Paula Deen Wastes a Teachable Moment

Not-so-newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetic Paul Deen sends a dangerous message by endorsing drugs instead of healthier lifestyle.

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
3-minute read
Episode #174

Paula Deen Wastes a Teachable Moment

When the news of Paula Deen’s Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis first broke, I was hopeful that it might provide a “teachable moment” for the millions of fans who cherish Paula and relish her over-the-top brand of culinary naughtiness.  While I have nothing against an occasional indulgence, a steady diet of the kind of calorie-laden food Paula glorified on her popular TV show leads to some very predictable consequences, such as obesity, increased risk of heart disease, and, as Paula herself now knows first-hand, Type 2 diabetes.  >

Deen is, of course, first and foremost an entertainer. As she herself has tartly pointed out, it is not her job to be America’s nutritionist.  (That’s my job.) Nonetheless, her diagnosis could have been an opportunity for Paula to lead her fans to a more balanced perspective on food. Instead of glorifying excess for its own sake, Deen could have shown how, in the context of a healthy diet and lifestyle, even the most decadent dish can be enjoyed—in moderation, of course.

Diabetes Drugs: Not a Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Pass

Instead, Paula seems to be sending a very different message; one that I find quite dangerous.  It turns out her diagnosis dates back to 2008 but was kept under wraps while Paula continued to promote the same gastronomic excess that almost certainly contributed to her diagnosis. Now she’s come out of the closet as a celebrity pitch-woman for the diabetes drug, Victoza. It almost seems to suggest that diabetes is nothing to worry about and that drugs are a sort of get-out-of-jail-free pass…you just take a pill and continue eating what you want.   

In reality, nothing could be further from the truth!


About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show.