Is Everyone Being Too Hard on Paula Deen?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Paula Deen's recent announcement that she has type 2 diabetes set the media ablaze with speculation and discussion regarding the role of her diet and the potentially deadly disease. Some critics claim that her high-fat, high-calorie, high-sodium Southern-style cooking increases the risks of hypertension, strokes, and heart attacks, in addition to type 2 diabetes. Others take note that she was diagnosed three years ago but is only coming forward now that she and her sons have a business deal with a diabetes company to share new recipes and healthier living ideas.
From Paula's perspective, she reports telling those close to her when she was first diagnosed but chose not to tell the world because she needed time to figure out what this new diagnosis would mean. She is also quick to point out that every food is OK in moderation, including her tasty Southern-style cooking. Paula cautions viewers and fans alike to remember that she is a cook: She is simply teaching you how to make a great-tasting meal or specialty dish. She's not your doctor, telling you what you should eat. She reminds people that they need to take personal responsibility when it comes to what they eat and how it influences their health. Paula is excited to help people see diabetes in a new light by encouraging them to establish healthy habits including lighter cooking, getting more exercise, and working with their health-care team to manage diabetes so they can live a full and active life.
Well, we agree with both the critics and Paula. Consuming a diet that is consistently high in fat, calories, and sodium does increase a person's risk of developing hypertension and type 2 diabetes that could lead to a heart attack or stroke. This is especially true if you also have someone in your immediate family who has hypertension or diabetes and you are overweight or inactive. We also agree that everyone has to be responsible for his or her own health. Just about any food can be included in a healthy diet but the key is to include moderation and portion control in your healthy eating plan as well.
We totally understand why Paula initially kept her new diagnosis to herself. It most certainly takes time to accept any new medical condition and to understand what it will mean for your life and career while also learning to live and thrive with it. Anyone that gets a new diabetes diagnosis deserves the right to work with their medical team to find a treatment plan that works to manage their condition while allowing them to live a full and vibrant life. You can't accurately answer questions about something that you don't fully understand yourself. Paula seems to have developed a great plan with her family and medical team and is now ready to help other people take control of their health as well.
Perhaps you are newly diagnosed with diabetes or maybe you just haven't taken your diabetes diagnoses as seriously as you should. Regardless of which of these fit your situation, here are three tips to help Paula and you, spark your way to a healthier life with diabetes.

Eat right to maintain a healthy A1C. Glycohemoglobin or hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C or A1C for short) is a blood test used to index blood glucose averages to help your medical team know how well your diabetes is under control. The goal for people with diabetes is to have an A1C that is less than 7 percent. The higher the A1C the higher the risk of developing diabetes related complications. Following a healthy diet along with exercise to achieve a healthy weight is the best way to control your blood glucose levels and reduce your risk of diabetes related complication. The key to eating well with type 2 diabetes is to include healthier carbohydrate choices such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, beans, and low-fat diary in the correct portion sizes for you. Your health-care team, including a Registered Dietitian or Certified Diabetes Educator, will help you determine the right amount of nutrients as well as the correct meal and snack timing to coordinate with your medication regime. Learning to cook healthier recipes and making wise choices while eating away from home will also help you successfully control your blood glucose levels and reach your perfect weight.  
Live an active lifestyle. Being active not only helps you control your weight but also your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Keeping these numbers under control reduces your risks of hypertension, heart attack, and stroke while helping manage your diabetes as well. Your health care team will help you determine the best exercise plan for you. Many people with type 2 diabetes can successfully exercise with an exercise plan that includes regular cardio and strength training in the routine. It is important to monitor your blood sugar levels before and after exercising as well as drinking plenty of fluids, especially water. Always wear proper socks and shoes while checking feet for blisters or sores after exercise. If you are exercising with people who are not aware of your medical condition, it is best to wear diabetes identification in some way. Be sure to bring a fast-acting carbohydrate snack such as 2 tablespoons of raisins or a half cup of orange juice in case you experience hypoglycemic symptoms. A smart and regular exercise plan along with healthy eating helps people with type 2 diabetes improve their blood sugar control, increase insulin sensitivity, and manage their weight. Many have found that this approach helps reduce, or even eliminate, the need for glucose lowering medication.
