So Paula Deen has type II diabetes. Big deal. So do 26 million other Americans last time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention checked. And I’ve read what media outlets are writing – but it’s not about the butter. It’s one thing for the Huffington Post to publish reckless blanket statements about diabetes being a “major consequence of heavy eating”. But the Detroit Free Press? Shame on the editor for allowing a reference that insinuates Deen’s diabetes is a result of “high-fat, deep-fried food”. Fat is not bad for us. Being fat is bad for us. Yes, a person can reach obesity status by consuming too much fat, and this can lead to diabetes. But the epidemic is so much more complex than just “too much fried chicken, y’all.”
As a student of nutrition, I’ve learned that type II diabetes is a product of obesity, a lack of exercise, too many high sugar carbohydrates, age and the right dose of genetic predisposition. As for the butter, our bodies need fat (mostly healthy) in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Saturated fats are not recommended in high doses by the medical community or even the Food and Drug Administration – but the point is that fat is not a lone culprit, and is healthy when consumed responsibly.
So if we are going to insinuate that a celebrity is at fault for leading the way to an unhealthy America, we may as well blame Winnie the Pooh. After all, he’s always got his hand in the honey pot. And excess weight around his middle – the worst spot. He has direct access to us when we are young and at our most impressionable. And when do we ever see him go for a jog through the 100 Acre Wood, or play hopscotch with Tigger?
I understand this is a ridiculous comparison. It is meant to be. No one particular person (or bear) in America is to blame for the diabetes epidemic, even indirectly. Likewise, I don’t believe any one fast food restaurant is at fault. We are all responsible for ourselves. End of story.
But one more thing. If we are out to make accusations, we certainly can’t blame Paula Deen. She’s too young. She came into this world after the convenient, fast food mentality already set in. Don’t forget, the first White Castle opened back in the 1930’s – 80 years ago. The mass production and marketing of refined carbohydrates came shortly thereafter. So truly, this mode of life exacerbated by growing portion size has been a long time in the making. And it most certainly is not a result of Paula’s Home Cooking. Trust me, we southerners we’re making gooey butter cake long before Paula Deen became famous (I have the 40-year-old family recipe to prove it).
So it really is time to stop blaming companies and celebrities and each other for the fact that we are one of the unhealthiest nations in the world. We need to step up to the home plate and take responsibility for our eating actions. And leave Paula Deen and Winnie the Pooh alone. Healthy eating, y’all, from my honey pot to yours.
* These writings are not meant as a educational tool in regard to the diabetes epidemic. However, all included facts are the product of sound, journalistic research and knowledge gained during the study of nutrition in relation to the foodservice industry.