Paula Deen Faces ‘Music’ For Her Diabetes Announcement
If there is one thing Paula Deen, the butter and heavy cream belle of the South, is not going to get out of her recent diabetes announcement, it is public sympathy! Initial reactions to Deen’s announcements are ranging between outrage, disbelief, and disgust. All this because Deen was struggling to come to terms with her diagnosis while she was recommending high-calorie and high-fat recipes to her viewers on television.
1) The Paula Deen Story
The 65-year-old cooking expert chose NBC’s “Today Show” to reveal to the world her condition, which was diagnosed three years ago. She said on Tuesday, “I’ve always said, ‘Practice moderation, y’all.’ I’ll probably say that a little louder now. You can have diabetes and have a piece of cake. You cannot have diabetes and eat a whole cake.” When asked why she took so long to come out of it, she said, “I really sat on this information for a few years because I said, ‘Oh, my gosh, what am I going to do about this? Is my life fixing to change? Am I no longer going to like my life?” She wanted to “have time to adjust and soak it all in and get up all the information that I could.”
2) The Diagnosis
Paula Deen was at the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes because of her being overweight. This disease, already growing in the US, has been mainly due to an increasing rate of obesity. The main reason behind this is that overweight patient bodies cannot use insulin as effectively, resulting in excess sugar or glucose gathering in the blood stream. As precautionary measures, Deen has reduced her daily intake of sweet tea and is walking regularly on treadmill. She is also pitching her support for the Novo Nordisk company’s online program, “Diabetes in a New Light.” Through this program, Deen is offering help to needy people regarding diabetes management. She has even put up diabetic-friendly recipes upon the website and she herself takes the Novo Nordisk drug Victoza.
3) The Twin Sides of Paula Deen
Quite a far cry from her diabetic-friendly recipes , The Food Network website contains Deen’s collection of heavy dishes like Grandmother Paul’s fried chicken, made with a half-pound of butter. While there is no news on how much she is earning from her endorsement deal with Novo Nordisk, Deen admits that when she was first diagnosed, she had no idea what help or advice to give to patients in similar situation. However, now she can see herself making a contribution.
4) The Outrage
Health activists, fellow chefs, and the general public are expressing outrage at the fact that Paula is promoting unhealthy food, a diabetes drug, and diabetic-friendly recipes, all in the same breath:
A) Anthony Bourdain’s Take
Chef Anthony Bourdain, known for his ascerbic sense of humor, said this by way of reaction, “When your signature dish is hamburger in between a doughnut, and you've been cheerfully selling this stuff knowing all along that you've got Type 2 diabetes ... it's in bad taste if nothing else.” Bourddain has already called her the “worst, most dangerous person to America,” owing to her obsession with fattening recipes like fried butter balls and Twinkie pie.” On his Twitter attack on Paula, Bourdain said, “Thinking of getting into the leg-breaking business, so I can profitably sell crutches later.”
B) A Common Man Speaks
Wisconsinian Judd Dvorak, who has been watching Paula Deen cooking on TV for a long time, echoes Bourdain’s words as he terms it wrong for Deen to get paid as a diabetes drug spokeswoman while cooking dishes that might cause diabetes. Dvorak says, “It would be like someone who goes on TV and brags about how wonderful it is to smoke two packs of cigarettes a day and then when he or she gets lung cancer becomes a paid spokesperson for nicotine patches.”
C) Wilford Brimley's Retort
5) Deen’s Past Connection
Not everyone is slamming Deen for her denial about her disease though. One of the news reports, written in reaction to the hullabaloo surrounding her announcement, tried to establish a connection between Paula’s attitude to her disease and her past, especially her youth. Being an orphan, she raised her younger sibling, and later on, as a single divorced mother, raising her two young sons, Paula had to struggle a lot and it was her cooking that came to her rescue. It is this connection that some of the media persons sought to explore, in terms of “America’s greatest and least understood curses: the link between poverty, obesity, and health issues like diabetes.” The report goes on to say that like Paula Deen, all of “America is in denial.”
6) There Are Others Too
In the wake of Deen’s announcement, the media has also cast an eye on other high-profile chefs, who are also suffering from Type 2 diabetes. One such chef even admits, “It’s kind of an occupational hazard.” In fact, in her support, some television programs try to bring in a balance of views, like one of these:-
7) The Scary Figures
For those not moved enough by Paula’s announcement, have a look at all the scary figures about America’s real health condition:
a. 8.3% of the total American population has diabetes.
b. 26.9% of Americans 65 years or older suffers from diabetes.
c. 35% of Americans have pre-diabetes.
d. 50% of 65 years or older Americans have pre-diabetes.
e. There is double the risk of death among people of same age group, who have diabetes, than those who don’t.
8) Novo Nordisk’s Explanation
The company has clarified that it had no idea that Deen had been diagnosed with diabetes when they approached her to sponsor their news health initiative. A company spokesperson said, “We really just wanted to ask her, ‘Hey, Paula, do you think we could challenge you to change up some of your recipes and make them diabetes-friendly.’ And her reply was, 'How did you guys know I had diabetes?’”
For now, Paula Deen is facing a lot of criticism for her delayed diabetes announcement and it seems that it will be some time before she can find herself to be absolved of it.