Manage your stress levels. Chronic stress can have negative effects on your health especially when you have diabetes. Stress can influence blood glucose levels through increases in stress hormone that alters levels or by diverting your focus from healthy self-care. In either case, uncontrolled blood glucose levels from uncontrolled stress negatively influences your health. Learning how to rate your stress levels and then implementing techniques to reduce stress are important keys to healthy living with type 2 diabetes.
If you consume high-fat, high-calorie and high-sodium foods and snacks often, you increase your risks of heart disease and diabetes. This is true whether you are enjoying Paula Deen's Southern cooking, frequently selecting fast-food burgers, or snacking on bags of chips. Paula Deen overcame many things in her life through her delicious Southern-style cooking. She offers hope and entertainment to people through her good sense of humor, positive attitude, and enjoyment for what she is doing. Paula, like many others with type 2 diabetes, has learned that you don't have to change everything you love in your life to learn to make simple changes in your life to live healthy with diabetes. You can start today and make small changes in your life too. We wish Paula Deen the very best with her new program and hope she encourages others to make small changes in their life that leads to a healthy new lifestyle right along with her.
What do you think, are people being too hard on Paula?
Have you taken your risk of diabetes or diagnosis of diabetes seriously?

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I love to watch cooking shows but had to draw the line with hers when I saw her make a sandwich with 2 glazed donuts as the bun. That was the first time I EVER saw something like that.

She made her bed! I dont feel sorry for her! Report
My mother always told me that if I can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything at all. You are in charge of you, period, end of story. Report
In a word!! YES... We all know whats healthy and whats not.. So those who chose to make her recipes and eat, knew exactly what they were eating.. Report
I am so sick of people bashing Paula. She has made her choices and if she decided to tell the public something very person or not - well that is her choice of how and when she told everyone else. She is a TV personality not a doctor, not your mother, not anything other than a cook on TV - a very good one - but still just a TV cook. Getting mad at her is like eating McD's every day and then suing them because you got fat. I mean please use some common sense people.

The only thing I hope that comes out of this (as far as for the public) is a diabetic cookbook of hers. My dad is diabetic and I would love to get my hands on some of her oh so good southern recipes turned sugar free. Report
Yes, they are being too hard on her. This world would be a better place, if people would try to walk in some one else's shoes for awhile. Report
You bet some people are being too hard on Ms Dean. Look at your self in the mirror and tell me that you have not made a mistake along the way. Lots of people I know are in denial when the evidence , ie their bellies and waistline, are right their in front of them, me included.
What she chooses to do now is the key. Do I watch her shows for the nutritious food she makes, no I don't. I watch it to be entertained and figure out how I can make something that looks so yummy in a way that is better for me and my family.
Look in your fridge and pantry, is it stocked with 100% healthy things? Do you eat drink and prepare foods all the time in a healthy manor?
I was diagnosed about 2 years ago with Diabetes. I am no longer on meds, my A1c is 5.5, weight down, energy up and general health much better now that I am making better choices and exercising regularly.
I don't care that she has become a spokesperson for something. If some of her fans in the same boat are inspired to change their ways because she is going through this too then I say thank you for bringing this to people's attention and not keeping things quiet. There is nothing to be ashamed of when you get this diagnosis only if you don't do anything about it.

