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Celebrity Chef Designs Recipes To Die For

It’s no surprise that Paula Deen, a celebrity chef who specializes in deep-fried fattening foods, has type 2 diabetes. But instead of promoting a healthier lifestyle and healthier meals to fight her illness, she’s now marketing a diabetes drug. Her much-publicized approach to coping with diabetes reflects the kind of wrongheaded approach that has made diabetes into an epidemic that kills thousands of people every year. 

Great Expectations

When Deen announced she had type 2 diabetes, you might have expected her to also announce that she was going to change her lifestyle in order to protect her health. Instead, Deen seems to be taking the stance that having this potentially devastating disease is a money-making opportunity. To offset the damage of diabetes, most people need to lose weight, engage in an exercise program and eat a healthier diet. You can’t rely on pharmaceuticals to save you from your unhealthy habits. They won’t.

That fact hasn’t stopped Deen and her two sons from becoming spokespeople for the diabetes drug Victoza, marketed by Novo Nordisk. Actions like this have caused another celebrity chef, Anthony Bourdain, to call Deen “the worst, most dangerous person in America.” In an interview with the website, Bourdain said, “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.”

Thyroid Issues

Aside from the fact that no medication can successfully combat diabetes if you don’t change your lifestyle, many experts question whether the drug that Deen endorses can produce any real benefits for diabetics. As health writer Tom Philpott notes, “Deen’s favored Big Pharma diabetes product might be as questionable as the (processed) meat she promotes.”

Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Victoza in 2010 for diabetics, studies have suggested that the drug may be linked to thyroid cancer. As a matter of fact, in 2009, the members of the Endocrinologic and Metabolic Advisory Committee to the FDA agreed almost unanimously that lab studies showing a connection between Victoza and thyroid problems in animals probably meant that human takers of the drug would have similar complications.

As Philpott says, the FDA has issued warnings about Victoza’s connection with not only thyroid cancer but also pancreatitis. And MedPage Today reports that the FDA instructed Nova Nordisk to send out letters to doctors emphasizing the drug’s “serious” risks.

Along with Victoza’s potential side effects, a substantial number of experts question whether pharmaceuticals like this one, designed to lower blood sugar, provide any significant benefits to people with diabetes. According to Nortin Hadler, M.D., of the University of North Carolina, a frequent critic of conventional medical practices, reducing blood sugar with these types of drugs is practically worthless. He says in his book, Rethinking Aging, that they ought to “be taken off the market.” In an interview with Philpott, Hadler said drugs like Victoza “have never been shown in years of study to provide any benefit.”

Spreading Epidemic

Today, in the United States, diabetes has become a devastating epidemic. It is estimated that 26 million of us already have diabetes, and another 79 million are pre-diabetic and at serious risk of developing the disease. Diabetes kills about 69,000 Americans a year (that’s almost 200 people a day), and the total cost of the illness is about $112 billion — more than $12 million an hour.

Research shows that simply losing weight, exercising and eating more fruits and vegetables can lower your risk of diabetes. For example, a study of African-Americans reported in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases, found that those who followed a vegan diet reduced their risk of diabetes by 70 percent.

Meanwhile, Deen says that she is not going to be making any significant changes to the recipes that she uses on her television shows. And if America follows her lead, the diabetes disaster will continue unabated.

Filed Under: Alternative MedicineDiabetes and MetabolicDiabetes ConcernsEasy Health Digest™Nutrition

About the Author: Carl Lowe has written about health, fitness and nutrition for a wide range of publications including Prevention Magazine, Self Magazine and Time-Life Books. The author of more than a dozen books, he has been gluten-free since 2007.

Facebook Conversations

  • Ret

    of course these drugs are good at reducing. They reduce you quality and quantity of life. They reduce the money in your wallet so you don’t have to worry about choosing to buy anything but the essentials. A short simple life. The eugenics dream.

  • Rebecca

    You need to watch Food Network a little closer. Paula Deen has not only starting walking on a treadmill but has completely stopped drinking sweet tea. In addition, Paula’s sons have a new show on Food Network that focuses on lighter cooking and transforming their mother’s recipes into more healthy versions.

    While Paula may be misinformed on the dangers of conventional medication, she HAS promoted a healther lifestyle.

  • Pat

    My husband was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes several years ago. Mr. Lowe is right that it can be controlled with diet and exercise, but when my husband’s or my 95 year old mother’s blood sugar does climb up, cinnamon capsules bring it right down and keep it under control. Do the research and see if it would work for you….it’s cheap, and has been tested and proved safe for thousands of years!

  • Chris

    Wake up people! Paula Deen did not create diabetes! She is suddenly being portrayed as some type of monster! We all make choices in life. Paula Deen does not make them for us!

  • Henry

    I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes two years ago. My doctor gave me medication and told me that I have to loose 50lb, stay a way from carbs, eat more veggies and fruits.
    I put my self under strict regiments of the way I eat, and started drinking 9.5pH alkaline water. The results; I lost 56lb, and reversed the diabetes. I realized how important it is to be alkalized, and flush out all the acidity from my body.


    • Shelly

      1) when you watch Paula Deen’s show, you expect comfort food-type recipes that are very traditional in many southern traditions and are generally (yes) high in saturated fat and sugars. However, if you read/watch many interviews with Paula Deen she is often asked about the way she eats at home on a daily basis and she will respond with a much healthier version of what a typical viewer might expect. She DOES understand the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle, but that does not mean that she should change what the main premise of her show is all about (which does feature many lighter recipes if you are a regular viewer). Let’s not forget all of the other television chefs that never hesitate to cover a fatty piece of meat in butter and then proceed to wrap it in bacon! At least Paula Dean is upfront and honest about how unhealthy many of her recipes are.
      2) what is it with all of the cleansing and De-toxify you body type of remedies??? Your body has mechanisms in place to cope with any slight changes in pH or “toxins” entering your body. Your liver and kidneys are there for a reason!