Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Shut Up! Paula Deen Has Diabetes?

Yesterday, Paula Deen came forward and said that she had type 2 diabetes and had recently become the spokesperson for some diabetic drug. Although it was widely suspected that Deen was diabetic and others (Anthony Bourdain) had publicly slammed her cooking style and recipes, she waited until 3 years after her diagnosis to make a public statement.

What floored me are the comments that I read (and you can still read) on any electronic version of the article discussing her announcement. Somehow, people are far more uneducated about a disease that affects about one third of the populace. Many of the comments slammed Deen's cooking style (lots of butter) and how she ate that resulted in her developing type 2 diabetes. I am not surprised to be honest, unless you know someone or you yourself have a medical condition that you know much about how the disease process works, and this is for any disease.

Paula Deen's cooking is a style of cooking. Unless you are part of her family and were subjected to eating her food or no food, then no one forced you to eat it and certainly no one forced you to make it or even to watch her TV shows or buy her cookbooks or magazines. So why all the outrage? Somehow it's Deen's fault that one-third of the populace has type 2 diabetes? Somehow it's Deen's fault that by not coming forward 3 years ago with her personal, private medical condition that one-third of the populace has type 2 diabetes?

What is wrong with people? I mean, seriously.

First off, Paula Deen, although a "celebrity" food person, has a right to a personal life and part of that personal life includes medical diagnoses of any kind. I mean Andy Rooney signed off of 60 Minutes and about a month later died from complications of some surgery that only his family and I imagine close friends are aware of. No one--celebrity or not--owes anyone any explanation of anything. Deen doesn't owe her "fans" an explanation of a private medical diagnosis.

Second, people were "outraged" that even though she had been diagnosed with type 2 several years ago, she continued to "shill" her cooking style and recipes to the public. Because for these uneducated people, it's the food that Deen ate that made her develop type 2, and by not saying anything about her diagnosis, she apparently "tricked" the world with her recipes so that they, too, could develop type 2 diabetes.


Deen's diagnosis is her business. It's a private thing, and it's up to her when she decides to share it with others. She doesn't owe anyone an explanation.

Secondly, the food and the way she prepares it--although not exactly the best ways to prepare food--probably did not cause her to develop type 2 diabetes. (I might speculate here that it would lead to high cholesterol readings and possibly lead to heart attack or stroke. . . . )

The truth of the matter is, no one knows why some people develop type 1 diabetes (formerly known as juvenile diabetes), which is a condition in which the body either produces no insulin or produces too little insulin, and why some people develop type 2 diabetes (usually known as adult-onset diabetes), in which the body can not properly make or use insulin. But increasing research shows that family history and genetic disposition play a large role in the development of type 2 diabetes, which means that even if you were a vegetarian or you're in the correct BMI, if you have a family history of type 2, you are more likely to develop it.

Unlike type 1 in which there is nothing that can be done to prevent or delay the onset of the disease, type 2 diabetes can possibly be delayed (not always prevented) with an increase in exercise, losing weight (if overweight), and eating the proper balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and sugars.

So for those people who slammed Deen because she said she has not necessarily changed what she eats--she eats in moderation and takes a pill--you are not her doctor; you do not know what she and her dietitian have decided is the proper balance for her to monitor her blood glucose levels. All of these things are her personal business. If she chooses to eat what she's always eaten and take a pill, that's how she's handling her disease. It's not for people to make a judgment about.

And for those of her that slammed her for shilling a diabetic drug instead of using the opportunity to educate people about losing weight, eating better, and exercising to help monitor her blood glucose levels (which may or may not produce any positive effects in her levels without a pill), why not slam Bret Michaels, who I adore, by the way, and is a type 1 diabetic since the age of 6 because he drinks alcohol (sometimes in excess), which is an unwise decision for any diabetic because of the "empty" carbohydrates.

It's none of my business--or anyone else's--if Michaels drinks alcohol or if Deen uses a pill to help monitor her diabetic condition. It's their diabetic condition to monitor, not mine, not yours, and certainly not any hundreds of anonymous commentators who are not Deen or Michaels or their doctors or dietitians.

And although Deen's "announcement" came as no shock to me, it's not any of business either. . . .

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