stroke and heart disease. Is Paula Deen’s financial backing from the drug company making insulin-while she promotes foods terrible for diabetes- offensive?

- Dr O.

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Displaying comments 33-14 of 33
Come on Doc. Everyone knows(!) the type of food/meals she prepares are pure luxury and a steady intake will shorten your life span. It's a choice people make on a daily basis. Salad? Or that greasy cheeseburger. For God's sake, let people live their lives free to make their own choices.
By Beavershockey  Mar 08, 2015
Like it or not we cannot legislate morality or good health. The decision(s) of what to put in our mouth should not be based upon the choices of others. It is incumbent upon the individual (cook, TV star or restaurant patron) to consider all the relevant information when making decisions. So is PD a "diabetes" pusher. In my opinion she is a free marketeer. She is now a diabetic and could probably have a rebith of her show with an emphasis on "more healthy" eating.
By MyHappyFeet  Jul 07, 2012
I agree with rmb. When Martha Stewart demonstrates a cocktail recipe, you don't blame her for alcoholism. Even if most of Paula's cuisine is full of fat and cholesterol, everyone's been told since they were children that you need a balanced diet with nutritious food -- vitamins and fiber and a minimum of fat.
By Spiky  Jul 04, 2012
Interesting.........gather a following of food lovers. The following of food lovers prepare, cook and eat food represented by Paula Deen. Paula Deen knows she has diabetes all along and knows these types of foods are not good and could possibly even CAUSE diabetes. She then obtains or already had a contract Novo Nordisk. Maybe Novo Nordisk assisted with the financing of the Paula Deen show, who knows? But whatever the case, they now have new possible diabetic customers after eating the food represented by Paula Deen. So the question is, did she have the diabetes and/or the Novo contract before creating the show? Well, we do know she was silent about her diabetes for a long time before sharing it. It's all to coincidental.......
By MyKidneysBite  May 18, 2012
Mario Batali is obese. Why aren't people yelping about the food he cooks on TV. I mean, mounds of pasta isn't exactly healthy. It certainly seems a double standard. Regardless,I think in this day and age, where diet is now an industry, a reasonable person can determine what is healthy and what is not, what should be eaten in moderation, etc. I watch food shows first to be entertained, and then to become inspired to cook, learn techniques and broaden my ingredients knowledge. Doesn't mean I'm shoving it all in my cake hole.
By rmb  Apr 09, 2012
Now days diabetes fall of young generation. Your like your information. thanks for your compliments!!
By johnlasseter  Mar 11, 2012
And by the way, ssandnes29 I love your thinking! You want to run for some office, I will be first in line to vote for you :)
By DreamryderDi  Feb 12, 2012
I was reading the posts and had to stop before my blood pressure got any higher! People for goodness sake, you were given a brain...USE IT. To blame a lady, or anyone/thing for your woes is the most insane and irresponsible thing in our society, and it continues to get worse. Everyone seems to "need" to have someone/something to blame because gawd forbid they take any blame/responsiblity for themselves! And ya know, maybe if you dont like it turn the channel, or gosh, maybe you could be as daring to turn the tv off and go outside or do something else, 'course then you wouldn't have anyone to blame would you.
By DreamryderDi  Feb 12, 2012
I'm sick and tired of offended people. I really don't think it's anyone's business what the woman eats. I don't think she ever claimed to be a health food expert. Let's also not forget that Type 2 Diabetes could be hereditary . The world really
would be a better place if people minded their own bees wax.
By ssandnes  Feb 08, 2012
A Surgical Cure for Diabetes is a duodenal jejunal bypass
By singingsands29  Jan 23, 2012
Diabetes is a symptom. Like many obesity causing illnesses. It is easy to blame the victims. Western medicine is about just that medicine, and that s what is sold to us. So no I am not surprised she is making money, but she will not get well. The cure for Diabetes is Duodenectomy. Patients who have done the procedure have lost the weight and have been cured from the "illness". Why more doctors are not recommending it to patients? My guess is they practice medicine. Google it!
By singingsands29  Jan 23, 2012
I was kinda Upset with PAULA DEEN but then she is a BUSINESS WOMAN. Just like you and me,We still have a FAMILY to support and Bills to pay.
Ok I hate what she did too,but All of us out there work for companys that Destroys us too,like Company that POLLUTEs the Air or other jobs that make and Serve Fatty/Unhealthy food.We buy phones for our kids knowingly that they could Text and Drive and kill not only them but an inocent person.Im sure you even Offer DRINKs to your Friends and Family even tho you know they are an ALCHOLIC or worse they could turn into one.
PAULA is Old School.Cheffs back in the days,Im sure were sick but continue cook and teach.
Time just have changed, with buying and cooking Healthier.
So I guess I cant BLAME HER but as Long as she is Getting the Word out about DIABETEs and Eating Healthy is ALL GOOD for Me.
I hope I never get DIABETEs....
By SamoanGirl  Jan 23, 2012
A very useful article ..
it was nice that other people also obtain solutions that are effective and safe and free from
Thank you
By andrie09  Jan 22, 2012
I watch Paula's show occasionally. I have heard her say this stuff should be eaten in moderation, not as a daily diet. I feel corn syrup is more to blame than anything else today for diabetes. It is in everything. Why is it even in peanut butter? It is almost impossible for my diabetic father to find foods that don't have it. It was developed then added to food. It was not needed until agribusiness pushed it as a preservative and then diabetes rates soared.
By tiredoldgal  Jan 22, 2012
Personally, I think we should cut Paula some slack and remember the passage from the Bible that says "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone". I think the key to being diabetic and cooking and/or enjoying food like Paula cooks involves MODERATION.
By wlittle  Jan 22, 2012
I am more offended that the media & the general public pick on & criticize a celebrity for what they cook &/or eat, but don't do anything about the public schools that are STILL feeding children food that is just as unhealthy!
By MyTrueColors  Jan 21, 2012
i'm sorry, why should i be offended by that, dr's know i'm sick and are refusing me help (blatantly, refusing me help) food dr's have been treating ppl like that for yrs. if we condemn her and put her out of business, then i will expect to see EVERY fast food restaurant be put out of business as well.

By scaredofdrs  Jan 21, 2012
I remember one ringing comment on one of Ms. Deen's shows on Food Network- the subject of the relative heathiness of her cuisine came up (I forget how), and she fired back, "I'm your cook, not your doctor!"

Denial, followed by sell-out? Much to think about...
By Starduster28  Jan 21, 2012
By JOYHOLY  Jan 21, 2012
I am T2 and am the 4th generation of known diabetics in my family. And I think that the vast majority go through periods of denial. As I can't tolerate any of the oral meds after fighting for 8 years I have just been put on insulin.
Here we do not have ads for drugs or medicines (apart from OTC aspirin/panadol, cough medicine etc) and after reading about this person advertising a drug for diabetes - yes I would be quite angry

BTW is she still cooking her fat and high carb foods?

We have chefs on TV here who cook those sort of dishes - but they always stress - it is something to have now and then NOT every day....they also show gluten free and low carb dishes as well. A pretty good balance as a rule.
By Hathani  Jan 21, 2012

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