I have watched a lot of cooking shows, and with the exception of the ones that are specialized in healthy cooking, they all have recipes that are unhealthy. I used to love watching Emeril and his motto was "Pork Fat Rules". Anthony Bourdain mentioned he was taking a cholesterol lowering pill on one of his No Reservation shows, but I didn't hear anyone beating him up over it! Report
I like her. I think people are going overboard on this. All things in moderation. Report
I don't watch her and only even heard of her recently, not being into cooking shows. She cooks and teaches others how to cook very unhealthy food. And while yes, everyone is responsible for what they eat, she espouses an unhealthy diet and makes her highly paid living off this, and now it's bitten her in the rump roast, contributing to her own medical problems. Karma? I can understand wanting to get a handle on diabetes and learn about it herself, but seriously??? A THREE YEAR learning curve? How thick is she?! I don't believe for a second it took her that long to accept and understand diabetes, as she claims. I think she hid it knowing it would make her look bad, pushing Southern cooking on people, and she only told people about it because once again, she saw a way to profit off it by accepting millions for pushing a new drug. She's been outed as a big hypocrite. To be fair though, I'm not sure how many people would trumpet that diagnosis when they cook unhealthy food for a living, knowing it would affect their income. Report
I watch Paula, but have never tried her recipes, because I did not want to have a stroke or a heart attack. I watch the Victoria Secret fashion show and I can not wear anything in their store. I watch the Reality shows and I do not fight. I see it for entertainment value and enjoy it, but know my limits and my reality. Report
I don't have Diabetes, so I am not worried about it. Report
Oh, My. Are we going to string up Big Boy or Ronald McDonald or Wendy? How about LIttle Debbie? Let's just put the blame where it belongs. I put the food that I wanted to eat in my mouth, chewed it up and swallowed. No other person can be blamed for what I have done to myself. Report
Diabetes is about choices and managing them. Eating in balance. I've been doing it for 20 years. There are days I mess up. Paula Deen does not control what I eat or how I eat. Her show brings me a lot of laughter and joy. The body can process butter and lard. It can't work with shortening and margarine. Just monitor the intake. People need to be responsible for their own lifestyle choices, not looking for someone to blame. I say, "Let Paula Deen live her life". Report
Paula is one of the Food Network's most beloved, likeable cooks. Part of her schtick is the butter and most people with any sense know this. BTW Anthony Bordain is a pig. How dare he criticize her. What business is it to him. When did he become the diet police for America. Give me a break. Every adult that prepares a recipe knows whether it's good for you or not and has the free will to eat it or not. Report
I think the article hits the nail on the head - Paula Deen is a chef. Not a diet guru, not your mother, not your conscience... a chef. Moreover, she's a chef who became known and then famous for a particular kind of rich, Southern cuisine. It isn't reasonable to expect everyone whose line of work doesn't promote healthy choices and habits to attach a disclaimer to everything they do - Ms. Deen made a living cooking and teaching others how to cook, and she never purported to be doing anything else. End of story.

Of course, now that Ms. Deen is positioning herself in a different light trying to promote healthier living and positive lifestyle choices while living with Diabetes, it is appropriate to have those expectations, and to expect her to reflect on health and balance and promote healthy choices. It will be interesting to watch that transition. I think that watching her manage the disease will be informative and inspriational to a lot of people as they will see themselves in her. This could be a really good thing for a lot of people living with Diabetes, and I wish her all the best. Report
The networks should judge the woman she is doing a disservice making money and celebrity when the world is experiencing a diabetes epedemic.
