ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED January 17, 2012
UPDATED August 6, 2020
Paula Deen diagnosed with type II diabetes
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 contrary to what certain media outlets are writing – it’s not about the butter.
Read with a grain of salt
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”. While perhaps an innocent, uninformed quip on the news, from a science and journalism perspective the comment is reckless and irresponsible.
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.”
Type II diabetes is complex
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.
Permission to eat butter
Now on the topic of that butter. Our bodies need fat – of the healthy variety – as part of a balanced diet. Pastured, organic butter is actually one of the healthiest fats you can eat. Origins aside, I would choose conventional butter any day over processed vegetable oils.
So if we’re going to blame Deen, we may as well take Winnie the Pooh down with her. After all, he’s not exactly svelte, and always has his hands in the honey pot. Also, when was the last time we saw him take a bounce around the 100 acre wood with Tigger?
Casting blame is absurd
Yes, 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.
Just 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 convenience and fast food mentalities already set in. Don’t forget, the first White Castle opened back in the 1930’s. 80 years ago, my friends. 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, celebrities, endearing bears and each other for collectively becoming one if 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. Enjoy that butter, y’all, from my honey pot to yours.
* This writing is not meant as a educational tool in regard to preventing or treating type II diabetes. However, all included facts are the product of respected sources, and opinions are based on knowledge gained in studying nutrition as it relates to the foodservice industry.
Paula Deen Announcement on Today Show
Huffington Post on Paula Deen and ‘turducken’
Risk Factors for type II diabetes from the Mayo Clinic
The Obesity Code by Jason Fung
Cornell University Research on Overeating