Thursday, January 19, 2012

Paula Deen and Type II Diabetes: Helping or Hurting the Paleosphere?

By now you have heard of Paula Deen and her recent "coming out" about her Type II Diabetes. Plenty of people are on both sides of the issue. Here is a really quick breakdown of the main points and my reactions. If you want to read more detail, head over to a good summary article by the Huffington Post:

Paula Deen Diabetes: Star Confirms Diagnosis, Drug Endorsement

-Deen confirmed rumors about her Type II diabetes on the Today Show earlier this week. She was diagnosed three years ago, but kept it a secret until now, explaining "My knowledge about the disease was very limited," she told USA Today.
 Let's call this for what it's worth. She clearly didn't come out with this information to her viewers for publicity reasons. The same reasons that she is facing criticism now. There have been rumors for years about her diabetes, but none of them were confirmed until this week. I do wonder what her diet has looked like over the past few years though.

-Deen says her stance on food has been and will continue to be "moderation."
 Wait, your stance on food has been moderation, yet you end up with diabetes? Seems a little off to me. At one point she says to a newspaper, "You don't want to make a steady diet of just lettuce...You don't want to make a steady diet of fried chicken." This all or nothing perspective on food is precisely what's wrong with a lot of people's thinking. That, and misinformation about what is healthy and what is not.

Caramel cake from Paula Deen
-She and her two sons are now contracted spokespeople for a diabetes medication called Victoza. 
I can't believe that this woman is openly promoting recipes that include a caramel cake (two full cups of sugar in the cake, three cups of sugar in the icing) and then getting paid millions of dollars to promote a diabetes medication. This is like being the guy who throws a strip of nails out in front of your car and then walks over to you and says he's a mechanic. Well, actually that he KNOWS a good mechanic and that he uses him. Every day. By injecting himself with needles. I digress...

-Critics of Deen are not surprised, especially with all of the butter and sugar she puts in her recipes.
My biggest problem with this whole story is not with Deen, but with her critics. Let's be honest, no one's surprised that she has Diabetes. In fact, I wonder how many other chefs and TV personalities on the Food Network also have it or some other metabolic syndrome. But when people look at her recipes, they immediately focus on the "artery clogging" fat while lumping it together with the "fattening" sugar. I agree wholeheartedly with the latter. But blaming her diabetes and fat gain on eating fat is just misdirected assumptions. It's Ancel Keys all over again. (Ready more about Keys and his scapegoating fat over at Lean Gains) People focus on the butter in her recipes, but it's not the butter! (Now, I wish it was grass fed butter, instead of chemically unstable margarine or regular butter, but a blogger can only be so choosy.)

Lady's brunch burger - scapegoat for the wrong reasons
So, what's the whole point of this blog post telling you things you could find on any news website or gossip column? The next time you're at a happy hour and the topic of Paula Deen comes up, be a defender of the fat. Let people know that eating fat does not make you fat. Sugar, yes. Fat, no. Eating fat helps brain function, joint mobility, cellular reproduction, immune response, and a ton of other things you probably want. This fat should be in the form of saturated animal fats, avocados, coconut oil, ghee, lard, etc. Basically, if someone offers you the Lady's Brunch burger, kindly ask them to take the doughnuts off and you'll gladly eat the rest. 

Here's a great clip from the documentary "Big Fat Lies" on fat and why it's GOOD for you, not BAD:


  1. Hey yall, I got the diabeetis. No shit sherlock!

  2. I'm sure it's a case of genetics and not consumption. (LOL WHAT)


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