The woman must have no self contol otherwise her diabetes would be under control and that wouls make her a celebrity to me. She is part of the problem NOT THE SOLUTION. Too bad when so many see her as a celebrity. I have never watched the woman on TV, never heard of her till recently. I wonder if she thinks her celebrity will prevent her from the end results of not addressing her blood sugar issues. Head in the sand(FOOD) attitude. Report
She influences what people eat. She is famous for her cooking. Cooking shows teach people how to cook. People in the public eye do influence our culture. Type 2 diabetes is a deadly and preventable disease. She knew her style of cooking gave her diabetes and she kept teaching people to cook in that style. And now she's helping to sell drugs to manage the disease caused by that way of eating. But these drugs, all with side effects, don't cure the disease. The cure is through healthy eating and exercise. What is wrong with holding people in the public eye, who became rich and famous for their actions, accountable for their actions? We all influence each other. I'm not saying she is a bad person; I'm saying her actions are doing damage to people. It's a shame she isn't using her celebrity in a more positive way. Report
Love Paula Deen. Cook her Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake Recipe Every Holiday. Through I learned to cut the amoint of butter & powdered sugar in it and make it still taste like it still has the full recipe. She is an excellent cook. I've learned how to cook better from her. Her health is not our business. People need to RESPECT the rights of others to their privacy. I use her recipes because my son eats desserts and The Pumpkin GB cake is his favorite. He has no diseases no weight problem and it's his choice to eat what he prefers. I eat it in Moderation anytime I prepare a "rich" dessert. Even though I'm getting fit & healthy I will use her recipes on special occasions. Report
Why is it that anyone in the public spotlight is always judged more harshly? Its ridiculous, but that just seems to be the way it is. I myself, think that Paula has a lot to offer to all of us as a public figure. Now that her disease has been made public I am sure that in the future we will see some modifications, not only in her recipes, but in how she discusses certain things on her show. Report
yea they are. even though her food she makes are not good for you at all but that also doesnt mean she sits there and eats all her reciepes all the time. the media need to leave her alone because she is human just as much as we are. now she can take the steps to changing her life style. maybe she will now make her southern cooking more healthier. i know some family friends who make her reciepes all the time and they love her but they have gained some serious weight from all that high calorie, high sugar, high sodium, and high carb food. but people must know just because you watch a celeb cook on tv and make their receipes doesnt mean everything they are cooking is good for your eating habits. people need to pay more attention to the nurition facts and stop blaming celeb cooks for making them fat. Report
I do think people are being too demanding with respect to when she was "supposed to" announce her diagnosis or that she has an innate obligation to convert to super-healthy foods.

On the flip side, I despise pharmaceutical companies, their ads, and their spokespeople. Seeing someone smiling as if their world is perfect while a litany of horrifying side effects is run through almost as fast as an auto-financing disclaimer with the same "don't worry about those, you'll be fine" attitude is deceptive, plain and simple. Report
Coming out to the "world" whenever you decide is up to each individual person.
However, I do think that the timing has more to do with having a deal/contract with this Diabeties Drug Company for her & also her son's "healthier" cooking show/venure.
So for this celeb the facts show that it's more so for money than wanting to understand diabeties before coming back to fans. Becuase lots of fans will be lost to the "Southern Cooking" the way she used to give it. So she must keep a following some how to continue making money and being in the spotlight! Report
I love Paula Dean's spunk, personality, and gusto. She is what she is, a Southern cook. A kiss my grits and butter me a biscuit personality. As an adult, I choose what I put in my body, as she does, as you do. Is the media being to hard on Paula Dean? Do the sun rise and moon set? Report
Paula only did what most others would do in that situation. Report
I am disappointed she is going the way of BigPharma as her solution...totally sends the wrong message to patients..and yes, because she is speaking out about it, she *knows* she is becoming a sort of role model. Taking medications as a bandaid and not changing diet (and geez, does she still smoke? what a deadly combination with diabetes) is hardly a role model. Report
Paula Deen is a celebrity and an entertainer, not a health care provider of any sort. Her food is not processed it is all real ingredients. It is not usually healthy. As adults, we have the choice to cook and eat that way, or not. She is not forcing all of that butter down our throats. There are more than enough low fat or healthy cooking shows on TV if you feel you need to watch a cooking show but can't dare be tempted by her down south cooking. To make one of her yummy dishes and share it with your family and friends every once in a while is not going to make you an unhealthy person. Report
Anyone who has ever watched an episode of Paula's show knows that her recipes are not low fat low carb. Moderation and self control should be the words of the day in regard to her cooking. As someone who was raised by a southern mother and grandmother I am familiar with fried everything, my dear sweet b'ma would have fried a dish cloth and made it taste good in order to feed all her "babies" and send us off into the world with a full belly. And my mother could and did boil the color off broccoli before serving it to us (the butter and salt made up for the lack of nutrients). That being said Paula is not responsible for anyone's eating habits but Paula's. We as adults should know and practice moderation and self control. Have I made my fair share of Paula Deen recipes? You bet I have and enjoyed every bite, but the next day I didn't enjoy another one of her meals, I went back to eating what I knew was the best dietary choice for me. Paula Deen is simply the latest scapegoat in a long line of scapegoats, we are overweight so we blame her, we are unhealthy so we blame her. Step one take responsibility for your own actions, step two... take a step and keep taking them until you've walked away from the unhealthy lifestyle you've embraced. That's what I'm doing. Report
I love Paula Deen. I don't care what "disease" she may have, or how "bad" her food may be health wise. She didn't invent it. She is a representative of Southern culture, and that is something that she takes great pride in. People who see food as only useful for survival and not enjoyment would not understand her career, so why wouldn't they judge her? I admire her for her lifestyle changes; she continues to be a role model for women everywhere. Report
Paula is not,NOT my cooking teacher.I choose not to feed myself/family fat; sugar; chlorestrol.I watched her one time on a talk show, she fixed a dish that looked good; her cooking habits were appaling..she licked the spoon then put it back into the pot!!! NO! Report
If we don't change how we grow and process our food...most likely almost all of us will be diabetic and it won't really matter 'how' we cook our food. And yes, our government and big pharma like it that way.

As far as Paula Deen goes...when to announce or IF to announce her diagnosis is her business. Report
The real issue here is that "moderation" is not always accurate advice when it comes to diabetes. There are some foods that some people simply cannot eat, regardless of how much portions are controlled. If you eat a food that has a high glycemic index, your sugar will spike and will affect your A1C, ultimately. Some folks with diabetes believe that, because you take medication, you are free to eat those high glycemic index foods, which absolves them of their responsibility to change their food choices. One classic example is that some fruits simply cannot be eaten by some diabetics because of the sugar spike that is created. So eating those fruits, even in moderation, can be a problem for some folks. There is no easy answer and every diabetic is different. Report
Yes everyone is beeing to hard on Paula Deen! Nothing says you have to eat what she cooks. Why gang up on Paula, she's not the only one out there that makes any of us fat. There is all the fast food companys out there. People can make their own choices. Don't blame Paula if you are overweight or have Diabetes. Why not gang up on other people that don't cook healthy meals. She has personnel life. She didn't have to make it Public that she has type 2 Diabetes but she choose to. Everyone can make their own choices in what they are going to eat. People are mad because she went Public. If you are going keep up with all this talk about Paula Deen what some the other people out there?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It doesn't surprise me she has diabeties.I am sure there are a lot of overweight celebraty chefs that have medical problems. They have no responsibility to share it with the public. They have a cooking show and their only responsibility to the public is to do a good show. I never followed her shows because after watching one episode it turned me off with the unhealthy way she cooks. I said to myslef I bet she has medical problems from cooking like that and being obese and she does. So what is the shock of the public? Shouldn't be a shock that the public only found out about it when she is now hooked up with a pharmaceutical company. They are using her name to sell pills and she is happily cashing the checks. Report
I don't like it when anyone sells out. Like when Jillian Michaels started selling diet pills and powders.
But I don't buy it. I am in charge of what goes into my body.
I love Paula's fried chicken recipes but I don't eat it every day!!
I am used to modifying recipes, it's the story of my life-style. Report
Paula life is her own. She does not owe anyone an explanation for anything. i can not believe some of the things people are saying, "she should give the money she makes for being a diabetic to charity" or she should of told me this or that. This goes along the same lines and someone sued McDonalds for serving hot coffee. Then they sued the company for it. Start taking responsibility for your own actions and stop blaming others. I think some of you should pay less attention at what others are doing and more attention on your own life. Who cares! Paula makes great food and now she is going to make southern food without so much butter ect... She worked hard to get were she is and now gets to reap the benefits of making money because she now has diabetes. I bet you if she had a choice she would rather not have the disease. So good for Paula, you go girl. Report
See has become a PAID spokesperson for the Pharmaceutical company whose meds she is taking ! Type 2 diabetes is controllable with diet and exercise, bu t she found a way to make money from her desease. Is she donating that money to a Diabetes charity ? NO !!! Is she profitting from her new recipes that are Diabetic friendly? YES !!!

What she's doing may not be unethical - but I find it and her lacking in morals. Report
C'mon...a little personal responsibilitly please! Nobody actually believes her recipies are in anyway 'good for you' and like someone said she isn't your doctor and isn't responsible for anyone's personal health. She has a right to market whatever artery clogging recipe that the public is willing to eat.
That said...she SHOULD apologize to me personally for the crappy overpriced food I had at her restaurant in Savannah. It was so bland and terrible... Report
Everything in moderation...I have made several Paula Dean recipes..some I modified and some I didn't. We all have choices. I have 18 more pounds to lose, but from time to time I do enjoy southern cooking (I am from VA). Paula is a celebrity cook/chef like the rest of them...she makes her money from good tasting food. I don't think she claimed to be anything else. My prayer for her is that she is managing her diabetes well and becoming healthier. Report
I think she knew she was poisoning everyone and she is only into money making... I think she knew her diabetes for a long time, and now she figure it out how to cash on it :S Report
I think she should reconsider her choices. She has a huge following and should be an example (in a positive way). Report
I think that Paula is looking to blame anyone but herself for her diabetes, any person that cooks and eats the way she has done for years deserves what they get. On top of that she looks like such a hypocrite, when she was on the Dr. Oz show she knew for three years she was diabetic but never mentioned it once. I have plenty of healthy recipes I ddon't need any of hers. tyvm Report
She has used the gift that God has given her, now, like a lot of others, is getting older and her body is responding and she still has a lot of gift lef tin her and will continue to use it wisely as a living testimony. Do you, Paula and, yes the media is always looking for a scapegoat and we need to look at ourselves first as no one has made us do anything that we didn't want to do. Report
take personal responsibility.

The best advice and the most important, in every single area of your life. Report
Her being a spokesperson for an anti-diabetes medication is the really questionable thing, I think. Report
Good grief, some of the press is judgmental in order to write columns, do TV shows, etc. to make their own money Report
I think Paula Deen's health is her own business, and so is how she chooses to make money. Nobody with half a brain could watch her show and think it is healthy to eat like that. We have the choice and she doesn't decide for any of us. I wish her well. With all the immoral garbage on tv these days, I hardly find her to be a threat in any way or worth all this attention and criticism! Report
It is not a question of being to hard on her more than it is a question of evaluating her ethics. She choose a path that placed her in the public eye for a career. With that pursuit and reward came a certain degree of responsibility and expected transparency. While she did not need to stop what she was doing nor the foods she was advertising, she had a responsibility to at least warn people that eating such foods consistently could pose serious health risks. She need not even have had to disclose her own medical struggles. She simply had a responsibility to place light on the fact that the foods she made were unhealthy when consumed in large quantities. She even could have offered healthier substitutes to the reciepes. Report
Honestly, I dont know what Paula Deen's health has to do with me. Paula Deen does not choose what goes into my body - I do. Paula Deen does not command me to cook her food - that would be a decision that I would have to make for myself - and furthermore, I am not mind controlled by Paula Deen to watch her show - I would make the decision whether to change the channel or not. ME - not Paula Deen. She kept her health a secret and is now making some money off of it - kinda sounds like what many celebrities breathe to do. Why would I get all hot and bothered about it? Reading some of these comments, you wouldn't think people could make their own choices. Report
I really do like Paula but I think she is setting a bad example promoting the kind of cooking that she does. It is really conflicting-cooking that way, while she knows she has diabetes? And it took her 3 years to admit she has diabetes? No wonder so many people are struggling with weight problems. She could make a statement by setting a better example for all, but it may cost her image and career. I also have a problem if she does promote diabetes drugs, the drugs can only do so much and if people see her promoting her present way of cooking, they will not get their diabetes under control. Report